We fondly remember Joe Soehnel who tirelessly and joyfully promoted and educated the birding community about the birds of the Saginaw Bay region through efforts such as this website among many others.
++ Obituary of Joseph Michael Soehnel ++
Joseph Michael Soehnel, 64, of Essexville, our positive, selfless, caring, easy-going, and most generous husband, father, brother, uncle, and friend went home to be with the Lord on the morning of Saturday, April 21, 2018 at University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. Joe was born in Gladwin on October 16, 1953, the son of the late Joseph Willard and Elizabeth (Slabic) Soehnel. Little did Joe know, while working in the I.T. department at the Department of Human Services, where he spent 35 years, he would meet his wife, Barbara Handy. After their second date, Joe knew he was destined to marry Barb. They were united in marriage on February 10, 1978, exactly five months from the day of their first date. Their forty years were blessed with two children and countless memories. Always one to stick to the positive side and see the glass half full, Joe will forever be remembered for his fun and adventurous personality. In his younger years, Joe enjoyed running, especially in the St. Patrick’s Day race, swimming laps, and keeping meticulous records of those laps. He was devoted to birding and maintained the Saginaw Bay Area Birding and Birding Trail website and was a former volunteer for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. Joe leaves to cherish his memory, his loving wife and soulmate, Barbara Handy and their two children, Grant Handy Soehnel and his wife, Melissa and Reed Handy Soehnel. Also surviving are his siblings, Patricia Soehnel, Anthony (Karen) Soehnel, June Soehnel, Marie (Larry) Klamer, Anna (Bill) Harper, along with many in-laws, nieces, nephews, and many friends. In addition to his parents, Joe was welcomed home to heaven by his infant son, Aaron Handy Soehnel and siblings, Theresa Kozak, Francis Soehnel, and Chester Soehnel.
The Saginaw Bay Area (SBA) is comprised of seven counties surrounding and near to the Saginaw Bay: Iosco; Arenac; Bay; Midland; Saginaw; Tuscola, and Huron. The Saginaw Bay watershed is the largest contiguous freshwater coastal wetland system in the United States. This is a critical migratory stopover for over 250 bird species of which over 200 species remain to establish nesting territories in this habitat rich and diverse region.
We hope that you'll continue to utilize this valuable natural resource right in our midst. If you've never visited, take the time to experience the Saginaw Bay Area's nature/birding opportunities via this website and the newly established Saginaw Bay Birding Trail!
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