Born in Spokane to pioneer settlers, Joe Tewinkel attended Bancroft Elementary School and North Central H.S., graduating in June 1919. As a student at N.C., he was active in journalism, debate, and oratory.
After graduating from N.C., Tewinkel received a degree from Whitman College. He later did graduate work at the University of Washington, the University of Southern California, and Oxford University in England. His teaching career began in 1923 at Hillyard H.S., after which he taught English and debate at Lewis and Clark H.S.
Tewinkel then served as a journalism instructor at Washington State University in 1926-27. Returning to Spokane, he was the English Department head at Hillyard H.S. and its successor, Rogers H.S., until 1940. From 1942-46 he was head of the public relations department for Spokane Public Schools. When Frederic Kennedy retired in 1946, Joe Tewinkel became North Central’s fifth principal and only N.C. graduate to return to his alma mater as principal.
He led the school for 13 years through the most teeming period of its history. N.C. was bursting at the seams in those pre-Shadle days. Spirit was high at the school during Tewinkel’s tenure, with the boys basketball team winning the state championship in 1948. He retired in 1959, just two years after Shadle Park H.S. opened to relieve the overcrowding at N.C.
In retirement, Tewinkel remained active in the Spokane community. A 1974 Community Service Award he received from Whitworth College cited him for his more than 50 years in education and community affairs: “Joseph M. Tewinkel has greatly enhanced the quality of life in the Spokane community and has contributed immeasurably to the cause of education.”
His long list of community service in Spokane included helping establish Toastmaster Clubs, active membership in Spokane Central Lions Club, on the board of trustees of Union Gospel Mission, active in Spokane Civic Theatre, and a charter member of the Spokane Zoological Society. He was also a founding member of the Spokane Exchange Commission and a key member of the Expo ’74 board.
Joseph M. Tewinkel passed away in 1984 at the age of 82.
Reader Comment: Both of his children, Joe Jr., Class of 1951, and C Gary, Class of 1957, graduated from North Central and were life long educators, as well. Of his five grandchildren, three have had careers in education. His sister, Ruth, also a North Central grad was a teacher, too. He built a legacy of education at work and at home. — Julie (Tewinkel) Sharpe (March 2017)