Dr. Elmer "Joe" W. Ylitalo

Navy Badge
  • Name: Dr. Elmer "Joe" W. Ylitalo
  • Location of Birth: Stevenson, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: October 22, 1924
  • Date of Death: May 6, 2005 (80 years old)
  • Parents: Alex Ylitalo and Martha (Tuomi) Ylitalo
  • High School and Class: 1942 - R. L. Downing High School, Keewatin, Minnesota
  • College: 1942 - Attended Hibbing Junior College in Hibbing, Minnesota.
    1955 - University of Minnesota - Bachelors Degree
    1959 - University of Minnesota - Medical Degree
  • Highest Rank: LT (Lieutenant)
  • Branch: Navy
  • Other Branch: United States Army
  • Date Sworn In:
  • Place Sworn In:
  • Date of Discharge:
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Units and Locations:
    Start Date End Date Unit(s) and Location(s) Served
    1942 1959
  • Military Awards:
    Distinguished Flying Cross
    6 Air Medals with 5 Silver Stars
    Navy Unit Commendation Medals (2)
    Army Commendation Medal

  • Military Highlights:
    Joe joined the United States Navy and completed Officer Candidate School and pilot training. He served as a carrier-based fighter pilot for the United States Navy in the Asiatic Pacific Theater. He continued his naval service as a fighter pilot in the Korean Conflict. He completed his naval service in 1954.

    After receiving his medical degree, Joe entered Army service as a medical intern at the Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, Colorado.

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II
    Korean Conflict

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    In 1942, Joe graduated as Valedictorian of R. I. Downing High School in Keewatin, Minnesota.

    In 1959, Joe received his medical degree. He began his Pathology Residency at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. From 1965 to 1967, Joe served as Chief, Pathology Section, in the Fourth United States Army Area Laboratory at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. He was certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology in October, 1965. He then served as Chief of Pathology and Director of Laboratories at William Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, Texas, where he also completed his Army service in 1969 and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.

    In June of 1969, Dr. Joe began his civilian medical career as Chief of Pathology and Director of Laboratories at Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah, Kentucky. During his tenure at Western Baptist Hospital, he also served as Consulting Pathologist for Massac Memorial Hospital, Metropolis, Illinois; Hardin County General Hospital, Rosiclare, Illinois; Livingston County Hospital, Salem, Kentucky; and Benton Municipal Hospital, Benton, Kentucky.

    From 1972 to 1993, he was the medical examiner (forensic pathology) for western Kentucky. He was licensed to practice medicine in Kentucky, Illinois, Texas, and Minnesota.

    Dr. Ylitalo was an active member of the American Medical Association, American Society of Clinical Pathologists, Phi Rho Sigma Medical Association, McCracken County, Kentucky Medical Society, and the College of American Pathologists.

    Dt. Joe also consulted for the Paducah Red Cross Blood Center from 1976 until his retirement in December, 2003.

    He was also actively involved in many community and church-related activities. He was an avid sportsman, and, in particular, he enjoyed participating in numerous bowling leagues during his years in Paducah. His personal love of bowling culminated in his ownership interest in the Riverport Lanes in 1985. Through this endeavor, he shared his love of this sport with many families and friends.

    Dr. Joe is survived by his wife of 60 years, Faye (Stish) Ylitalo; five sons and daughters-in-law, Joe and Martha (McKinney) Ylitalo, Jon and Beth (Johnston) Ylitalo, David and Debby (Hathaway) Ylitalo, Troy and Sarah (Schaller-Linn) Ylitalo, and Dean and Frances Ylitalo; one daughter, Sharr (Ylitalo) Nall; twenty grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

    Dr. Ylitalo was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, William and Kenneth.

    Joe died at Western Baptist Hospital where he served as Chief of Pathology for 35 years. He was a resident of Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky, since 1969. It is unknown where he is buried.

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):