John Alan Schoonbeck (also spelled Schoonbeek), 78, of Poughkeepsie NY, passed away August 13, 2022 from Alzheimer’s disease. He was the son of Bernard Earl and Marion Schoonbeck of Grand Rapids, MI. He leaves behind his partner Jorge Santos and his family of Poughkeepsie, his son Nicholas Schoonbeck, granddaughter Sage Profita-Schoonbeck and her family of New Paltz. He also leaves his sister Leslie and husband Charles Johnson, nephews Travis Johnson and Darren Johnson and his family of Florida, and brother Philip Schoonbeck and his family of Grand Rapids, MI, along with an extensive network of many friends.
He was born in 1943 in Grand Rapids, MI and graduated from Richardson High School in Dallas, TX. John attended the University of Colorado, where he learned to speak Chinese and became a mountain climber and climbing in Switzerland as well. He also attended University of Kansas and University of Michigan. In 1976 John received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Union Institute and University. As a conscientious objector, John served by doing alternative duty of two years in civilian service.
John worked at Time Magazine in New York where he reported on the Stonewall Rebellion and the death of Walter Vandermeer. He worked at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York State Department of Mental Hygiene focusing on Crisis Intervention and Family Therapy. He then worked at Vassar College as a Psychological Counselor, Director of Blegen Center for Study of Social Change (Blegen House), and Assistant Director Office of Campus Life retiring in 2007. John was a member of the American Association of Social Psychiatry where one of his presentations was at the Ninth World Congress of Social Psychiatry in Paris, France.
He owned and performed in a one-ring traveling tent circus for 8 years which he named The Friendly Brothers Circus. He could play any instrument, but was partial to accordion in all genres. Being a writer all his life, he published many stories and articles, a contributor to books on Family Therapy, co-authored the book Crisis – A Handbook For Systemic Intervention with Jane Ferber, MD, plus two other books. He loved to travel and many of his adventures are written about in his book Twenty Odd Tales to which his son Nicholas, a talented artist, contributed drawings.
Nov. 5,1998 was officially proclaimed *John Schoonbeck Day* in the city of Poughkeepsie by the Mayor for his outstanding job running the “highly successful” farmers market. He enjoyed pioneering new methods of gardening on the rooftop of an old building that he renovated with his partner and started his own business Northside Grower’s Exchange. John built several boats and enjoyed sharing this passion with his granddaughter Sage and had many eventful voyages. He planned to one day sail down the east coast to Florida to live and resume his boatbuilding. He also built houses by hand in various places over the years that he lived in.
John is a member of the Religious Society of Friends and he truly lived his entire life in the light and spirit as a Quaker. His generosity in all ways was uppermost in all his considerations. He is buried at the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery, Poughkeepsie, NY.
There will be a Celebration of Life at the Poughkeepsie Friends Meeting at the Oakwood Friends School, 22 Spackenkill Rd., Poughkeepsie, NY on Sept. 17, 2022 at 2 pm.
For details on virtual attendance and information regarding donations, please visit www.johnschoonbeck.com