February 8, 2023 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Birthday parade to celebrate Voges

St. Joseph resident Bruce Voges has seen a lot in his life.

And Tuesday will be another first.

To celebrate Voges turning 94, his friends and family are planning a birthday parade.


His family and friends will meet at the Freese Funeral Home parking lot at 302 E. Grand by 5:30 p.m. They will then drive by Voges’ home on Grand Avenue.

The family is encouraging walkers, drivers, runners and dogs of all sizes to participate in the parade.

The Voges family said Bruce is often in his garage during the day so if people are unable to participate in the parade they can drive by during the day and shout happy birthday and wave.


Bruce was married to his wife Katie for 58 years until her death in 2011. They had three children, Michael, Michele and Tim.

Bruce enlisted in the Navy in 1944 at the age of 17. He landed Marines from a small craft on Iwo Jima and Okinawa and witnessed atom-bomb testing.

At the age of 74, he brought a restored Landing Ship Tank home from Greece.

Voges served on a Landing Ship Tank, which is a 328-foot-long vessel designed to take troops, vehicles and cargo directly onto the shore.

Voges served for 20 years in the Navy and retired in 1964. He then went to work for Magnavox in Urbana.

After his second retirement, he worked at the First National Bank of Ogden. First serving as a teller than then working his way up to bank president.

Daughter-in-law Tami Fruhling-Voges said Bruce is generous and full of life.


“Even at his age he continues to do special things for people all the time,” Fruhling-Voges said.


A few years ago, Bruce created wooden pink ribbons with lights on them that he gave to residents and businesses around town.


“He wanted to do something for the community to help the cause,” Fruhling-Voges said. “Every business downtown received a ribbon and many others throughout the community. Because our family and so many others in the community have had their lives changed by the diagnosis, he wanted to do something for October Breast Cancer Awareness month.   Never did he accept money, he would simply tell people to use that money to donate to the cause. He continues to stay active, still doing woodworking projects to share as special gifts.”

Fruhling-Voges said they hope the parade has a large turnout.  

“I’m sure he will be overwhelmed as the parade passes his home,” she said. “It will warm his heart to know how many people think so highly of him to want to wish him a happy birthday.”

Photo courtesy of the News-Gazette.

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