Columbus, Ohio USA
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Joe Theibert (1948 - 2017)
by Margaret Marten
May/June 2017 Issue

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Joe Theibert Photo Larry Hamill

Friendship was sure to follow whenever Joe Theibert walked into a room. He had a grin that grabbed you, conversation that nabbed you, and a spirit of fun that won him countless friends over the years, and left as many mourners behind when he passed away on April 3 at the age of 69 from congestive heart failure.

The fourth of a happy dozen born in Bexley to Fergus and Mary Louise Theibert, Joe became a major player and chief contributor to the lively spirit of creativity, humor and energy that propelled the Short North into prominence beginning in the 1980s.

He made his mark as the UnOfficial “starter” of the annual Doo Dah Parade after its inception in 1984 when his good friend Gregory Carr, influenced by Joe’s talk of the Pasadena parade, became intent upon starting one here in Columbus. Theibert called that first year a “Spanky and Our Gang production.”

Tending bar at the Short North Tavern in its early years and eventually, after a lottery win, serving as the tavern’s unofficial host and welcomer while comfortably ensconced on a barstool, Theibert established himself as “the mayor of the Short North” freely sharing warmth, optimism, and conversation with the surrounding community. The 5 O’Clock Club, a daily draw of after-work pals and patrons, became the backbone of his daily practice of spreading sunshine.

Theibert truly cared about people, including the publisher of this paper, Tom Thomson, whom he transported to and from the tavern in Tom’s final years after he became legally blind. Comfortable and confident with himself and others, Theibert was a natural for sales, and part of his professional career was spent selling ads for the Gazette, and having a lot of fun doing it. In his later years, he worked helping the elderly and disabled as a housing relocation specialist.

In a 2008 Gazette profile, Dennis Fiely stated that Theibert was a man of many quotes. Joe’s favorite was about his beloved wife, Suzanne Cotton: “I won the lottery first in 1985 and again when I met Suzanne.” Fiely’s article highlights some of Theibert’s quotes but also those of family and friends, describing details of his life with the sensitivity and care of someone who knew him well, as Fiely did. Please visit our website at to read more of the story of what made Joe a Great American.

See pages 8 and 9 for photos of Joe
and his story of the Doo Dah Parade.

© 2017 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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