Archive for October 2012

My Friend, Joe Clein

October 9, 2012

Joe Clein, BFF

 Joe passed on Sunday, 30 September 2012 at Providence Hospital in Everett, Washington.  He was suffering with congestive heart failure that may have been related to recent surgeries he was recovering from that had to do with infections in his lower back and spine.  He was recently married to Diane and had challenging health problems that limited his mobility since shortly after they got married.   He was very happy to have found Diane and they were planning to come to Hawaii to help us celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this December.  I was happy for Joe that he had found Diane because he really needed a partner to do things with and didn’t want to be alone.  They seemed to be very happy together and shared a lot of similar interests.

Joe had his kids and Diane with him at the end and he called me on Friday to say that he was in the hospital and that he wasn’t doing very well.  He couldn’t talk long and his son, Tom,  came on the line to say the doctors were still hunting for a drug regimen that would improve his condition but they hadn’t found it yet.  I told Tom that Patty and I would come up on Wednesday since we had some appointments for Tuesday.  Then I tried calling him Sunday morning and his phone was turned off so I called Tom and he told me that Joe had decided to not take any more drugs and was currently just on a morphine drip.  Patty and I called and cancelled our appointments and jumped in the car to go to Everett.  Tom called when we were about to Olympia to say he passed at 3:45 that afternoon.  Patty and I were graciously invited to a family get-together at Maile’s sister,  Nita’s,  home and we drank wine and talked about Joe.  As for me, that was just what I needed at that time. 

Joe was a very caring person and he spent years caring for Maile when she was sick.  She suffered greatly but Joe was always there for her and took good care of her.  They had a wonderful marriage and did a really good job of raising their kids.  Joe was always very proud of all his kids and their accomplishments.  We’ve always been impressed with how close their family is and how they all pull together when challenged by life or circumstance.  After Maile died, Joe spent more years caring for the elderly and the sick by driving them to medical appointments in his own car and at considerable expense and trouble.   

So, I’ve got about a thousand e-mails from Joe on my server and that is a fairly accurate estimate.  I can’t see myself deleting them even though they are just jokes he forwarded, for the most part.  It’s sort of like I’m still in touch as long as they’re there and deleting them would take a tremendous effort on my part and I don’t think I could do it.   Not now anyway. 

Joe would sometimes send me something he knew I wouldn’t appreciate, especially the ones that are politically inspired and distortions and misleading.  He would frequently say “I personally don’t agree with this but…” and that would really get my goat.  I’d call him or send him a message and tell him not to send them if he didn’t agree with them but he would anyway because he had friends across the political spectrum and sometimes they were pretty extreme. (Even further to the right than I am to the left.)   It was important to Joe to have friends and he could get along with anyone.

When I thought of sending out an e-mail to his e-mail list (which I am a part of) the response was immediate and a little overwhelming.  I’ve been a friend for over 40 years but some of the responses were from friends since Joe was a teen-ager.  I’m getting pictures and e-mails from all over the country.  Invariably they say how much they loved him and that he held a special place in their memories.  They all say he was a great guy and what better legacy can you have than that!?  I don’t kid myself that I will leave as great a rift in my passing when it is my time.  But I do hope that I go with the class and grace that Joe exhibited in his final days.

I think, what I will do, is put together the e-mails I am receiving along with the pictures, and post them just like that for everyone to see.  Tom says they are still planning the Memorial Service and they will have a storyboard of Joe’s life and I’ll ask to include this in that storyboard. The pics and responses are still coming in and I’ll add them as they get here.  I have pictures I’d like to include but they’re home in albums and on my computer so I’ll have to do with what others can provide.

Hi Jack,

Here’s a crew photo from the early 80’s with Joe front and center. This is when he worked at the Boeing Developmental Center.

  Jeff Adams

So sorry to hear about Joe. Thanks so much for letting us know. We have known Joe since about 1963, when we were stationed with him and Maile at John Hay AFB, in the Philippines, played a lot of Pinochle and had some very good times. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Was this sudden or had he been sick?
Thanks Again
Gerald and Pat Tosh

Joe was a patient of mine since 2002. He was always a good friend along with being a good patient…I was on his emailing list and thoroughly enjoyed the batches of emails I received periodically from Joe.   He will be missed dearly by me and all of my staff which knew him well…

 A final salute to you Joe.

 Thank you Jack for letting us know…I hadn’t heard from Joe in a while and was starting to wonder how he was doing..

 Sincerely,   Dr Darcy Szigety


omg! I was so afraid this happened. He’s been on my mind for several weeks. My husband talked to him about 3 weeks ago. It’s been pretty quiet since. You didn’t say where the family celebration would be. I’m assuming it would be in Seattle, since that’s where Joe and Maile lived for so long. We’re Floridian’s(The Villages) and likely won’t be able to make it. We’ve known Joe since 1964( Philippines) and remained close to him since.

Please let all his children know, we grieve for him as well and know that he loved his family so deeply. A warm, wonderful friendly person without a mean bone in his body…always a smile. Our deepest sympathy goes out to them and to all his friends, as they go through the adjustment to make.

Always, With Love and Sympathy,

John and Evelyn McKee

Thank you for letting us know. Too often we get news of those we cared about they had passed away and a long period of time had gone by and no one told us. So Thank you again… I know you feel the loss as well. Ev

 Dale Marston here.  I’m the guy who has sold Joe all his cars for years.  My true friend, and as a Veteran I honor him. God Bless. We are in California.  However if there is anything I can do, please call me ***-***-****, Seattle number or e-mail me. Where will he be buried???  Please send Our wishes of Love and Caring to everyone in Family. I also buy for some of the other family members. Please advise me,I will send Flowers or do anything for my friend.

Dale & Susan Marston

 As an American Cancer Society volunteer driver, when I was getting ready to retire last year Joe convinced me to become a volunteer for them as well. I don’t do any driving but I do match drivers to the people to need transportation and even tho it has become quite time consuming, I do enjoy helping……and it’s all thanks to Joe and his enthusiam for the organization.    I contacted the ACS office and they forwarded the attached items – hopefully they will be useful   (sorry about the poor quality of the Stevens Hospital article- it’s pdf and doesn’t insert into WORD very well)  Joe’s ACS article

Joe and Maile opened their home to our daughter Susan for her wedding in ’98  and Susan provided these pictures of Joe, Maile, Susan, Traci, Patty, Patty’s sister Tammy and infant Samuel.  I’ve got more pictures of that event and more of Joe and Maile but they’re home in my computer and I can’t get to them now.   Jack

I have some pictures from the 75th birthday party I will forward to you. We put this together for him and three friends that were turning 75 last year, my husband one of them, also a good friend.   It sounds like the memorial is family only right? I wonder if you would do me a favor and forward to me how to contact Diane, phone # preferably. I saw her on Saturday the day before Joe passed and she was open to a memorial square dance in his honor with benefit to the Heart Association. I failed to get her contact info at that time. She will remember our conversation. If you can help I would appreciate it. Meanwhile I will forward some pics of that party.    Doris and Jon Chapman

Thank you so much Jack. He was my neighbor ever since I was a teenager with my dad Bill. I always call him Uncle Joe, so did my daughter, my brother and his kids. He had a heart of gold and he will be truly missed. I will let my family know as well. Could you send me information on the Memorial so I could pass that along too. I will not be able to attend but my family might.
Thanks again for letting us know.    Ena Gregory Randall

What a shock. My name is Chuck Stotts, or Red, as I was known on the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey Ship Hodgson in 1953, when Joe and I were shipmates. Yes, I have some photos and will begin looking for them right now. Thank you very much for taking the initiative to inform all Joe’s email friends. Last time I saw him was when he came out to a Square dance here in Maple Valley.

I’m guessing Joe’s heart finally gave out. Last time I talked to him, he and Dianne were pretty busy working on her house and moving into Joe’s.  He did mention that he had had some brief episodes with his ticker but thought that the docs had it under control.  I hope that his family was with him when he went.

Anyway, thank you very much again. I’ll get after the photos right now.

Jack, here’s the ship, Hodgson, Joe and I were on in 1953. I’m still looking for more of the “kid” who was 17 at the time.        Chuck


OK, I’m home now and I’ll try to finish this up and send it out to those I contacted before and some of the friends I can reach that knew Joe.  Joe was planning on helping Patty and I celebrate our 50th Wedding anniversary in Hawaii on December 29th this year and he had reservations at Bellows AFS on Oahu for a beach cabin with us.  We were looking forward to sharing this special occasion with Joe and Diane as well as members of our family and any friends that could make it.  I’m including links to a blog from the funeral home with Joe’s obituary:  (I noticed that this hyperlink sometimes sends you to a funeral home in Georgia- if that happens just insert an ‘s’ in the address to make it Becks and click the search again) and some pics I have on my computer.

Joe’s kids had a ‘Celebration of Joe’s Life’ at the Community Center in Edmonds, WA and it was a great way to remember Joe.  There was a lot of people who had good memories and stories about Joe to share.  It was special.



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