Joe was an Assistant Recreation Director in Boulder, Colorado from 1957-1962. He then moved to Chandler, Arizona and became the recreation coordinator for the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation. He became the Chandler Parks and Recreation Director in 1967 to 1972. In 1972, Joe moved to Phoenix Parks and Recreation as the Recreation Supervisor until his retirement in 1994. During all of his years as a recreation supervisor Joe oversaw literally thousands of youth games as both an administrator and an official.
Joe’s avocation and passion is officiating. He especially loves baseball, softball and football.
He started officiating for the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) in 1966. About 1500 football games and 33 years later Joe hung up his stripes. During that time, Joe spent most of his time as the “White Hat”.
Joe is best known as the “father” of the east valley Pop Warner officials. He started assigning officials to Pop Warner games in Chandler and Coolidge long before there was a football officials association. From there his duties grew. He was assigning for two conferences with eight associations, plus a separate group that had separated from Pop Warner in 1990. By far, Joe had the largest area of responsibility. He was one of the first to “computerize” his assignments in order to handle as many as 90 officials on a single Saturday. Often you would see Joe working games and would definitely see him out “scouting” and evaluating the people that worked for him on Saturday. Joe worked hard to help the rookies under his care. He would match them up with more experienced officials that he knew would make the younger official grow. It wasn’t all about just covering the games, Joe always want the officials to grow.
Joe also spent the better part of his football career, serving his fellow officials as a Chandler representative to the original Region II Football Officials Association, later to become the Central Arizona Football Association. Joe was the association Secretary for many of those years. He also served as a group leader in the Chandler area for nearly 25 years.
Joe Gustafson was and still is a dedicated official interested in helping the younger official improve and assisting all of his fellow officials in any way he can.