Joe's father, Bill Bonham, courted Joe's mother and raised a family with her in Colorado. Joe's father never made enough money, although he loved his family and fed and treated them well. He and Joe had a close relationship, and he got along with Joe's friends, as well. Joe remembers that his father valued people over things, as depicted in the story of Joe losing his father's fishing rod. Joe saw his father as someone unfit for the "quicker and harder" modern times. As all of the characters in Johnny Got His Gun are portrayed either through Joe's memories of them or through his imaginations of them through their vibrations and touches, all of the characters seem to refer back to Joe and his perceptions rather than stand on their own. Thus Joe's father is presented through partial memories, all idealistic, and his character comes to stand for Joe's nostalgia for an older way of life.