The alternative dispute resolution (ADR) community bids farewell to one of its special envoys of peace.
‘Joe Edward Bontke, known lovingly as Pop to his grandchildren, and Santa every Christmas, passed away at his home in the early morning hours of October 9, 2019. () Joe was a lifelong champion of equal rights for the disabled, working extensively as an advocate for promoting the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2002, Joe became the outreach coordinator and ombudsman for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a position where he fought for equal pay for women, immigrant rights, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, race equity, LGBTQ rights, and civility for all. Joe was a civil rights advocate and gifted public speaker. He traveled around Texas and the United States educating employers and human resource professionals on protecting equal rights in the workplace. Joe's catchphrase, amongst others, was "I'm from the government, I'm here to help."’ (The Houston Chronicle, October 2019)
This is the obituary for Manousso Mediation lecturer, Joe Bontke from the EEOC. He died of a massive heart attack on Wednesday, October 9th.
Joe gave a wonderful lecture about cultural diversity and sameness, relating to conflict in the workplace. He was guest lecturer for over nine years at the University of St. Thomas in Global Conflict Management, taught by Dr. Barbara Sunderland Manousso and Professor Melissa Back McAlpine, and he taught for many more years than that at Manousso Mediation and Arbitration LLC in their Basic Mediation training. He was a former board member of the Association for Conflict Resolution Houston Chapter and a regular lecturer at the Texas Association for Mediation (TAM).
Joe's passing is a heartfelt loss to everyone. May his memory be eternal.