Cover photo for Joseph Ensenberger's Obituary
1927 Joseph 2024

Joseph Ensenberger

December 16, 1927 — February 11, 2024

Joseph Ensenberger, 96, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, died peacefully at home on February 11, 2024. Born December 16, 1927 in Bloomington, Illinois, Joseph Paul Ensenberger was the first of four children to parents Henry Joseph Ensenberger and Irma Lucille (Litmer) Ensenberger. He was known by family and friends as “Joe.” Raised in a close-knit and devout Catholic family, he attended St. Mary’s Grade School and Trinity High School in Bloomington. With his parents’ consent, Joe enlisted in the United States Navy in 1945 as a 17-year-old high school senior and spent most of his stint at the naval station at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After his Honorable Discharge, Joe returned to Illinois to attend St. Bede’s College (Peru, Illinois) and then Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, where he studied Business Administration and Commercial Art. After college, Joe went to work full time in the family business, G.A. Ensenberger & Sons, a retail furniture store founded in Bloomington by his German-immigrant grandfather in 1879. He learned the furniture business from the ground up, working alongside his father and uncles at almost every position at the store: warehouse, delivery, elevator operator, salesman, furniture buyer and, eventually, President of the family business. It was also at the family business where he met his future wife, Bonita (Jordan) Ensenberger. They were married on February 5, 1951, in a small ceremony at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bloomington. Together, Joe and Bonita provided a loving home in which they raised their five children. Along the way, they hosted many memorable dinner parties and gatherings for family and friends. Among Joe’s outside interests was a lifelong love of tennis. He played on Illinois Wesleyan University’s tennis team, and later won the Bloomington city championship men’s singles title when he was in his 20s. Also, as a child he became deeply interested in railroading, specifically enamored with steam locomotives. He was a member of the Central Illinois Railroad Club, and never missed an opportunity to take a train ride, his preferred mode of transportation. He was instrumental in bringing a retired steam locomotive, the Nickle Plate Railroad’s Engine 639 that serviced the line through Bloomington, to its’ final resting place at Miller Park in Bloomington. Joe had a tremendous love for nature and the outdoors, which dovetailed nicely with his passion for photography. The mountains of the American West held a strong attraction for him, especially the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo ranges. After many family vacations exploring western states, Joe and Bonita decided it was time to move closer to the mountains, and in 1977 sold their interests in the family business and moved to Albuquerque to start a new life together. Once he relocated, he joined the spiritual family at The Shrine of St. Bernadette in Albuquerque. He landed a job at the Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments (COG) in 1978, overseeing grant applications for infrastructure projects and working as COG’s unofficial photographer, documenting construction projects and supplying photographs for COG’s annual reports, publications and wall calendars. He retired from COG in 1998 so he could spend more time exploring the mountains in all seasons, armed with his camera and tripod. For many years, Joe was legendary for his beautiful custom-made holiday greeting cards that he and Bonita mailed to family and friends at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Joe is survived by Bonita, his wife of 73 years; also surviving are sons Chris Ensenberger (Elaine) of Whitesboro, Texas; Peter Ensenberger (Kim) of Tempe, Arizona; and daughter Sarah Ensenberger of Mesa, Arizona. He is also survived by eight grandchildren; Matt Ensenberger, Marty Ensenberger, Sara O’Neal, Erin Ensenberger, Clarissa McCarthy, Megan Lacina, Dan Ensenberger, Jessi Corcoran; and fourteen great-grandchildren. Joe was preceded in death by his parents; his two sisters, Elizabeth Moore and Mary Costigan; his brother Jack; his daughter Julie Ensenberger; and his son Tony Ensenberger.

in lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Shrine of St. Bernadette. 

To send flowers to the family in memory of Joseph Ensenberger, please visit our flower store.

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Rosary

Thursday, February 22, 2024

9:30 - 10:00 am (Mountain time)

The Shrine of St. Bernadette Catholic Church

11401 Indian School Road Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87112

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Thursday, February 22, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

The Shrine of St. Bernadette Catholic Church

11401 Indian School Road Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87112

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