Joel William Alldredge

On Friday, January 20, 2012, Joel William Alldredge,  passed peacefully.  He was born September 27, 1926 in Goldthwaite, Mills Co., TX to Angie Elizabeth (Roberts) and Joel William Otis Alldredge.  He joined his sister Valeta (6 years older) as one of two children. His father died in 1975, his sister in 1985 and his mother in 1999.

Joel grew up in Texas where he attended 10 different schools, graduating from high school at the age of 16. He enjoyed math, science, PE and reading in school; marbles, cars, girls, and any type of ball game on the side.

In 1942 he attended Texas Technical University for a year and later went on to Spartan College in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He majored in Aeronautical Engineering and earned an award for “Best Engineering Student” in 1946. After graduating he joined the Boeing Company in Wichita, Kansas, working  as a stress engineer developing a commercial airplane to replace the DC 3. When this project ended in 1947 he joined Curtis Wright Airplane Company in Columbus, Ohio.  At the end of one year, when most airplane work was halted,  he worked for an architect as a mechanical engineer.  At the end of 1948 Boeing contacted him and asked that he return to Wichita to work on the B-47 bomber.  It was during this time he met the lady who would become his wife of 37 years.  Jean Helen LeFors, born 1922, was working as a public health nurse.  They met at her parents’ house through a friend of her brother Roy who knew both Roy and Joel.   After a three month courtship he proposed and they were married December 31, 1950.

He continued to work at Boeing and bought his first house in Wichita. In 1952 their first child, Beth Ann was born followed two years later by their son Joel David.  During this time he designed and built their second home in Derby, KS.  In 1962 he went to Seattle for 6 months to help with the final design of the TFX airplane. When the government awarded the grant to another company he was invited to remain and work on the SST program. His family was thrilled and moved to Issaquah, WA where they lived a year on Beaver Lake.  He then bought a home on Lake Washington in Bellevue.  In 1971, he designed and built a new home on the lake in front of the existing house where he lived the rest of his life.  After a successful career as senior stress/structural manager leading the 747 and 767 airplane programs for Boeing, Joel retired in 1985.

At the time of his retirement, Jean’s health was in decline and spending the last two years of her life with her became his priority. Jean passed away in 1987.

Joel was known for his honesty, intellect, compassion and devotion to his family and friends.  He could have been considered a sickly child, but his parents let him live to his fullest abilities.   His mother related a story that at an early age, Joel was running a fever of about 102.  He was not in bed; he was playing on the kitchen floor.  His paternal grandfather told him that he was sick and needed to be in bed.  Joel told his grandfather, “Just cause ya got a temperture doesn’t mean yore sick.”  That attitude is how he dealt with illness throughout his life.  Having had polio, from his parents letting him  make the decision at 14 to have his spine reshaped to dealing with his more recent illnesses, this same perspective remained constant.  He was not afraid to stretch his boundaries, physically or mentally.  In his business life he was respected for his significant technical and leadership contributions, as well as his ability to work well with people and draw out the best in them. He continued throughout his life to cultivate meaningful and supportive relationships with family and friends. After Jean passed away, a widowed longtime friend of Jean’s, Edythe (Pam) Henderson of Wichita, Kansas became a loving friend, sharing comfort and support during his later years.  His attitude of being intentional framed his philosophy.  He always met adversity as a matter of course to be dealt with and never as a victim. Ignorance and apathy were put aside as unworthy companions. At the end of his journey, his messages were to find joy in living a useful life.  He admonished that no one was to be sad at his passing.  He lived well, prepared well, and left a fine, practical and loving example to his family, friends and loved ones.

3 Responses to “Joel William Alldredge”

  • J. David Alldredge says:

    Jean and Joel are survived by their two children Beth Ann McGunnigle (Patrick) of Bothell, WA and Joel David Alldredge (Patsy) of Maple Valley, WA; twelve grandchildren: Rebekah Curtis, Jennifer St John, Jonathan McGunnigle , Joel Micah, Nathan, Aaron, Daniel, Matthew, Bonnie, Andrew, Samuel and Molly Alldredge; nine great grandchildren: Addison, Taylee, Ammon, Noah, Isaac, Joel Thomas, William, Emberley and Eli Alldredge. Joel Thomas is the 6th successive direct line Joel in his lineage.

    Joel requested no funeral. In accordance with his wishes, his ashes will be placed next to Jean’s at the Evergreen – Washelli Cemetery in Seattle Washington.

    Anyone wishing to make a remembrance is encouraged to donate to Children’s Hospital which provided so much service to his family, or another of his favorite charities, the Red Cross.

    David and Beth

  • Pam Henderson says:

    I first met Joel Alldredge when he married Jean LeFors, the girl who had been my friend and classmate at Wesley Hospital School of Nursing in Wichita. I was married to Jerry Henderson, my childhood sweetheart. Jerry and I quickly became fond of Joel and we discovered that the four of us had a mutual love for the card game, “Pinochle”. We played Pinochle at least once a month until Jean and Joel moved away to the Seattle area. We stayed in close contact through the ensuing years, comparing notes as our children grew. The years passed quickly. My Jerry died in December of 1986 and Joel’s Jean died the following June. In the Spring of 1988, Joel decided to stop and visit as he was driving to Texas to see his ailing Mother. I remember we stood in my kitchen and clung to each other, each of us weeping over the premature loss of our spouses. Joel continued to come visit me and our friendship deepened and grew. He became my “buddy”, my best friend, my confidante and my soul-mate. He was one of the most compassionate and gentle persons I have ever met. I loved him dearly. Pam Henderson

  • Jim Maclin says:

    I worked under Joe Alldredge supervision or nearby for most of my 40 year career at Boeing. He was a good friend and fishing buddy whether in my home built car-top boat or better equipment at larger lakes. He was an excellent engineer and a desirable manager for those under him. Jim Maclin

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