Joe Dan Wilbanks, age 94, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at home in Charleston, South Carolina. He was born on January 27, 1929, in Greenwood, South Carolina, to Daniel and Viola Wilbanks, one of seven children. Joe joined the US Navy at age 16, in 1945, 10 weeks before the end of World War II. He served for 30 years, and was a WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War veteran. He was stationed on 11 different US Navy vessels including two aircraft carriers, two destroyers, two frigates, one amphibious assault ship, one patrol boat, and the USS Salinan, which he commanded from 1971 to 1975. He married Ellen Loranne Felder on January 5th, 1948. After her passing in 2011, he married Linda Applewhite on May 18th, 2013.
Joe was known for his great wisdom, faith in God, and dedication to his family, which included not only his wives and three children, but also a great many extended family members who knew Joe as a strong role-model for what a gentleman should be. His dedication to the Navy, and his love for the United States of America was shown throughout his life of service, which included 36 more years as a ship superintendent and general manager for multiple shipyards, including Braswell Shipyards, Metal Trades Inc., and Main Industries, Inc., in the Charleston area. He did not retire until he was 82 years old.
Joe was preceded in eternal rest by his wife Ellen, his sisters Irene, Louise, Polly and Betty-Jean and brother Charles, his son Joe Dan Jr., and his daughter Corliss Diane. He is survived by his wife Linda, son Joseph, sister Inez, and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at the J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. West Ashley Chapel in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday, May 27th at Noon. Visitation to follow after the service.