Obituary: Joseph R Cruse |

Obituary: Joseph R Cruse

Joseph R Cruse
Provided Photo
Joseph R Cruse

May 2, 1930 – January 26, 2021

A light turned off on earth – and a new star sparkles in the sky” by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse

Joseph R. Cruse died of natural causes on January 26, 2021 in Colorado at 90 years old. He died in the arms of his wife, Sharon. Joe was born in 1930 in Steamboat Springs, CO. He and Sharon were married in Denver and at various times he lived in Texas, Hawaii, California, Washington DC, Palm Springs, CA. the Black Hills of South Dakota and Las Vegas.

Joe was an OB/GYN and loves to tell stories about how he was honored to assist mothers delivering babies into the world. That path led to serving in the United States Army and he was on staff at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC. In that role, he and Betty Ford created the Betty Ford Treatment Center and Joe became the founding Medical Director. His work there has become a legacy that continues to help thousands to this day.

When he met his soulmate – Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, his path took a new direction. He moved to Sharon’s company (Onsite Workshops ) and they continued their mission together in work and in love for the next forty years. He became the medical director of Onsite Workshops (currently in TN) and helped develop the Living Centered Program, the Couples Relationship Program, and Physician Training. He authored/co-authored many books including, Painful Affairs, Slogan Stories, I Don’t Smoke, Pharmers Almanac, and Understanding Codependency .

Joes other personal passion was “The International Doctors in AA” organization. Joe shared his wisdom over many years to help individuals facing addiction in all its forms. He helped found Turn Off Drug Ranch, Lost Heads Treatment Program etc. The coffee pot was always on and he was willing to listen and to share. Joe received many awards in the areas of medicine and addiction recovery throughout his life. He remained, in all of his careers, the same passionate and caring soul he was throughout his life. He followed his quest and his heart and changed thousands of lives for the better. No one met Joe that didn’t end up loving him.

Joe had many passions including music – both playing keyboard and singing duets. He counted as friends Johnny Cash, The Judds, Riders in the Sky and the Gaithers. He also liked Tap dancing and he was proud of his role as emcee of the Sun City Summerlin Tappers in Las Vegas. He loved to travel and went on a world cruise with his wife, Disney excursions with kids and grandkids, US road trips in “the white van” and countless holiday gatherings with family and friends. He carried a video camera around for 20 years to help capture all of these moments. He was active and liked to swim, golf, and he participated in exercise classes well into his 90’s. He also loved the Miraval Wellness center – a place he returned to annually. He also enjoyed a good game of cribbage, board games and juggling. Joe loved to tinker both in the garage and on the computer – always learning new things throughout his life.

Joe is survived by his soulmate Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, his son Patrick Egan and his husband Phil Dismuke, daughter Sandy Egan, daughter Debbie Bydlon and her husband Andy. He also leaves his Grandchildren, Matt and Emilee Bydlon, Christopher and Jayleen Bydlon, Melanie McNiff, Ryan McNiff, Cheyenne Bydlon, Sierra Bydlon, Andrew Bydlon. Jr. and Great-granddaughter, Kira Lily Bydlon. Joes early family also included Lee Barnard, Jolene Weir, Don & Chris Cruse, Todd Cruse and multiple nieces and nephews and grandchildren.

Joe also had his bonus family including Ted Klontz, Margie Zugich, Mel Pohl, Jerry Moe and Bill O’Donnell. He was blessed to get to know several wonderful caregivers including Margot Love, Fred Gluck, Lisa Wilson and Ellen Ross. Joe also was an adamant lover of animals and enjoyed spending time with over 25 dogs throughout his life.

There will be a memorial and celebration of Joes life later this year when the Covid threat has passed and we can all be together again. In the meantime, there is a CaringBridge page set up for Joe where you can read stories, view photos and share comments. It is at

Memorial donations can be made to The International Doctors in AA ( or The Humane Society (

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