In Memoriam: Cecil Thomas Jose, PhD

November 17, 2023 By Melodie Little

EWU is saddened to report that Cecil Thomas Jose, PhD, who taught Native American Studies and Urban and Rural Planning until he retired in 1998, passed away on Nov. 10, 2023. On behalf of the university’s faculty and staff, we extend our condolences to his loved ones and our gratitude for his service to students and the community.

Here is Cecil Thomas Jose’s obituary:

Cecil Thomas Jose (79) resident of Plummer, ID passed away at the Schneidmiller Hospice House on November 10, 2023.  He was born to Fred and Roberta (Moffett) Jose on January 27, 1944, in Long Beach, CA.  Cecil grew up in Lapwai, ID and was very active in youth sports influenced by his father participating in baseball, specifically American Legion in Lewiston.  Cecil graduated from Lapwai High School with the class of 1962.

Following high school, Cecil enrolled at the College of Idaho in Caldwell where he earned dual BA degrees in Psychology and Sociology.  He then enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served in Germany and was able to utilize his degrees working in mental hygiene.  After serving 2 years, Cecil was honorably discharged, and he returned to Lapwai. Cecil worked for the Department of Labor in their unemployment division, he then went to work for the Nez Perce Tribe in Administration.

Through a mutual friend, Cecil met the love of his life Margaret Mahoney. The couple were married by Cecil’s uncle on January 9, 1971, in Lapwai.  The couple had many years of adventures and experiences. Cecil applied for a job at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, OR where he served as the Director of their Indian Program. After 3 years in Oregon, the couple moved to Cheney, WA where Cecil attended and earned his MA Degree and worked their Desegregation Program.  As always with love, support, and Margaret by his side, the couple moved to Pullman, WA where Cecil worked for WSU while earning his PHD. Once he had his PHD, he then went to University of Washington where he taught in Public Affairs and their Native American Program.  After 2 years in Seattle, the couple wanted a change moving to Plummer, ID and Cecil went to work for Eastern Washington University in Cheney where he taught Native American Studies and Urban and Rural Planning until he retired in 1998.

Cecil enjoyed serving on various committees and boards, but he was also passionate about serving as Chairman of The Sovereignty Committee for ATNI.  He also attended the Unity of Spokane Church.  He was also very proud of the fact he participated in Bloomsday for 30 years; even participating in one of the races in slippers as he forgot his shoes.  When his one and only granddaughter was born, she had Cecil wrapped around her finger and he enjoyed doting on her, taking trips to the KROC Center for preschool often having lunch dates at Mulligans or McDonalds.  He instilled knowledge in her by teaching and investing most of his time and a lot of his love.

Cecil is survived by his wife Margaret at their home in Plummer; daughter Rosina (Wes) Carpenter of Plummer, ID; brother Fredbert Jose of Tacoma, WA; 1 granddaughter; numerous nieces and nephews.  He is preceded in death by his parents and his sister Freda Montelongo.