• In Memory Of


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Joseph W. Altenhofen

Seneca, Kansas

03/20/1932 - 02/17/2023

Joseph (Joe) W. Altenhofen, 90, of Seneca, died on February 17, 2023, at the Nemaha Valley Community Hospital in Seneca.

Joseph (Joe) W. Altenhofen, born on March 20, 1932, at home of William P. & Elizabeth Gudenkauf-Altenhofen in Seneca, KS.  Joe was the youngest of 6 children.  Joe lived in Seneca, KS and attended Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School (SPPS).  While attending high school, in 1948 his parents moved to Kansas City, KS for work.  Joe was able to stay with his sister Rita and brother-in-law Fritz, to continue school at SPPS and graduate from high school in 1950. During high school Joe worked for Seneca Florist, Mealy’s Grocery Store, and Hoffman Station.  After high school graduation, Joe moved to K.C., KS to live with his parents and took a position in the parts department at Andy Klein’s Pontiac, Overland Park, KS.

On August 16, 1952, he married his High School sweetheart, Betty (Elizabeth) Rettele.  The two were married in the Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Seneca, KS.  The newlywed couple decided to live and work in Kansas City, MO until January of 1953, when Joe was called to serve during the Korean War with the United States Army.  His first assignment was at Camp Roberts in California.  He remained there until June 1953 when he was deployed overseas.  Joe served as a Company Clerk with rank of Corporal until December 1954.  On December 24, 1954, after he was discharged from the military, he arrived back in Seneca, KS.  Upon his arrival Joe met his first-born child (a son), for the first time, on Christmas eve.  After his return, Joe and Betty decided to work and raise their family in Seneca, KS.

Joe became employed by Cooksey Auto Parts, Seneca, KS. While employed there, in 1958 on a Saturday afternoon, it was discovered the west wall of the store was cracking.  The following Sunday morning the paper boy threw the newspaper to the above apartment and before he got across the street the building fell in.  It was a shock when Joe received the call.  Thank GOD there was no one home in the apartment.  The store closed and moved to the Usher Building.  In 1969, Cooksey Auto Parts was sold, and Joe went to work for the Gleason Chevrolet Parts Department.  After one year with Gleason, Joe became an agent for 15 years for the Skelly Oil Co. which later became the Altenhofen Oil Company.  Joe delivered bulk gas to numerous farming families in the community until 1985 when he sold the business and became a licensed insurance agent for Farmers Insurance Group.  He retired in 1999 but remained an agent with Fankhauser Ins. Co. for a few more years.  In February 1998, Joe and Betty decided to start managing the Seneca Peppertree Sugar Apartments in Seneca, KS, and several years later took over managing the Sugartree Apartments in Marysville, KS.  They continued to manage the apartments until retiring in October, 2015.

The Joe and Betty Altenhofen family were active members of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. Joe was a member of the St. Joseph’s Society. He volunteered for different parish position, such as, counting the 1st Sunday of each month collections, training new Mass servers, teaching High School CCD, taking communion to the homebound, assisting with the annual church picnic, and volunteering his time with many different parish building projects.

Joe was voted to be a member of the Seneca Volunteer Fire Department in January 1961. Joe served a total of 20 years with the Seneca Fire Department (10 of his 20 years as the Fire Chief and in various other leadership roles).  He assisted with restoring the 1922 Stutz Firetruck.  After retirement he continued to be a mentor to new firemen.

Joe was a Life member of the American Legion and served as Adjutant.  He was a VFW member helping with bingo and volunteering for15 years to attend and read the Military Honors for funeral services. He spent 40 years serving the Boy Scouts and serving on the Eagle Scout Board. He was a member of the Rod & Gun Club, Seneca Square Dance Club, Moose Club, Lions Club, and Silver Haired Legislature.  He served on the Hospital Medical Service Board for nine years and the NEKCAP Board for 12 years. He was a member of the Seneca Travel and Tourism Advisory Council and delivered Meals on Wheels to the community.

In 1992 and 1994, the Altenhofen family hosted a high school exchange student, Frank Luzsicza was from Yugoslavia.  Frank returned to attend college, become an American citizen, and marry Amanda.  Amanda and Frank have a son Chandler.  Frank and family continue to be part of the Altenhofen family.

Joe with his wife enjoyed watching their family grow up, hosting family gatherings, having grandchildren spend time with them, and traveling to see family and friends and for leisure. The travel allowed them to visit 49 of the 50 states – (all but Hawaii because there is no highway to get there), Mexico, and Canada.

Joe is survived by his wife Betty of 70 years, five sons, and one daughter: Craig (Bernie)- Seneca, KS, Bill (Marilee)-Kansas City, MO, Boyd (Donna)-Seneca, KS; Dean (Mary)-Westmoreland, KS; Lisbeth (John)-Lenexa, KS; Chris (Renae)-Leawood, KS; 10 grandsons and 1 step grandson, 8 granddaughters, 14 great grandson, 2 step great grandsons,12 great granddaughters and new great grandchildren on the way; Joe’s sister, Anita and her husband Francis Wichman and many wonderful nieces and nephews.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Cyril Altenhofen and Donald Altenhofen; sisters, Wilhelmina Masters, Rita Holthaus; and granddaughter, Angela M Altenhofen.

A rosary will be prayed at 10:30 Friday, February 24, 2023, prior to the Mass of Christian Burial which will be at 11:00 AM Friday, at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Seneca.

Full military honors were provided by the Seneca Memorial Post #7458 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Earl W. Taylor Post #21. A flag line was provided by the American Legion Riders Post #21.

Memorials may be left in Joe’s s memory to Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Seneca, KS, Nemaha Valley Community Hospital Building Fund, Seneca, KS and Seneca Fire Department Stutz Restoration Fund. To express your sympathy and for more information visit www.lauerfuneralhome.com .


A rosary will be prayed at 10:30 Friday, February 24, 2023, prior to the Mass of Christian Burial which will be at 11:00 AM Friday, at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Seneca.

A rosary will be prayed at 10:30 Friday, February 24, 2023, prior to the Mass of Christian Burial which will be at 11:00 AM Friday, at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Seneca.

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  1. Jim and Vivian ( Gudenkauf) Martin on February 19, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    Sorry to hear of the loss of your loved one. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Praying that God will give you comfort and peace during your time of sorrow.

    • Betty on February 19, 2023 at 8:05 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

  2. Joan akin on February 19, 2023 at 4:41 pm

    Betty and family . You are in my thoughts and prayers . He was an amazing man. I really enjoyed our visits . Take care

    • Greg Hulsing on February 19, 2023 at 5:36 pm

      RIP good friend..prayers 2 all the families

      • Bruce & Margaret Schulte on February 19, 2023 at 8:32 pm

        We send our deepest sympathy. Joe was such a special man who lived life to the fullest. My Dad, Max Kokenge, had a great friendship with Joe. May God bless hm and his family. Sending lots of hugs!
        Margaret and Bruce Schulte

    • Betty on February 19, 2023 at 8:06 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

      • Betty on February 19, 2023 at 8:06 pm

        Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

      • Terry Osterhaus on February 20, 2023 at 9:28 am

        Dear Aunt Betty, and family.
        You have a good and gentle man looking over you all. May he RIP.
        Love and hugs to all of you.
        Terry & Cheryl

    • Betty & family on February 19, 2023 at 8:09 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

    • Betty & family on February 22, 2023 at 12:11 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts.

  3. Betty & family on February 19, 2023 at 8:09 pm

    Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

  4. Morgan Rettele on February 20, 2023 at 8:32 am

    Dearest Betty and family,
    To call Joe, “Godfather”, was such an inspiration in and of itself. For you too, “Godmother”, the feeling is mutual. To the dear family, I have always felt like a brother. The house that Joe was born in Seneca, where I visit and stay with the current owner Tim Wagner, is fondly referenced as Joe’s Place. Having a chance to spend a couple hours with you both and Liz last month was a true blessing for both Joyce and I. My heartfelt condolences to you and the entire Altenhofen Clan. My prayers, thoughts and deep love are always with you and the family.

    Your Godson,

    • Betty & family on February 22, 2023 at 8:45 pm

      Thoughts & prayers for your thoughts. Love to you both.

  5. David Clements on February 20, 2023 at 10:28 am

    My deepest sympathy for your loss. His great smile and warm greetings will be greatly missed. Especially enjoyed working with him in the Lion’s Club!

  6. Marlene Geyser on February 20, 2023 at 11:34 am

    Betty and family,

    So sorry for your loss, Joe was a great guy! You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Rose Wilhelm on February 20, 2023 at 12:31 pm

    Sorry for your loss. Prayers for all.

  8. Sister Carolyn Juenemann on February 20, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    Prayers are with you at this time of loss!

    Was Sr. Mary Jude Gudenkauf, CSJ a relative of your family? she was a music teacher at some of our Catholic schools in the Diocese of Salina.

    Sr. Carolyn Juenemann, Salina

  9. JAMES T SCHERER on February 20, 2023 at 1:46 pm

    This is James Scherer, President on NEK-CAP. Joe was a valued member of the Board of Directors of NEK-CAP while I was president. I valued his friendship and counsel. We at NEK-CAP are saddened by the news of his passing. May God provide him eternal rest.

    • Betty & family on February 21, 2023 at 8:36 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts & prayers.

  10. Mary Jane Fleming on February 21, 2023 at 10:52 am

    May all the happy memories you have of your loved one, help ease the pain at this difficult time. Joe’s smile will be missed. He knew no strangers and brought out the good in people. God Bless, prayers. M.J.Fleming

  11. KEN/SOMIA SMITH on February 21, 2023 at 1:09 pm


  12. Kathy Garrison on February 22, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    Condolences to the loved ones of Joseph Altenhofen from Benedictine College. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    • Betty & family on February 22, 2023 at 8:25 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts.

  13. Max Holthaus on February 22, 2023 at 9:43 pm

    I always enjoyed visiting with Joe when I was back in Seneca. He was a great guy who gave of himself to the community. When our mother passed away, he was there for our family with love and support.

  14. Fred and Linda Halvorsen on February 23, 2023 at 8:18 pm

    Linda and I will miss Joe. He was a nice man and a great neighbor. The 7th and Roanoke neighborhood won’t be the same without him.

  15. Beth Buckland on February 23, 2023 at 10:59 pm

    Dear Aunt Betty and family,
    Uncle Joe was a thoughtful, caring man , who always added joy and humor to our visits. He will be remembered fondly .
    May he Rest In Peace. Our love and condolences to each of you. Beth and Buck

  16. Tim O'Keefe on February 25, 2023 at 6:24 pm

    I want to wish the Joe’s entire family the very best in this difficult time. I always appreciated how friendly and engaging Joe was to me and my family. Certainly very sorry to hear about your loss.

  17. Carroll Peppersack on March 1, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    To Betty and all the family, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Joe. To me he was always someone I looked up to. I know he will be Greatly MIssed by all that knew him. Know that I have him and all of you in my prayers.

  18. Barbara Finnigin on March 8, 2023 at 10:08 pm

    to he whole family sorry i could not be at the funeral nor the rosaries Atrue pillar of our city is gone to heaven without a doubt Betty I pray for you every night as well as the rest of the family but you and Joe were so special to me when I worked at the hotel with Craig and Bernie how i miss that job back in the dang hospital again with pneumonia love to all hugs and may joe send many kisses from heaven tonight to rest on your pillows

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