Joseph Paul Lamonica, Jr.


11/30/1946   –   10/21/2021


image of Joseph Paul Lamonica, Jr.

Joseph Paul Lamonica, Jr.

Best known as a teacher, historian, Boy Scout leader, collector, reader and storyteller, Joseph Paul Lamonica, Jr., died peacefully Oct. 21, 2021 in Kirkland, WA. after a long battle with Multiple Systems Atrophy.

Joe was born Nov. 30, 1946, the son of Margery (Swift) and Joseph P. Lamonica, Sr. in Pontiac, IL. He is survived by his former wife, Mary Kay (Frantz) Lamonica, sons Joseph P. Lamonica III, and Michael P. (Amy) Lamonica; daughter Anna M. (fiancé, Verlondon Harris) and five grandchildren: Anthony, Nicky, Nina, Alex and Christopher; a sister, Kathleen Krochock, and brothers John (Cathy) Lamonica, Thomas (Claire) Lamonica, and James (Mary Jean) Lamonica. He was predeceased by his parents; a sister, Mary Nation; and daughter-in-law, Jennifer Lamonica.

Joe grew up in the Indiana Dunes (Beverly Shores, IN) and  the Chicago suburbs before moving to Bellevue in 1976.  A 1964 graduate of St. Francis High School in Wheaton, IL, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University in 1968, a Juris Doctorate from George Mason University and an MBA from the University of Puget Sound. After finishing undergraduate school, Joe enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era and enrolled in Officer Candidate School. Serving primarily in Colorado Springs, he was honorably discharged in 1970.  After law school, he began professional life as an attorney for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Joe continued as a teacher at Central Washington University, with a side practice advising small businesses.  He was also involved in many local political campaigns.

A passionate outdoors-man, Joe got involved as a Boy Scout leader when his sons participated and remained involved with Scouts for more than 20 years. He is remembered by scouts and their parents as a merit badge counselor,  the camp cook, a hiking motivator, a collector of “everything”  and the fireside storyteller. He also organized the Toys for Tots drive each year, encouraging scouts to do their good turn.   His commitment to Scouting is recognized with “Joe’s Cook Shack” at Camp Parsons in Brinnon, WA, constructed in his honor.

Known as “Grumpa” to his grandchildren, he enjoyed spending time with them playing with the electric trains, building Brio masterpieces, decorating for Christmas, reading Charlie Brown stories and telling stories of mountain men, early settlers, historical figures and many more.  We are all picturing him now, walking among his beloved mountains covered with snow and telling all his friends, “It’s snowing, Mr. Wilson!”

Joe’s life will be celebrated by family and friends at a memorial service at 1 p.m., Jan. 22, 2022, at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 3730 148th Avenue SE, Bellevue, WA 98006.  Memorials can be sent to the Chief Seattle Council, BSU, 3120 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98144 or the Wounded Warrior Project,

4 Responses to “Joseph Paul Lamonica, Jr.”

  • John Lamonica says:

    Though separated by thousands of miles; Joe and I stayed in touch by telephone. Those were such great conversations. We laughed a lot. I miss our talks.
    Love you, Joe

  • Roxie Dimpel says:

    I met Joseph and Mary when Mary became my daughter’s teacher….way back in the 70’s. Our families became friends and we shared many happy times together. They came to Connecticut to stand in for my son’s Baptism. Over the years we kept in touch as our families grew. Christmas cards and long distance phone calls.. Joseph was a great story teller. He loved his Boy Scouting days and teaching from his life experiences. He was a good friend.
    “this is the first day of the rest of my life….” Is a quote from an Inspirational print I had on my wall. Joseph loved it and asked if he could have it. He said he read it everyday.

    My heart is heavy with sadness for Mary and his children and grandchildren. May memories bring you some measure of Peace

    Until we meet again.

  • Lamonica James says:

    Joe and I lived on the opposite sides of the country but we spoke often on the phone about history, books, politics, and our families. He was always there for me when I needed him. When we did get together we always dressed as mountain men for a picture. One has hung in my house for many years.

  • Alice J Coad says:

    When I planted my Texas Garden, I asked Joseph for his favorite rose. I planted Joseph’s Coat Climbing Rose in honor of a beloved friend. It is a rose with stark color contrasts and multiple thorns – a succinct reminder of a special and loved man.

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