It is with deep sadness that we the family of Joachim Karl Winofsky, lovingly and respectfully known as “Joe the Barber”, announce his passing on April 3, 2006.
Joe Winofsky was born in Schonebeck, East Germany on December 3, 1932, to Karl Winofsky and Minna (Breitbach) Winofsky. Both have predeceased him. He grew up there with his sister Edith and brother Horst, both residing in Germany with their families and his brother Hans who lives in the United States with his family. Hans was able to be with Joe when he passed away. Joe was predeceased by his younger brother Rolf at the age of two.
Joe’s mother told him at an early age that he would become a barber and at age 14 he began his barber’s apprenticeship. Joe fled East Germany with his best friend. Luckily they had a half bottle of whiskey to bribe two German soldiers who stood guard on the East/West border. His future would have been significantly different if he had come upon two Russian guards instead.
Joe met and married his wife of 53 years, Eleonore (Loni) Strumpher in Esslingen, Germany and from there immigrated along with their first child Ellen, to Canada in 1954, leaving war torn Europe behind. They made their way from Winnipeg to Swift Current, Sask., to Vancouver. The Barber’s Union in Vancouver suggested the young couple go north. Joe was nervous about the idea but with the encouragement of his wife they made their way to Quesnel on August 13, 1956, 50 years ago. He and his young family checked into the Quesnel Hotel, then went over to the Quesnel Barber Shop to meet Jack Lewis who was in need of a good barber. Jack took one look at Joe and thought, “Oh no – not another young punk!” Jack wondered if Joe would last. It was a Friday evening and the shop was open late and full of patiently waiting customers. Jack told Joe to go get his barbering tools to give him a hand. Side by side Jack and Joe snipped and clipped and shaved and so started a partnership and friendship that lasted nearly 50 years. Joe loved his work at the shop. He became well known for his diplomacy and kindness. When children came to Joe’s shop, haircut or not, they were always treated to a sucker or bubble gum. The shop was a great place for guys to go and catch up on world events, talk hockey, politics; you name it – all while getting a first class hair cut. Joe and Jack took turns every other Monday for years traveling to Wells to “lower some ears” there. Joe generously donated hair cuts at Dunrovin and Baker Lodge and GR Baker Hospital whenever someone needed a trim.
Son Winfried (Win) was born in 1957, then Ralph in 1962. Quesnel had become Joe’s home – he was proud to be Canadian, loved life in Quesnel and the people in it. Joe was a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks, acting as Exalted Ruler during Quesnel’s Centennial year – 1967. Joe was one of the 10 founding members of the original Quesnel Millionaires. He loved everything about hockey – he was an avid fan of the Quesnel Kangaroos holding season tickets for decades. He was a constant fixture at the arena, involved in all levels of minor and junior hockey in Quesnel. Joe was an absolute die hard fan of the Montreal Canadiens and could be heard saying, “I don’t care who wins as long as the Canadiens don’t loose!” Perhaps the reason for his love of the Canadiens was because his partner, Jack was a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights was a ritual – the only way you could talk was if it was about hockey. It’s a good thing there were only 2 TV channels, 7 & 13 and both had hockey on at the same time.
Joe also loved to dance. He and his wife were wonderful to watch as they “ripped it up” out on the dance floor at the parties they went to. Joe loved to travel, taking his family as they were growing on yearly summer vacations. He and his wife took a number of overseas trips, and traveled to their favorite place away from home, Bucerias, Mexico for many years.
Joe was dedicated to walking and loved to tease, but most of all he enjoyed spending time with his family. He was a wonderful family man and a well respected businessman and member of this community. He was the proud grandfather of 10 grandchildren. Daughter Ellen and Martin Dillabough have four children – Joachim (Joe) Jr. and daughters Jami, Julia and Martina. Martina predeceased her grandfather as an infant. Son Win and Ellen (Koppari) Winofsky have four children – Morgan Ann, Melissa, Michael and Mason. Son Ralph has two sons – Vincent and Reegan. Two things Joe often said to his family were, “If you’re going to do something, do a good job – do it right” and “Be good – just be good”.
Ten years ago Joe was diagnosed with Alzheimers. Loni was his primary care giver until January 19, 2006 when Joe was admitted to Maple House for respite. Unexpectedly Joe took a turn for the worse. He was admitted to G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital March 6 suffering from severe dehydration and passed away April 3.
Joe Winofsky is lovingly remembered and deeply missed by his family and all who fondly knew him.
Thank you to Dona Van De Walle for the wonderful help you were to our family during the times you cared for Joe. Thank you to those caregivers at Maple House and Dunrovin Park Lodge who truly cared for him and to Dr. Sear, Palliative Care and the staff at GR Baker for the gentle care you extended to Joe and his family. Thank you to Pastor Stew and Jan Motteram for coming from Grande Prairie to be with us and for officiating at Joe’s funeral. Thank you to Pastor Norman Botterill for your encouragement and the Baptist Church for being there. Thank you to Doug Beckman for hosting the tea at the Golden Center and to Richard and the crew at Clayton’s Funeral Directors, for making things easier during such a difficult time.
Thank you to this community, to the businesses, to all Joe’s old customers, his neighbors and friends and to long time barbering partner and comrade Jack Lewis. You all made it easy for Joe Winofsky to call “Quesnel – home”.