Joseph W. Ettel
Ettel, Joseph W. Age 72, of San Mateo, CA, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, March 18, 2019, following a brief illness. Joe was born on May 1, 1946 in St. Paul, MN, where he attended Holy Spirit grade school and Cretin High School ('64). He grew up an avid sports fan, excelling in baseball, football, and track (hurdles). He proudly graduated from University of St. Thomas BA ('68), and University of Minnesota JD ('71) and MA ('72) and became a member of the Minnesota and Federal Bar Associations. In 1972, Joe began his lifelong airline career at North Central Airlines (later Republic). After a brief time with Northwest in 1986, he accepted a position with United Airlines in San Francisco where he remained, heading up International Labor Relations, for the following 32 years. Joe became known throughout the airline industry as the "Godfather of International Labor." He was proud of his dual Irish citizenship and traveled extensively around the world, especially enjoying Ireland, Amsterdam, and London. Over the years, Joe checked off many items on his bucket list, including walking the Great Wall of China and Tiananmen Square, climbing Mt. Fuji, standing among the ancient rocks of Stonehenge, and running the New York and Boston Marathons. He never passed up the opportunity to make new friends while chatting about local history. To him, it was as his favorite Disneyland ride proclaims: "a small world after all." A penchant for history, film, and literature were evident in Joe's storytelling and his way with words. He enjoyed Oscar Wilde's witticisms, Edgar Allen Poe's poetry, the philosophy of The Little Prince, and the comedies and tragedies of Shakespeare. He was known to take pleasure in reciting Puck's final monologue. Joe met Cathy Iversen during his time working at Republic Airlines, and the two married in April of 1983. Despite his many adventures about the globe, Joe was most content in the comfort of his home with his family enjoying peanut butter on burnt toast, predicting Final Jeopardy answers before the questions had been asked, and watering the garden in the company of his cocker spaniel, Charlie. Joe took great interest in all aspects of his children's lives. Having always held a great appreciation for sports (lifelong Yankees fan), Joe threw himself with particular gusto into coaching his children's volleyball and basketball teams. With the same amount of heart and attention to detail that he brought to his professional life, Joe studied each sport and developed winning game plans (his record, no doubt, would have been unrivaled were it not for the refs). An athlete himself, Joe's lifelong passions included personal fitness and a healthy lifestyle. He completed over 25 marathons (personal best 2:51) and countless other races including many Bay to Breakers. Joe is preceded in death by his parents, Anthony & Katherine (Brown) Ettel and his brother Richard, all of St. Paul. He is remembered by his wife, Cathy; 3 children, Katherine (Mike) Roe of W. Sacramento, Michael of San Mateo, and Emily of Playa del Rey; and his granddaughters, Eloise and Audrey Roe. Joe you are loved and will forever be missed more than you could ever know. "May the wind always be at your back, and may you be in heaven an hour before the Devil knows you're gone." adapted by Joe, from an Irish Proverb
Published on September 8, 2019
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