Beaverton Historical Society
Gladwin County Obituary/Death Notice
Joseph Soehnel

   Joseph Willard Soehnel was born Nov. 8, 1910 and died Sept. 15, 2006. He went home to be with the Lord and his loving wife of 69 years, Elizabeth. He was born in Brooklyn, New York to Adolph and Marie Koshatski. When he was seven years old, his family moved to Sherman Township in Gladwin County. He lived in Gladwin until 1986, when he and Elizabeth moved to Bay City to be closer to their children. Joe was a pioneer when he and Elizabeth began their family in Sherman Township in Sharkeyville.

   He was one of the first in Sharkeyville to build a modern home complete with indoor plumbing, and the first to have a television. Joe accomplished this without formal training. He was a brilliant man and visionary who was self-taught, as evidenced by his love of learning and reading.

   When he and his young wife attended functions in Sharkeyville, Joe provided music by playing his harmonica. Over his lifetime, a gathering was never complete until Joe brought out his harmonica and played one of his many tunes which included, “Red River Valley,” “Show Me The Way To Go Home,” and “Turkey in the Straw.” Joe loved sharing his stories such as the long horse and buggy rides from Sharkeyville into Gladwin to buy food, and his first job at the Gladwin Hotel. He was also a print-setter for many years at the Gladwin County Record.

   He worked at Dow Chemical Company for 27 years and was in charge of the Standard Solutions lab. He retired in 1969 to care for his braininjured son, Chester. Joe, Elizabeth and Chester were caretakers of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Gladwin for the following 17 years. Joe was best known for his love of nature and spectacular vegetable and flower gardens.

   He was lovingly cared for by his daughter and son-in-law, Marie and Larry Klamer. Marie and Larry had cared for Elizabeth also and continued to fulfill Joe’s wish to remain at home, moved in with him, and devoted their lives to him. The family is ever so grateful for their faithfulness, especially to Larry, whom our father held dear to his heart like one of his own sons. Shannan Suchyta, his granddaughter, frequently visited and gave loving care to her grandfather.

   Joe is survived by his eight children, four sons and four daughters: Francis (Judy), Anthony (Karen), Chester and Joseph (Barb Handy), Patricia, June, Marie (Larry) Klamer and Anna (William) Harper; Nineteen grandchildren: Beth Listello (Dave), Mary Ann Gregor (Bob), Greg Kozak, Sam Soehnel (Kathy), Shannan Suchyta (Rick), Susan Trautner (Craig), Lisa, Kara, Monica, Angela and Matthew Soehnel, Rebecca Klich (Fred), Ari Golden (Traci), Shawna Daniels (Rodney), Avram Golden, Lance Klamer (Melissa), Kelsy (Noah) Kellermann and Grant and Reed Soehnel. Fifteen greatgrandchildren: Pamela Palomares, Jennifer, Sam Jr., and Clinton Soehnel, Nicholas and Dakota Suchyta, Dessarae, Arielle, and Keane Trautner, Neve and Ian Golden, Aron, Mayah and Isaiah Daniels, and Audrey Klich. One great-greatgrandchild, Anthony Palomares and one sister, Sister Mary Josephine, RSM. He is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his eldest daughter, Theresa Kozak, one grandson, Aaron Soehnel, and brothers, Con and Adolf Koshatski, and a sister, Mary Koshatski.

   The family wishes to thank Sister Gretchen and the visiting nurses of Michigan Hospice, especially Karin, Nancy, Vicki and Tammy.
The Funeral Liturgy was held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, 2006 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Bay City. Officiating was Rev. Fr. Robert J. Meissner. The Rite of Committal was at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Gladwin.

   Funeral arrangements were handled by Gephart Funeral Home, Inc. in Bay City. Memorial funds have been established for Brian’s House or the Michigan Chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Personal Information
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Publication Information
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Gladwin County Record, Gladwin, MI
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September 2009
Bob Frei
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