In Memory


Joe was murdered in Seattle, WA on November 22, 2010 by a homeless man.  He never married but will be terribly missed by all that knew him.

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11/29/10 01:36 PM #1    

Dave Milam

Dear Joe,                                                                   Nov. 29, 2010

Last time we talked was at the admissions at sdcc in san diego where you were reading a book by Leon Uris called Trinity.  I remarked to you didn't he write the Exodus and you said I didn't know you were that literate Dave and read much.  Looks like you  enjoyed living in beautiful places as Seattle is breathtakingly pretty and I had the fortune of being there a few days when I hitchiked that direction from Illinois 29 years ago.  Well, I shall remember you as one of those classmates that I knew but not as well as I would have hoped.  Your passing is one more reminder of how precarious life is and that it ought not to be wasted not even a day of it.  I had to post something here to give you a measure of respect for the life you lived even if I could not claim you as a close friend like Gary Rundblad.  Being reminded by a poets words more eloquent than mine to say it regarding your passing, "any man's death diminshes me, because I am involved in mankind and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee.       Dave Milam

12/04/10 11:41 AM #2    

Gary Rundblad

I haven't been a very good friend, much less a 'best' friend', for a long time.  Joe and I had just reconnected, thanks to this website, a few months ago.  Neither one of us knew, or at least admitted to, why we had drifted apart.  It wasn’t important.  Catching up with a long lost friend was what was important.  And through our e-mails, the last 35 years sort of melted away.  Joe seemed like the Joe I remembered from high school.  Maybe a little mellower.  He was still a great guy that I will miss for a long time and shed a tear every time I think about him for the memories we will not have.

A number of people have contacted me to express their shock and grief.  I want to share some excerpts from Joe’s and my e-mail for those who knew him.  I hope it is not too morbid, but they bring a little of him to life for me, and hopefully for you, at least one last time.  These are Joe's words with my parentheticals in [brackets]; "[...]" means I've excluded some stuff that was not relevant.

08/27/10 06:28 PM:

Hi Gary! What a long strange trip it has been. I hope you forgive me for missing your wedding day. I have felt bad about it for years. I had heard you went to Texas, then Indiana, and I didn’t have a way to contact you. I was so happy to receive your email, with my old nickname, Mang. That was nice! Well I'm in Seattle now with three dogs and a cat. I'm definitely an old hippie, sans the healthy lifestyles. […] I have a lot to say but I got to make this short. All My Best Wishes for You and Sue [GR: Sue, my wife, also knew Joe from college], I'll write soon, Always remember Susan... and Charlie [GR: Sue’s family beagle, circa 1970’s].

09/04/2010 05:00 PM:

'Hotel California' the song by the Eagles was my life until 1987. Then I got off the streets, met a woman, found a job and had four years of tranquility, but I was stupid and it disappeared. […] I never thought that I would be writing and talking with my good old friends from ILL. It gives me so much energy and joy. So wonderful! I hope you do come to Seattle [GR: Joe’s referring to a bike trip starting in Seattle that I have planned for next year]. More to you guys later, Joe

09/08/2010 07:49 PM:

Sue & Gary,
Sue, You may be from MO. but I think you can qualify as an honorary Illinoisan. Did Janine or Barrett [GR: Our children] go to the U of I? You know, I think I would have been better as an uncle Joe, than as a Dad Joe. It must be satisfying to see your babies grow into adults. I hope they are like you and Gary, and not like me [
GR:!]. […] As for me, I've become an adequate cook, a dog whisperer and role player. […]
I do hope that you guys do come to
Seattle sometime. You should see our new public library, and, as always, The Pike Place Market. Yours, Joe

09/29/2010 03:37 PM

Gary and Sue,
Now that we've got the past all done with and it was wonderful! One of our dogs died, August 4. He had epilepsy too. He was only 5. He was a Golden Retriever. Jake was his name. We are looking for another, and we found one! He is a good looking Black Lab. […] Hope You're Well, Joe

09/29/2010 04:37 PM

Gary and Sue,
Read your reply of 9-22 and will try to send all of these old emails, plus this.
Gary you must be in good shape to plan a trip from Seattle to San Francisco. […] Like I said, I have some spots in Seattle to visit. I've been wanting to go to Teatro Zin-Zani for a while now. Maybe we all could go there. Kind of a Seattle version of Cirque du Soleil. And Restaurants, do you like Thai food?
This black lab, (Mocha is his name) is something, headstrong and always looking for trouble. Our Husky is at this stage not to wild about our having a new pup. That'll change when he is old enough to play tug a war and rough house.
I hitched from
San Francisco to Eureka, Ca. one summer on my way to Champaign, didn't make it. But off Hiway 101 there is a state park with all of these old Redwoods, you'll probably ride into them. There's one, named Ulysses S. Grant that you can drive a car through. Ah, the Past.
So Happy to be in contact. […] Stay Well and Happy, Joe

11/11/2010 07:08 PM

Gary & Sue,
Got your emails as of 10-9. Saw your vacation pictures on facebook. You should definitely get out to the west coast more often. Great weather and social work in the community, awareness is high, but in these economic times everybody is hurting. […] I went on Craigslist for rentals in
Champaign. Rents are not to cheap being a college town. Also my smoking is not a plus. […]  Stay Well & Happy, Joe
P.S. Gary you should grow a beard again. You have reddish blond roots (unless it’s now white). Sue you'll love
San Francisco. Gary I know you had a beard.


So that’s the last I heard from Joe.  I did have a beard that ‘adorns’ my face periodically, as the picture I post on FB occasionally will attest.  It is mostly white.  I don’t know if I’ll grow it back or not.  I think it makes me look old.  Hmmmm.


12/09/10 01:02 PM #3    

Sandy Murray (Keesee)

Joe and I grew up together.  Our families were best friends and we went on fishing trips to Canada every year.  We had great times and wonderful memories.  Joe and I lost touch after i got married and he went off to school.  My family lost touch with his family but all of us reconnected on this website.  I was just getting to know Joe again when the awful tragedy of his death happened.  I am very saddened by his loss and will always treasure all the fun times wehad growing up.  Please keep Joe's mom and dad in your prayers this holiday season.

I love you Joe.


Love, Sandy (Murray) Keesee



01/02/11 02:38 PM #4    

Rita Mickelson (Stewart)

I too was able to reconnect with Joe through this website.  I knew him a long time...all the way back to Northlawn Grade School.  We especially remembered Mrs. Groth's 6th grade class.  We had some emails laughs about his antics in her class.  I told him what I remembered most about him was that he could always make me laugh.  Even when I felt at my lowest, he could make me laugh.  When my dad passed away, (when I was in 8th grade), Joe didn't know what too say, as most kids that age don't, but he said something funny and I smiled, his reply was, "It's good to see you smile again, Rita".  I'll never forget those words and I'll never forget Joe.  He was a good guy who cared about people.  God's called home a good one.  Thanks God for sharing him with us.

01/05/11 04:24 PM #5    

Chris Fredericksen

I had not seen Joe since shortly after high school. I guess going to different schools drifted us apart. Joe always seemed to be happy in school. He loved to laugh and have a good time. I remember driving around in his VW with Gary ang Bill listening to Led Zepplin and looking for girls. The back seat of his VW would fold down so certain passengers could sneak into the drive-in with the appropriate beverages. I can still see his smile and his hair covering most of his eyes. I wish I could have reconnected with him. He was a great guy! I will miss him. God bless you Joe. From Chris Fredericksen

09/01/11 10:28 PM #6    

Janet Ohligschlager (McCullough) are not forgotten.   The memories live on.

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