303. The Man for All Seasons

Today’s blob is all about the one and only Joe Stark. You may never be so lucky as to meet another guy quite like him, but you’ll wish you could.

Joe is my grandson-in-law and he’s 29 years old today.  He was married to my granddaughter Gretchen Warden in 2008.  To say that we got real lucky when he married into our family, is putting it mildly.  His patron saint, St. Joseph, was definitely looking out for us.

Joe has a goofy kind of charisma – that’s the only way I can describe it.  There’s something about him that makes you feel happy when you’re in his presence. I wish there was some way to clone him so we could share the wealth.

Granddaughter Gretchen wrote the following about the love of her life:  

“Joseph James Stark was born on July 6, 1982 to James and Kimberly Stark
of Renton, Washington.

Joe was a very energetic and active child. He has one sister, Tiffany who is two years younger than he. 

Joe has loved sports since he was very young. He was active in soccer, Little League, and Boy Scouts.

Joe’s family was always very
supportive of his interest in sports. He cannot remember his dad ever
missing one of his games. 

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He wrestled and played soccer at Hazen High School in Renton.

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While he was at Hazen, Joe made a great group of friends that are still just as close today. 

Joe developed an amazing work ethic early on and got a job at Safeway while he was still in high school. When he graduated from
Hazen, Joe got a job at Target and his first apartment with his friends
from high school. While working at Target, he attended Bellevue
Community College for a couple of years. He then began working at the
Issaquah Costco warehouse in the bakery. Joe excelled in the bakery at
Costco and at a young age was promoted to a supervisor and then was
offered an opportunity to become the Bakery Manager at the Everett
Costco. 

I met Joe through his group of high school friends while he was still a supervisor in the Issaquah warehouse, I went to Seattle University with his friend Tim and his friend Ricky who dated a close
friend of mine. 

I remember being so impressed by Joe’s dedication to and appreciation for his job. He was one of the hardest workers I had ever seen. Joe put blood, sweat, and tears into the Everett Costco bakery that was in sad shape when he first got there. He put in crazy hours, even working some 24 hour shifts to make sure all orders were processed on time and employees received their time off requests and requested schedules. He maintained that position for two years but stepped down right after we got married, to adjust to life in the town-home we had just purchased in the summer of 2008 in Kirkland, and to life with our two new dogs, Tyson the English Bulldog and Colt the Doberman.

We love our dogs so much that Joe and I decided to start a dog walking
service called K9 Boot Camp a couple of years ago. We took groups of
dogs to the off-leash park before going to work in the mornings. It was
very fun during sunny months, and it was a great time for our own dogs.

However most of the mornings were snowy or rainy as is typical for this area, but Joe went out anyway, regardless of the weather and never complained. He showed the same appreciation and drive for this new endeavor as he does for any other. 

Joe recently decided he wanted to seek out promotions within Costco for supervisory and management positions that will again require longer days, so we closed our dog walking service. and he has begun interviewing for new opportunities. He is two months away from his ten year anniversary at Costco!

In his spare time, Joe stays active by playing on soccer and
basketball teams with his friends. He jogs regularly with our Doberman, Colt and our newest edition our Doberman puppy, Whiskey. Joe spends lots of time with his English Bulldog. Tyson, who loves riding in the car, meeting new people, playing with other dogs, NOT exercising and most of all being near Joe! 

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Joe loves spending time with family and I love this about him because I do too! We have season tickets to the Seattle Sounders with his parents so we look forward to seeing them at each soccer game. His parents, Jim and Kim, live close by in Renton and his sister,Tiffany and her husband Travis live in Bonney Lake with their two English Bulldogs. Max and Bentley. 

He enjoys fishing with his dad and his Grandpa Jim, and visiting his Grandpa Jim and Grandma Irene in Oregon when he has time off from work. 

Joe often drives me to work so he can stop by and visit my parents and my sister, Josie. We have Josie on frequent overnights. Joe and my brother Neil take the dogs on lots of fun hikes, and my sister Elizabeth and her husband Sean have gotten us all hooked on game nights.

Joe is such a great husband and best friend! He is funny, thoughtful, friendly, outgoing, adventurous, and so generous. He is always thinking of ways to help people he cares about whether it is mowing the lawn for either of our parents, helping people with home-improvement projects, surprising me by cleaning our house before I get home from work, or offering people rides anywhere! 

Our next adventure is our trip to Maui this July for Joe’s friend Tim’s wedding. He works so hard – I am really happy we get to take a break for this special vacation!”

Same here. Gretchen is no stranger to hard work herself, let me tell you!  I hope they both get to bask for days in the Hawaiian fun and sunshine with their friends. 

Come to think of it, though, whenever Joe Stark shows up anywhere, there’s plenty of fun and sunshine to go around. He makes the world seem like a nicer place.

Happy 29th birthday, Joe!  But in regard to your trip to Maui this month, and to my urging that you and Gretchen start taking ballroom dance classes, I have to inform you that doing the hula is definitely NOT what I had in mind.

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One Response to 303. The Man for All Seasons

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Happy birthday to Joe! I am so happy that you are a part of our family! You are such a fun, friendly, and thoughtful person. You are so hard working and have such a positive attitude. You and Gretchen are an amazing couple, and I love and admire you both! Can’t wait for another game night soon and let’s plan a river float too! 🙂

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