Joseph Dortwegt was born in Wilmington, Delaware. He was the son of Johan and Jeanne Dortwegt, immigrants from Rotterdam; and as a child, lived on farms in the Newark area. Later he moved to Elkton, Maryland, where he graduated from Elkton High in 1972. He worked as a welder for Wiley's Manufacturing Company in Port Deposit to put himself through the University of Maryland. After college Joe's adventure was to motorcycle twice across the US on his motorcycle with very little money. He then moved to the Edmonds area to work as an engineer for the Boeing Company. Joe saved his money and left Boeing to earn his MBA at the University of Washington. He returned to Boeing to work several more years as well as complete his Masters of Computer Science at Seattle University.
Joe liked to hike. Joe's hiking buddy, Dave Rockwell, said of Joe: "he was an excellent companion on many epic, unforgettable hikes. Glacier Peak, Mt. Maude, Long's Peak, Grand Canyon, the 3-day circumambulation of Mt. Adams, the high country of Tuolumne, and the roadless shoreline of the Olympic Peninsula, to name a few. We did an overnight trek on snowshoes up into the Olympics to see Anderson Glacier (now gone). That was among the most strenuous things I have ever done. We never did see the glacier, due to fog."
Joe met his wife Barbara while serving on the board of directors at a condominium association where they both lived. They took ballroom dancing lessons together and purchased a home in Ocean Shores. There they had many good times with friends--digging clams, playing cards, riding bicycles, walking on the beach and dancing at the Elks Club.
Joe was an accomplished ballroom dancer and avid swimmer. He was impervious to cold. He swam in Puget Sound, dug clams at night barefoot in shorts and competed in a few polar bear swims in Vancouver, Canada. He loved to work on various projects such as the building of a BMW motorcycle. He loved listening to classic rock and he enjoyed his fragrant winter flowering shrubs. He could be found working in his garden, spending time with close friends (including weekly pizza and pinochle with Gary and Christine) and walking on the beach at Picnic Point with his wife Barbara and their two dogs. Friendly and helpful to all he met, he was often referred to as "the nicest guy I know."
After retirement, Joe was able to spend time at his favorite beaches in Hawaii. Joe, Barbara and their westie, Gus, traveled twice across the US and Canada. One Summer Joe, Barbara, and friends Ron and Susan, took a float plane up the Canadian Shield and canoed down to Lake Temagami. Joe traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Russia, South Sea Islands, Patagonia, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. A memorable travel moment was when he met with close friends to plan a trip to France, and he convinced everyone to travel to Russia. This trip turned out to be everyone's favorite.
Preceding Joe in death was his mother Jeanne. Joe is survived by his wife Barbara Sivertsen, his 101 year old father Johan Dortwegt and brother Arie Dortwegt and his wife Joyce.
These show some of the sides of Joe that I remember most
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I was so sorry to see the notice of Joe's passing. Although our acquaintance time was brief, meeting Joe was like having a friend for life. We worked together in the Boeing Flight Test organization when he first arrived in the Northwest. A great person (and I did admire his ballroom dancing skills)!
My deepest sympathy and condolence to the family.
I was sorry to hear of Joe's passing. I was a fellow engineer and, more importantly, a friend of Joe's. He was one of those people that was always kind and willing to help out in any way that he could. I certainly miss his smile, as I'm sure many others will.
My deepest sympathies and condolences to the family.
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