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Joseph Andre Jonas, 74

| December 13, 2010 1:14 PM

Joseph Andre Jonas, 74, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, surrounded by his family. He was born on June 10, 1936, in Marseille, France, to Gabriel and Shalem (Shoumoun) Jonas and lived there with his parents and nine siblings during World War II.

His favorite childhood memories included drawing, painting with paints he made with natural materials, climbing trees and running around the neighborhood.

At age 14, he came to the U.S. by himself and settled with his older siblings in Chicago. Eventually the whole Jonas family came and settled in Spokane, where he helped support his family by working in the commercial arts field. He married and had three children; Aaron, wife Jennifer and granddaughter Alden, Zyah and Mia, who now live in Houston.

Joe put himself through college and received his Masters in Art and French. He began his career as an educator by teaching high school, and soon became a college art instructor at North Idaho College where he founded the Commercial Art Program in 1977. He taught at NIC for more than 20 years until health problems forced him to retire in 1998.

He continued his painting and sculptures, many of which can be seen at the NIC campus, Hayden Lake Country Club, Painter's Chair Gallery, the Shriners Hospital in Spokane and in the entrance to The Coeur d'Alene Resort. He received many artists' distinctions, including the Mayors Award for the Arts in 1996 and a nomination for the Governors Award in the Arts.

Joe married Patricia Kelly in 1979 and had two children, Jared and wife Naomi of Seattle and Shalem of Chicago. They enjoyed spending their summers hiking and camping all over the Olympic National Park in Washington.

Joe loved nature, photography, cutting wood, his violin, making Christmas cards, going to his cabin in the woods and by the ocean, and feeding people lots of food.

Other survivors include brothers George Jonas of Spokane and William Jonas of Athol; sisters Marie Giordanetta and Germaine Bruce of Spokane, Georgette Ellis of Coeur d'Alene and Jeanette Bieze and Elise Jonas of Wauconda, Ill.; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, John and Robert Jonas.

The celebration of Joe's life will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010, in Boswell Hall, room 102 on the NIC campus, with Yates Funeral Home in care of the arrangements.

The family prefers memorial contributions to the Joe Jonas Scholarship Fund, c/o NIC Foundation, 1000 W. Garden Ave., Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814.

Please visit Joe's online memorial and sign his guest book at www.yatesfuneralhomes.com.

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