Joseph Huston Alsup was born and raised in Lebanon, Tenn., the fourth child of Harry and Mary Lou Lannom Alsup. He was the baby of the family and a famous child-star in Varallo’s Chili TV commercials.
He was predeceased by his brother Loyne, sister Jane and nephew Clayton. He is survived by his sister Julia, sister-in-law Karen and niece Alexis Alsup.
Joe graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, where he swam and marched to the beat of a different drum. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1975, with a degree in education and a minor in deaf education. He taught science and coached the swim team at the Tennessee School for the Deaf in Knoxville.
He received a Masters of Education at the University of Oregon and then served as assistant principal at South Eugene and principal at Crest Drive Elementary (his pride and joy). He finished his career as principal of Edison Elementary.
A traveling man, he made an annual trip home to Tennessee. He attended Jazz Fest in New Orleans, La. several times. During college, he spent a year in Australia and always wanted to return. Another highlight was a trip to Japan chaperoning a school group, where he enthusiastically embraced Japanese culture.
Joe’s warmth and grace epitomized Southern hospitality. The Bishop’s hat was his favorite napkin fold; fried chicken his specialty. He was deeply insulted by any offers to help and sent everyone home with at least one heaping dinner plate of leftovers.
He also believed he made the best turkey tetrazzini in the world (most people hoped fried chicken would be the entree). And he did win “Best Barbeque Sauce” at least twice at Eugene’s Juneteenth celebration. He had a million friends, was a proud gay man, loved the Ducks, liked to bicycle, ski, whitewater raft and throw a good party. He loved his dog Chuck, his splendid garden and his cozy home.
He served on the Eugene Police Commission and several nonprofit boards. He had a great, quirky sense of humor, contagious exuberance, was witty, charming, handsome, funny and stubborn as they come. We miss him. Joe’s last years were spent in the extraordinary care of the staff at Elderhealth and Living in Springfield.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to CAHOOTS, through White Bird Clinic.