Joseph Hubert Franssen, husband, brother, father and Opa, passed peacefully and began his journey to eternal life and join his waiting wife in Heaven on December 1, 2023, with his family at his side.
Joe was born in Kerkrade in the south of Limberg, the southernmost Province in the Netherlands on April 4, 1929. He was the second child of seven in the family. Following the struggles of World War II and upon completion of his education in Construction in the Netherlands, Joe and his younger brother Frank left the Netherlands seeking opportunity in Australia. In Australia he worked on Hydroelectric Dam projects and happened to meet a beautiful Dutch immigrant named Elisa at a dance celebrating the Queen of Holland. Elisa became the love of his life, and they were married in 1958. After their wedding, Joseph took his new Bride on another journey across the Pacific Ocean in search of the American Dream. With only two suitcases and an unknown destination they settled in Seattle, Washington.
Living in a small RV, saving, and working, Joe was able to build his first home in Bothell, WA. Then came the three boys, Peter, Carl, and Michael. In 1970, Joe found an opportunity in a little motel in Oak Harbor, WA and transformed it into the Auld Holland Inn. He built a four-story windmill to celebrate his Dutch heritage and it became the gateway into Oak Harbor. Joe joined with his brother Frank to do many construction projects and they held a very close relationship throughout their life. Joe was an extremely talented artist and was affectionately known as the “dreamer”. Joe definitely marched to his own drum and in pursuit of his dreams he would not let anyone, or anything, get in his way. While operating the Motel and among the many homes he built, his greatest dream was to give the Oak Harbor community a fine dining restaurant and banquet facility.
In 1984 that dream became reality with his opening of the Kasteel Franssen Restaurant, the Kasteel truly was the place to be for all special occasions and the venue for many weddings. Joe worked tirelessly but always found a way to look out for those in need and his generosity was felt by many. Joe made many trips back to Holland where he still has a brother, Paul and sister, Clementine. After the passing of his wife Elisa of 52 years Joe spent extended time in Holland with old friends and in Mexico with his brother Leon. Joe was locally involved in Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Dutch Dancers, and St Augustine’s Catholic Church. We would like to give special thanks for the wonderful care given to Joe by Josee Fraser, Dr. Schite, and Harbor Tower Village, Village Concepts of Oak Harbor.
Joe is preceded in passing by his wife Elisa, brother Willy and sister Gerthie. In loving memory Joe is survived by; brother Frans Franssen and wife Monique, brother Leon, sister Clementine and husband Klaus, brother Paul, his sons Peter and wife Kimberly, Carl and wife Monica, Michael and wife Celeste, his grandchildren Peter, Faith and husband Scotty Sunitsch, Alicia, Elisa, Megan, Andrew, Caleb, Christoph, Sara, Gena and husband Sam Gullette, McCala and husband Matt Walters, and his great
grandchildren, Lily, Olivia, Wyatt, Beau, Evie and Aurora. We will miss all the challenges he presented but we will hold his memory in our hearts forever. We love you. Rest in peace.
A memorial service will be held to honor Joseph Franssen on Friday February 2nd, 2024 at St Augustine’s Catholic Church at 11:00am with a celebration of life following at The Mill at the Kasteel.