Lisle Funeral Home

1605 L Street, Fresno, CA


Joe Franklin Kulbeth

20 April , 194325 April , 2019

Joe was born in Warren, Arkansas in 1943 and died unexpectedly in Madera County on April 25, 2019. Joe served as a helicopter crew chief during the Viet Nam conflict, for which he earned a Good Conduct Medal, an Air Medal (seven oak leaf clusters), and a Viet Nam Service Medal (10 oak leaf clusters). Joe was a California Highway Patrolman for 25 years. Early in his career with the CHP, Joe certified as Pilot in Command with the fixed wing operations in Coalinga and transferred to the CHP’s helicopter operations, located at the Fresno Air Terminal, where he conducted search and rescue missions throughout the Sierra Nevada and the Central Valley on Helicopter 40. After retiring from law enforcement, Joe became very involved in the Fresno aviation community as a member of the Central California Soaring Club and as a board member of the Central Valley Airmen’s Association (CVAA) and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). As a certified flight instructor, Joe shared his love of flying with dozens of students.

Joe is survived by wife Jean Kulbeth, brother Jimmy Kulbeth and wife Loyce, son Robert Kulbeth and wife Sheila, son Dewayne Kulbeth, son Jeff Taylor and wife Tami, daughter Melanie Carter and husband Mike, daughter Sharon Rice and husband Chris Karwoski, Michelle Rice and husband Doug Woolsey, and by grandchildren Hadley and Ryann Kulbeth, Lilliana and Ray Cortez and their mother Kristina Kulbeth, Jacob Taylor, Luke Taylor and wife Molly, Logan and Andrew Carter, and Timothy and Hannah Leece, and many relations in the Roark family in Mississippi.

From early days, Joe was obsessed with aircraft; he was happiest when flying. He never knew a stranger, made friends everywhere he went, and derived satisfaction from helping people with anything they needed. His generosity and enthusiasm were legendary.

Joe will be laid to rest alongside his mother, Gracie Maxine McDonald, in Boyle, Mississippi on May 25, 2019.

There will be a Celebration of Life for friends and family at the EAA Hangar at Sierra Sky Park, located at 4344 W. Spaatz Avenue in Fresno (93711) on Saturday June 8, 2019, from 11:30 to 4:30. All are welcome.

Memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.lislefuneralhome.com for the KULBETH family.


  • Jean Louise Kulbeth, Wife


  • Celebration of Life Saturday, 8 June , 2019


Joe Franklin Kulbeth

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tammi Little

9 May 2019

Dearest Joe Kulbeth,

Just when I had about given-up on folks to look up to, besides my Dad, YOU came along. My Dad loved ya, and so do I.
Someday, if I'm ever blessed enough to be where you are, I'm gonna give you the warmest hug and I'll tell you: "Thank you for being such a true and loyal friend to my Dad!"
Until then, we shall NEVER forget you.
Love, Tammi
(Oscar & Helen too)

Michael Carter

5 May 2019

Dearest Joe,

Thank you for making us feel like family.
Thank you for being there on birthdays and holidays.
Thank you for all the great days by the pool.
You’ve been a great blessing to my family.

May the breath of God carry you on eagles wings to the rising sun.

Not having you near
Will always bring us pain
But the truth is that I have no fear
For we shall meet again

Michael, Logan-Joe, and Andrew-Joe Carter

Stephen Chase

3 May 2019

I purchased my FIRST airplane from Joe when he flew here thru a thunder storm to Clemson SC in 2010 and we then flew it to Melbourne FL and then in another Lambada taking 3 rough days to get back to Fresno. Joe infected me with the yearn and love of flying and gliding from that time on. We had many good times of not only motor glider flight training at Madera in 2010 as I was trying to get back into the game after a 25 year hiatus. But also at our Motor Glider fly ins up in Minden, Nevada. I researched and we had over 300 emails to each other over the years with many concluding with "Get your motor glider experience, fly like an airplane, soar like a bird" I believe when Joe discovered soaring that his life changed. He LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, to fly especially in the Lambada, Sundancer Motor Glider. He and Jean were great hosts for us when I was flight training and during a later visit with my wife Carrell. Joe was my mentor in the world of flight. I chuckle over the many times we would Kibitz about the the cost of things because he was always on guard for his money and assets. I loved his frugality and he strengthened my resolve to be a saver. The words of respect from Joe's family above tell us that he was very successful in passing along his beliefs of helping others. He would go to the end of earth to help make one a better person. I am tearful as I write my respects here. Joe and his brother Jim were very special people in my life. I wished I had lived closer to him as we would have been Good BUDS in our retirement years. I am gladdened that when Joe left us he was doing what he truly loved most to do and that was flying........Steve Chase......

Tamara Taylor

3 May 2019

Joe you were such a unique person. I’m happy that you were so loved and respected and shared your life with so many people. I’m truly honored to be a part of your life and that I had the pleasure of learning so much from you, especially how you treated others. May God continue to bless everyone’s lives you touched and remember you for the awesome life you lived. I love you and miss you dearly.
Your daughter in love Tamara Taylor.

DeWayne Franklin Kulbeth

2 May 2019

To my father words cannot describe my feelings. You have taught me how to change brakes on a pickup truck. You have taught me how to fly before I could drive. We had our bad times and we had our fantastic times. You Raise Me and showed me the way. I love you and I have much more to say but I'm just going to leave it at I love you

Jeff Taylor

2 May 2019

Joe Franklin,
Because of you I am a better man today and still on this earth. You were my Father, Best Friend, Confidant, Mentor, Counselor, and the list goes on. You held an important and Loving role in countless others as well. Always willing to share yourself and your life with anyone who walked into your path.

You Love your wife, kids, grandchildren, and extended family to the purest and with no expectations. Your endless devotion to all those you Love and befriended will forever be remembered. Your Legacy will carry on. Your laugh will always be heard and make me smile. Your willingness to help whoever asked for it will remain an example. Your service too your country will never be forgotten.

I Love you Joe Franklin (JoeKay). My cherished Father
I miss you,

Robert (Bobby T) Kulbeth

1 May 2019

Dad you were my world. I am going to miss you so much. My heart is broken; however I know that I will continue to make you proud. I love you so much and miss you more than anything.

Love your son,

Bobby T

Melanie Carter

1 May 2019

I love you Joe-Dad. You were my rock. Melanie