SCHOENTRUP, Joseph Oren
Our dear Joe passed away peacefully, from leiomyosarcoma, on December 1, 2021, at home with loved ones by his side. Joe was born in Burlington, WA on April 15, 1947 to Lewis and Marjorie Schoentrup. He grew up in Wenatchee, WA and attended Wenatchee High School, graduating in 1965. Joe went to Wenatchee Valley College for 2 years before joining the Navy in 1967. After serving on Guam for 2 years, he returned to the Pacific NW and attended Central Washington Univ, graduating in Dec ‘73 with a degree in Business Administration. EXPO ‘74 brought Joe to Spokane. While he was unsuccessful with his bid to operate a Mexican smoothie concession, he did work at the Fair, first as "Joe Gondola", assisting people on the popular skyride over Spokane Falls, then as a host/guide "Jose USA" at the US Pavilion. Working at the Pavilion, Joe heard about and began planning for his next great adventure, traveling the country with the American Freedom Train to celebrate America’s Bicentennial. Joe met his future wife, Carol Bosch, in Feb ‘75 and easily sold her on the idea of joining him on the AFT’s epic journey across America, beginning April 1, 1975 in Wilmington, DE and ending in Miami on Dec 31, 1976. Jose and Carol B’s travels and adventures continued with an incredible 5 month tour of Europe in a 1970 VW Pop Top Camper, “Brunhilda”, visiting 15 countries. Upon their return to Spokane, Joe worked in Marketing at Riverfront Park to help put together the Spokane Story at the US Pavilion site. Joe and Carol were married in April 1978. From ‘78-‘82 Joe worked as a Ticket Agent with Cascade and Frontier Airlines. In spring of ‘82, Joe’s dream of having a food concession at a World’s Fair came to fruition in Knoxville, TN with a Petro’s Chili & Chips stand. The “Petro” was a big hit at the fair and its success led to a stand at the ‘84 World’s Fair in New Orleans and to a spot in the NorthTown Mall Food Court in Spokane, where Joe and Carol owned and operated their store for 10 years, from Oct ‘85 to Jan ‘96. Being a people person, Joe was in his element. Many of our faithful customers became good friends and he loved sharing stories and laughs with them. At the close of our Petro’s store, Joe became a member of the Dupree Building Specialties family for 12 wonderful years!
Together for 47 years, Joe and Carol raised two amazing sons, Todd and Drew. Joe was a dedicated dad, instilling in them the importance in life of having a strong work ethic. At a very young age, they were put to work restocking cans of chili, shredding cheese, dicing tomatoes and washing dishes. He was there #1 fan, cheering them on in all of their sports games and throughout their careers and he was very proud of their many accomplishments. Joe adored his grandchildren, Madison and Eli, who brought great joy into his life! He treasured the “being silly” moments with them and giving them Eskimo kisses. Grandad’s an Angel on their shoulders now, watching over them always.
Family gatherings were a fun and happy time for Joe. He especially enjoyed our annual 4th of July celebrations at his sister and brother-in-law’s home on Lopez Island and our summer family camping adventures at Reeder Bay campground on Priest Lake. Camping just won’t be the same without seeing Joe floating lazily on his air mattress, hearing him tell colorful stories by the campfire and dancing to “Brown Eyed Girl” with him in the Trapper Creek Bar at Elkins Resort. Joe never lost his love for travel, enjoying many trips to the Bay Area and to San Diego to visit his sons, as well as trips to Las Vegas every March to cheer on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the WCC tournament and spectacular cruises to Alaska and through the Panama Canal. Joe looked forward to reuniting with our American Freedom Train family every two years to relive our epic journey. One memorable travel adventure was attending the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY and being 2 of the lucky fans chanting “USA”, cheering on the US hockey team to victory over the Soviet Union in the “Miracle on Ice”!
Joe liked riding his bike on the Centennial Trail, from our home through the Gonzaga University campus, following along the river to Riverfront Park and on to Kendall Yards, with a friendly wave and hello to people along the way. Music was a big part of Joe's life! He Enjoyed listening to Pop, Rhythm & Blues and Country and he loved going to Las Vegas Shows, to Broadway Musicals in Spokane and to Live concerts! His favorite pastime was sitting on our front porch swing, listening to Pandora tunes on his Bose headphones. If put to song, the line “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you’ll find you get what you need” might best sum up Joe’s life philosophy. As your journey here on earth comes to an end, Joe... “Let your soul and spirit fly...into the Mystic.”
Joe will be remembered as a one-of-kind, gentle, caring, kind soul and a joyful man who always had a smile on his face, a laugh in his voice and something funny to say. Everyone simply loved Joe - he was so easy and fun to talk to and was an incredible storyteller! One of his favorite stories to tell was about hitchhiking home to Wenatchee, WA, from Guadalajara, Mexico, at the end of his International Studies Program in summer ‘73. What set Joe apart was that he was a great listener and always wanted to hear your stories too and he remembered each and every one of them! Joe’s joyful spirit lives on forever in the hearts of family and friends whose lives he so deeply touched.
We offer heartfelt thanks to the doctors, nurses and staff on the Oncology wing at Deaconess Hospital and to the compassionate staff of Hospice of Spokane for their wonderful care of Joe and support of our family at our time of need.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Dan. He is survived by his wife, Carol, sons Todd (Sarah) and Drew (Erin), sisters Karen (Spud) Grimes and Ann (Donnie) Edwards, mother-in-law Colleen Bosch, sister-in-law Terri (Stuart) Hart, brothers-in-law Bob and Bill Bosch, grandchildren Madison and Eli, nieces Annika, Heather, Elizabeth, Ellie, nephews Adrian, Tyson, Ben and many friends who were his family too.
A funeral Mass to celebrate Joe’s life will be held on April 2, 2022 at 11:00 AM at St. Aloysius Church, also available on the church’s website Livestream. The celebration of Joe’s life and his 75th birthday will follow in Cataldo Hall. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Joya Child & Family Development at joya.org or to St. Aloysius Grade School at stalsschool.org.
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