Joseph Speetjen’s Obituary (1928-2021) – Greensboro, NC

Speetjens, Joseph “Joe” T.

November 29, 1928 – July 18, 2021

Joe Speetjens died on July 18th at the age of 92. He was born on November 29, 1928 in Goirle, the Netherlands, to Karel T. Speetjens and Petronella de Roy Speetjens.

Joe immigrated to the United States on November 16, 1952 and became a US citizen on November 16, 1958. He trained as a textile engineer in Holland and earned a Master of Management degree from the Hartford Graduate Center of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Joe and Vivian Oddone married on December 28, 1957. He leaves Vivian and their four children Joseph T. Speetjens, Jr. (Amy Lavin), Felicia Speetjens (Tim Hayes), John T. Speetjens (Tammie Davis) and Karla Speetjens Houston ( GP Houston) and four grandchildren: Tanner, Sydney, Connor and JT as well as countless nieces and nephews in Holland and the USA. In death he was preceded by his brother Frank Speetjens and his sister Fieke Speetjens-Smulders.

Before moving to the United States, Joe served 21 months in the Royal Dutch Navy during the Korean War. For most of his professional career, he led the engineering division of the Torrington Company’s Needles Division in Torrington, CT. Joe moved to Exeltor, Inc. in Greensboro in 1980, where he specialized in solving problems in the knitting industry and improving the design and quality of knitting machine needles. He has been granted four US patents for his innovative work in his field.

A man of many interests and a lifelong learner, Joe enjoyed playing bridge, gardening, classical music, opera, travel, science, playing the beach, and most importantly, spending time with his wife and family. He was an avid reader in several languages. He spoke Dutch, German, and French as he grew up, learned English when he immigrated to the United States, and became Spanish in his 70s. In the mid-1980s, he began designing and manufacturing personalized hook rugs. A versatile athlete, Joe enjoyed many competitive and recreational sports, including hockey, sailing, soccer, tennis, cycling, swimming, and golf.

Joe was a past president of Greensboro Super Seniors and later a co-founder of the Pleasant Ridge Senior Golf Association. He was an active member and volunteer of his church throughout his life and held several officer positions with the Jaycees in Torrington, CT.

On Wednesday, July 21, 2021 at 10 a.m. there will be a memorial mass in the Catholic Church of St. Benedict followed by a burial in the Forest Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a charitable donation to St. Benedict Catholic Church at 109 W. Smith St., Greensboro, NC 27401.

Online condolences can be found at

Published by Greensboro News & Record on July 20, 2021.

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