Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, December 31, 2010

Joe Gutenkauf stricken

Longtime Plainfield Democratic and community activist Joe Gutenkauf suffered a stroke on Wednesday, December 22, says his wife Dottie in a recently received email.

Rushed to Somerset Medical Center by ambulance, his condition was stabilized and he was subsequently transferred to the hospital's Neurology unit this past Friday.

Dottie reports that he will be getting physical therapy and will probably have to go into a rehab setting for a while before being able to come home.

I have known and worked with both Joe and Dottie for many years.

They are both activists of the first water, having invested themselves tirelessly over the years in every important community issue -- from the first elections for school board to the struggle to stop expansion of the Abbott Nursing Home in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District to the closing of Muhlenberg Hospital.

While we have not always seen eye to eye over local Democratic internal politics, there is no denying the Gutenkauf's commitment, and when larger issues are at stake, they have been willing to take a stand on principle (I am thinking particularly of the support for Maryanne Connolly's 2000 run for U.S. Congress, where they differed publicly from Union County Dem Chair Charlotte DeFilippo).

In her most recent foray at the mike, concerning Mayor Robinson-Briggs' unsuccessful attempt to fire City Administrator Bibi Taylor, Dottie trenchantly remarked that professionals don't need to like each other to work together, and then cracked the audience up with her sly comparison to hers and Joe's marriage, saying that after 47 years of married life they occasionally had their disagreements, but that they certainly never would consider divorce. Everyone enjoyed a hearty laugh.

As Dottie points out, 2010 has been a difficult year for Joe. I wish them both well, and especially a speedy recovery and return home for Joe.

You may send notes of encouragement and get well wishes to both Joe and Dottie --

Josef & Dottie Gutenkauf
414 Randolph Road
Plainfield, NJ 07060
or by email to Dottie at

I am sure they will be most welcome.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Dottie Gutenkauf said...

Dan, thank you. I've gotten a lot of calls and emails from people we know, and from some we don't know but hope to. Joe is doing well and I know a lot of thoughts and prayers are with him. He's still at Somerset.

And Happy New Year to all!