Albert Joseph “Joe” Basta, of Cambridge passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, at his home. He was 85 years old.

He was born Jan. 15, 1935, in Pine City, Minnesota to Joseph and Dorothy (Piel) Basta. Joe grew up in Pine City, graduating from Pine City High School in 1953. He worked for a time at the Pine City Hardware Store before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1954. He was stationed in Kansas, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia and was honorably discharged in May 1958.

In May 1959 he was united in marriage to Sheila Bonner in Van Nuys, CA and lived in California until 1961 when they moved to Pine City. Joe attended St. Cloud State University for a year. Joe and Sheila adopted two boys Gerald and Brian.

Joe worked at the Pine City Post Office as well as American Hoist and Derrick, and Ryan Industries. Joe taught shop math at Anoka Tech for a few years. He went on to work for Zoning in Pine County and became Zoning Administrator. He retired in 2000 as Zoning Administrator and Solid Waste Officer for Isanti County. Joe was also a state certified building official. He did building inspections for a few years on an occasional basis for Chisago County and the City of Cambridge after retirement from Isanti County Zoning and Solid Waste.

On Sept. 22, 1990, he married Shirley Smetana of Pine City, in Las Vegas. In 1991 they moved to Cambridge and have been there since.

Joe was a member of Cambridge Lutheran Church, was Past President of the State Zoning Administrators Association, was vice chairman of the American Welding Society, a member of the Cambridge American Legion, and the Isanti County Humane Society. He had a soft heart for rescuing cats and taking in stray cats. Joe had a special place in his heart for his “shop cat” Henry. He had a love for flying and airplanes but never got on a plane since 9/11. Joe had his own home workshop and had a business of repairing and restoring furniture from which he had a large following because of his impeccable work. He enjoyed donating his time and talent to the Harbor Room at Cambridge Medical Center as well as to the Isanti County Humane Society. He and Shirley enjoyed going antiquing, making trips to the Amana Iowa Colonies and the Antique Show in Walnut, Iowa.

He was preceded in death by his parents, son Brian on Jan. 1, 2020, sisters Patty Swanson, Betty Erickson and Shirley Ritari. Joe is survived by his wife Shirley, son Jerry of Pine City, step-daughter Kelly (Tim) Baker of Isanti, eight grandchildren, as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, at Cambridge Lutheran Church.  Visitation will be 4 - 7 p.m., Wednesday at Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the church. Condolences at  Memorials preferred to the family or to the Isanti County Humane Society.          

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