Joseph C. KelloggApril 24, 1926 ~ March 21, 2011 (age 84)
Joseph C. Kellogg, 84, died Monday March 21, 2011. He is survived by his beloved wife, Krishna, his daughters Virginia, Christine, Janet and Karen, his grandchildren Sarah, Rebecca, Miriam, Raychel, Kelly and Max, his step-daughter Bina and granddaughter Daphne, his brother Martin and wife Esther, his sister Christine, brother-in-law Tom and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Joe was born April 24, 1926 to Serine and Joseph Kellogg in St Paul, Minnesota. His father was an engineer working on projects in many US cities and overseas, and the family lived primarily in St Paul, but occasionally lived in other states, including Louisiana and New Jersey, when he was growing up.
Joe attended high school in Westfield, N.J. where he played on the football team along with his buddy Tom, who would later become his brother-in-law. (Although the events that lead to Tom’s marriage to Joe’s sister Hildrud and Joe’s lifelong friendship with Tom happened at the end of the war.) Joe graduated from high school in Westfield, New Jersey and enlisted in the Navy in 1944.
In 1946, after his WWII Naval service in the Pacific, Joe enrolled in Southeastern Louisiana University to play football and study engineering. In 1948 he transferred to the University of Minnesota and earned a degree in Civil Engineering.
Joe began his professional career as a structural engineer with Johnson, Drake and Piper and soon left to join the newly formed Al Johnson Construction Company. While working for Al Johnson, Joe contracted polio in October of 1955. After a strenuous rehabilitation process he was able to continue his work as a civil engineer. At Al Johnson he had a distinguished career engineering dams, bridges and tunnels across the country.
Joe always felt that the highlight of his career at Al Johnson was his role as the Superintendent and Head Engineer for Al Johnson Construction Company’s participation in the construction of the Eisenhower Tunnel. The tunnel involved twin bores through the Continental Divide in the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies. On the project they were confronted with the nearly unsolvable problems of penetrating hard rock during the tunnel construction. As one engineer remarked, “we were going by the book, but the damned mountain couldn’t read”. Important new engineering techniques were developed during the project, such as the special shields required to protect the construction workers during the constant blasting. Engineers today still respectfully acknowledge the advances made in civil engineering during the Eisenhower project.
Following the Eisenhower project, Joe put the insights he gained on his previous projects to good use by starting his own engineering consulting firm. In addition to consulting on traditional engineering projects, the firm offered technical and legal consulting advice to construction companies involved in legal disputes for projects that were running over budget and behind time. His staff of construction engineers and specialists provided data and insights that lead to remuneration to these companies for lost revenue. This was a new approach to dispute resolution that was well received by the industry.
Over the years, the Kellogg Corporation saved time, money, and reputations. The nature of the firm’s work gained the respect of other consultants, law firms and accounting firms, many of whom initiated similar departments in their own operations. The Kellogg Corporation maintained three offices across the country, employing over 100 people dedicated to solving construction problems and resolving disputes. In 1985 the firm was honored for its work with an award from The Beavers, a heavy engineering construction association.
As the success of this new approach to dispute resolution developed, members of Joe’s firm left to form their own firms, some in direct competition with the Kellogg Corporation. Joe harbored no resentment, but helped them succeed. In a few instances, he hired back his former employees who didn’t fare well on their own, with no hesitation. He gave and accepted advice from others, keeping an open mind. Joe strongly believed that one good mind is always enhanced by another. He was an expert, but he knew an expert was always learning.
Joe’s energetic and enterprising manner earned him respect in the construction world. He drew upon his personal experience in engineering to give expert testimony in courtrooms around the nation. He was the epitome of a positive mind and what it can accomplish. He said at one time, “If you have your mind, you have it all. Everything you need.”
Joe had a personal commitment to his industry. He had an unquenchable force of will. He also had a commanding presence. His crutches and his wheelchair never stopped him from having a positive outlook, a thirst for new adventures, and the ability to accomplish more in a day than seemed humanly possible. He traveled all over the country attending meetings and courtroom proceedings. He never gave up and kept his determination acutely attuned to the demands of the day. His sense of humor, his loyalty to his staff and his willingness to travel and do whatever it took helped his business grow successfully.
Joe also had other interests beside the engineering business. He loved jazz music and attended jam sessions, often sitting in the front row. On one occasion in New Orleans at Louis Armstrong’s nightclub, Satchmo asked him to come up and sing for the audience. Joe often spoke of his desire to sing professionally once he retired.
Family was very important to Joe. While married to Henrietta, he raised four daughters – Virginia, Christine, Janet and Karen. He was very proud of his daughters and experienced so much joy while being with them. He especially loved to gather them all together, for family trips or simply to enjoy a meal together, telling stories and laughing about each one’s latest antics. The highlight of these family trips was the trip to Norway with his mother and two of his daughters to visit the family homeland. He was later married to Helen, who was an active partner in the early years building his business. In his later years he met and married Krishna, the love of his life. They were together for over 20 years and spent many happy years traveling together and simply enjoying each other’s company.
He also loved to be surrounded by his grandchildren. He made his children and grandchildren laugh with his love for funny faces, spoonerisms, jokes and spontaneous spirit.
Many joked about Joe’s Norwegian will power, but it was true. As the old saying goes, “He wasn’t stubborn; he was Norwegian.” Over the years, Joe Kellogg’s spirit never faltered, and he will be remembered for the love and sunshine he brought to the hearts of those around him. Joe’s smile was famous. He was positive spirit and energy at its finest, often teaching his family and friends the power of positive thinking through his constant example. During recent months in Denver, bedridden and becoming almost immobile, when asked how he was doing, his answer was always, “I’m doing great. Can’t wait until I can move back home.”
Joe Kellogg was courageous and strong. He brought light to the hearts of those around him every single day.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Rotary International - End Polio.
Funeral Service, Friday, March 25, 2011, 11:00 AM, at Drinkwine Family Mortuary. Private interment at Ft. Logan National Cemetery.