Joseph R. Best

Joseph R. Best, of Eden Prairie, passed away on March 8, 2018 at the age of 52. A visitation will be held on Monday, March 12, 2018 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation (833 S. Marschall Road) in Shakopee. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 11:00 AM with visitation from 9:30 – 11:00 AM at Pax Christi Catholic Community (12100 Pioneer Trail) in Eden Prairie. Father Bill Murtaugh will preside, and Jon Haugo, Jon Best, Marcus Powell, Pat Dolan, Hans Froseth, and Mark Halvorson will act as pallbearers. Joe will be laid to rest at St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery in Garner, Iowa near family.

On January 4, 1966, Robert and Barbara Best welcomed the birth of their only son, Joseph Robert Best. Joe was the fifth of six children and the only boy in the family. As a boy, Joe grew up in Garner, Iowa and enjoyed many wonderful memories with extended family, building houses together with his dad and cousins, and walleye fishing trips up north. Joe and his father even built the deck on the back on his Eden Prairie house, over twenty years ago. Joe was always an athlete. He golfed, played basketball and baseball, and was quarterback of his high school football team, while his cousin, Jon Best was the wide receiver. Joe was always very active and looking for adventure. When his sister’s softball team made it to the state tournament, Joe and two other boys biked more than 70 miles to watch the ballgame. They even made the local newspaper for their efforts. This was just the start of Joe’s lifelong love of cycling.

After graduating from Garner Hayfield High School, Joe attended the University of Northern Iowa where he studies finance and economics. It was at UNI where Joe met his wife. Joe and his buddies were having lots of fun and getting a little rowdy at the Waterloo Indians baseball game. A ballpark usher was sent over to scold them and quiet them down. Later that night, Joe ran into that same usher at a local watering hole. He learned her name was Jane Kivlahan, and they hit it off immediately. Jane was initially drawn to Joe’s love of family, easy, confident manner and gusto for life.

Only two weeks after they met, Jane graduated and moved to Arizona that fall. Joe and Jane spent the first year of their relationship dating long distance. Eventually Joe landed a job in Des Moines, at The Principal Financial Group, and Jane made the move back to Iowa so they could be together. On July 25, 1992, Joe and Jane exchanged wedding vows and started their life together in Des Moines. A couple years later, the family transferred to Arizona with the Principal Financial Group and welcomed their first child, Rachel Marie.

After just a couple years in Arizona, the Bests moved back to the Midwest, with Principal, to be closer to family. They soon welcomed two more children, Hannah and Erik. They settled in Eden Prairie, Minnesota to raise their family. He worked thirteen years at The Principal Financial Group, moved to Unison for 11 years and then merged with AJ Gallagher where he worked for nearly six years. Joe loved his work, was knowledgeable about the industry and forged lifelong connections with colleagues and clients, lasting more than 30 years.

Joe truly loved his family and was so proud of his children. Joe coached many of his children’s soccer and basketball teams. The Bests loved traveling together as a family. Treasured family trips included Chicago with The Field of Dreams, The Wisconsin Dells (with family and friends), Stout Island, St Louis, Disney World, multiple trips to Garner and a recent trip to Italy where Hannah studied abroad during the Spring of 2017.

Joe had a beautiful work/life balance. Throughout his life, Joe enjoyed many hobbies and interests. He was an avid cyclist and was proud to have put more than 5,000 miles on his bike last year. He found a place for himself in the cycling community and treasured the friendships he made. One buddy commented, “Joe was a special mix of humility, humor, smarts, wit and love of his family. Joe was sweet guy but a beast on 2 wheels!” Joe spent two weeks a year in LA, riding with the Orange County Cycling Community, staying with his sister-in-law and her family there. Joe loved riding his bike in the California sunshine, eating fresh food and spending time with family. He loved Blaze Pizza and Fly’n Fish on Newport Beach. Joe was passionate about cooking and living a healthy lifestyle. Joe also enjoyed the simpler things in life like enjoying a cold beer at a live concert, making a perfect campfire, playing poker with the guys or cheering on his beloved Hawkeyes.

Although Joe had many hobbies and interests, the most important thing in his life was his family. Joe’s extended family has always been the common thread throughout his short fifty-two years. He was an excellent husband, father, son, brother, colleague and friend. He taught his kids many valuable lessons over the years and always led by example. Joe showed his family how to work hard, pursue excellence, stay efficient, live healthy and follow your passion, while holding family close.

Joe will be deeply missed and remembered always by his wife, Jane; children, Rachel, Hannah and Erik; mother, Barbara; sisters, Carolyn (Ralph) Hejlik, Kathleen (Charles) Goll, Juli Campbell, Jacqueline (Marvin) Young, Susan (Brian) Beeck; brother-in-law, Scott Campbell; many nieces & nephews; other loving relatives and dear friends. Joe was greeted in Heaven by his father, Robert Best and his father-in-law Dr. James J. Kivlahan. Joe’s legacy will live on in his children and those whose lives he touched.

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Condolence Messages

  1. David J. Paetz

    RIP my friend Joseph “Joe” Best. Without any doubt one of the “best” men I have ever known. I will miss you.
    Peace be with his wife Jane, an equally lovely person and their three tremendous children.

  2. God’s peace be with you all.

  3. Fortunate to know Joe and call him a friend. Never had anything but a laugh while we were together. Jane, our thoughts and prayers are with you and the girls.

  4. Our deepest sympathies to the Best family. You are all in our thoughts & prayers. Trust in God. Accept His loving comfort

  5. Elizabeth Winke Kolany

    My deepest sympathies to Jane and all of the family. You are all in my prayers.

  6. Joe, I knew you years ago when we hung out occasionally at a local establishment. You were a kind and upstanding man. You’re that guy I ran into everywhere in the community. The face, the grin, the handshake. We shared stories about sports and having daughters. I wish you eternal rest and peace and I wish your family comfort and solace in knowing that even those who didn’t know him that well were impressed and found him likable and friendly.

  7. Dear Jane and family,
    We are keeping Joe and all of you close in our minds, with the greatest sympathy to the Best family. I know your friends and loved ones will be a circle of support for years to come.
    The Holmes family

  8. Jill Swenson Van Fossan

    Jane and Family, We are so sorry for your loss of Joe. He was and is a truly wonderful coach to so many kids throughout Eden Prairie. His impact will be truly treasured far and wide. We hold you close in our hearts at this time.

    With deepest sympathies,
    Jill, Paul, Zach and Anna Van Fossan

  9. Jane & family,

    There are no words…my heart aches for you. Prayers for strength & courage.

  10. Condolences to Joe’s family. Rest in peace Joe you will be missed.

  11. Dear Hannah and Family, We send our deepest condolences to you. We hope that you feel the love and support from your friends and the community, and will help give you some comfort at this very sad time. With love, Amy and Julia Levine

  12. Jane,
    My deepest condolences to you and family. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Joe will be missed tremendously.

  13. My heart goes out to the family of Joe. Joe was such good friends with my sons growing up all though school. He will be missed. RIP

  14. Craig Hollenbeck

    I have no words to express my sympathy. I am so very sorry. Your family is on my thoughts.

  15. You have our deepest sympathy. We wish you our prayers and condolences.


    Greg and Mary Hejlik

  16. Stephanie Heier

    So sorry for your loss. Sending thoughts, prayers, and hugs to Jane and children. God Bless.

  17. Larry and Pat Gilbert

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  18. The Stoddart family

    May you RIP Joe Best
    Jane, Rachel, Hannah & Erik…may the love of family and friends help lift you up during these very challenging times!!
    Erik…may you always have the memory of seeing all of those candles last night…knowing that each candle was held by a person that was there for you and your family!!!! All of those people are part of your “tribe” …ready to to help you all!!!
    You are a very special person Erik!! We realized this 15 yrs ago when you touched our hearts!!!
    He will always be with you, guiding you and loving you…unfortunately in a different way.
    Our hearts hurt for you!!!!
    ❤️ Linda * John * Taylor Stoddart

  19. May you all find joy in your memories and peace in your heart. My deepest sympathy .

  20. Dear Jane & Family,

    Our deepest sympathies to you and your family for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in these most difficult times. Joe was younger than me growing up in Garner and I didn’t know him well, but when I look at Eric now, I see Joe. I remember him playing baseball in the summers when Dad and I would go over to watch the High School team play, and more recently, coaching teams for Noah here in Eden Prairie. What I know is that he was a generous man. He will be remembered well, and missed by all.

    Noah, Nicole, Joyce & Jeff Young

  21. My deepest sympathy to Jane and kids. May God bring you peace in such a difficult time. I am so sorry for your loss! My prayers are for you.

  22. Our deepest sympathy to the whole family. Joe was a classmate with my son Kurt Leach that passed away 14 yrs ago. Remembering when Joe was at our house with classmates watching the IOWA HAWKEYES games. May he rest in peace with the Lord.

  23. Leroy and Marilyn Powell

    Words cannot express the sadness we feel for the loss of Joe Best. During our two decades of living in Garner, we came to cherish all of the Best family; Bob and Barb, Carolyn, Kathy, Juli, Jackie, and Susie, as well as Joe. As the HS Principal during Joe’s junior and senior years, I would describe him as one of the really “Good Guys” in his class. Joe was always polite and respectful as a HS student and a good competitor on the athletic field. The Bests, the Van Oorts, and the Schisels made up what we called “Catholic Corners” in Garner. For more than a decade the 4-boys and 11-girls in those families were mainstays in our athletic programs at GHHS. We love them all dearly and mourn the loss of Joe. May God give you comfort in your time of need.

    • Coach Powell, we all were fortunate to have you in our young lives. Thank you for condolences for our brother Joe. And Mom says she so enjoyed Marilyn’s friendship. Carolyn

  24. So sorry for your loss. Joe was always helpful, friendly and a pleasure to work with. He will be missed.

  25. Phillip Haberkamp

    Thoughts and prayers for the Best Family in loss of a love one. Joe will be greatly missed. I was a classmate of Joe. He is with the Heavenly Angels now riding his bike in peace . God Bless Your Family.

  26. Thank you so much “Coach Powell” and Marilyn..
    you were such a positive influence on all of our lives.

  27. Mary (Boudreau) Haight

    My love and prayers to you and your family, Jane. What a beautiful write-up about Joe. Holding you close in my heart, dear cousin.

  28. Thinking about you Jane & family. Sending love, hugs, and prayers for peace as you navigate through this very sad time. RIP Joe.

  29. Thinking of you and your family, and praying for you in your time of loss. May wonderful memories sustain you through your time of grief.

  30. I was so incredibly saddened to learn the news of Joe’s passing this past weekend. I have so many great memories of our times together while working at the Principal in Des Moines in the early 1990’s . Joe was a great friend and he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jane, his children and family during this most difficult of times. May God give you strength in your time of mourning. God Bless.

  31. I am so sorry for you sudden lost of Joe. My prayers go out to you and your family at this time. God’s peace be with all of you .

  32. My heartfelt sympathy to each and everyone of you feeling the loss of Joe. My prayers will be lifting you up in the days ahead.
    Ross Dowell

  33. Kathrine Kanneman

    Jane our thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  34. I am so sorry. My heartfelt sympathy to Jane and her family. I pray that you can feel Joe’s love and kindness in the company of your friends and family. I hope that you can find peace in your grief. I’ll be thinking of you often.

  35. Our hearts are broken to hear of Joe’s loss. Mrs. Best, the entire Bluff Creek community is here with you during this difficult time. You are beloved to parents and children alike!

  36. Teresa Boehnke Smith

    Sympathies to Joe Best family, may his memories be forever in your hearts. I have many memories playing sports in the back yard of the Best home. I graduated with Joe..
    God be with you,
    Teresa Boehnke Smith

  37. Debra Hayes Kleckner

    Barb , Carolyn, Kathy, Julie ,Jackie ,and Susie , and to Joe’s wife and children ,
    It was with sadness and tears that I received the news of Joe’s death . May the memories that you all share of Joe’s life bring you some peace and comfort in the coming days . Even though time has separated us ,I still think of you all as my extended family .Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers during this time of sorrow .
    Debra Hayes Kleckner

  38. Thoughts & Prayers To You Jane & The Rest Of The Family For The Loss Of Our Good Friend Joe / Speed, 1 #ELL Of An Human Being, Gone Way Tooooooo Sooooooon… ✝️✝️

    But It Seems Sometimes The Greater Plan The Big Man Above Has For Us, Is Sometimes Hard To Understand… ✝️✝️

    Jane, Words Cannot Express The Loss Of Joe / Speed, As He Was An Excellent Husband As You Know, Father, Son, Colleague & Friend / Brother To ALL… And You Know That Speed Had A Place In My Heart As A Friend / Brother While At UNI, Neighbors In West Des Moines With The Both Of You & Friend For Life… ✝️✝️

    Thanks For The Memories Speed, God Bless & R.I.P. Our Brother… ✝️✝️

  39. Sorry to hear you’ve departed buddy. Your spirit lives on in your family, friends and everything you did. RIP from an old UNI friend.

  40. So sorry to learn of Joe’s passing. Joe and I competed against each other in high school sports. We later got to know other at UNI. He was an intelligent, friendly, competitive and fun loving guy. My sympathy is extended to his entire family! God Bless

  41. All of us at Aeon are so sorry to hear of the passing of Joe. He was a great friend, partner, and supporter of affordable housing. Our heartfelt sympathy to Joe’s family.

  42. So sorry for the Best family. Joe and I lived on the same floor my freshman year at UNI and were room mates for 3 years after that. I was shocked and saddened to hear of his passing. Many great memories and he will always bring a smile to my face.

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