State trooper killed in accident was longtime B’nai Amoona guard

Sgt. Joseph Schuengel

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Sgt. Joseph Schuengel, the Missouri Highway Patrolman who died Friday, Oct. 15, when the helicopter he was piloting crashed on Horseshoe Road in the Kehrs Mills Trails subdivision in West County, was a veteran security guard for Congregation B’nai Amoona and lived in an apartment on the synagogue property on South Mason Road, according to the congregation. Sgt. Schuengel, 47, was a 17-year veteran of the Missouri Highway Patrol when he died in the crash. He was the only person in the Bell 206B JetRanger helicopter when it crashed. The cause of the crash is being investigated.

A statement issued by the leadership of Congregation B’nai Amoona said, “With sorrow we advise you of the passing of our dear friend, Sgt. Joseph G. Schuengel, son of Georgianna and the late Joseph Bernard Schuengel; brother of Barbara (Farid “Gabe”) Azzam, Suzanne Shoemaker and Adrianne (Charles) Miller. For over a decade, Joe has lived with, and watched over us, at B’nai Amoona.”

“Joseph Scheungel was really a lovely human being, a very caring person, and he took his responsibility very seriously, protecting the House of the Lord,” Rabbi Carnie Rose of B’nai Amoona told the Jewish Light. “Many times we talked about how really significant that was to him. In some ways he felt it was a kind of compensation, a tikkun, a repair for all the years of Christian anti-Semitism. He thought it was somewhat ironic that here he was a Catholic, a Christian, who was protecting a Jewish House of God, a Jewish House of Worship. We talked about that quite often.

“He opened the building very early in the day and closed it late at night. His presence made us all feel safe and secure, particularly in the post-9/11 decade. He was an important part of our family for more than a decade. He was a large man, and always had a smile. He was a gentle and genteel spirit. We are going to miss him terribly.”

Sgt. Schuengel attended Ranken Technical College, where he received an Associate’s degree. He worked for Laclede Gas for 10 years before pursuing his career with the Missouri Highway Patrol for 17 years, of which seven were as a helicopter pilot. He worked at B’nai Amoona as a security guard for over 10 years. Family members noted his compassion, sense of humor and love for people as well as animals.

The family will receive visitors Tuesday, Oct. 19 at Hoffmeister Colonial Mortuary, 6464 Chippewa at Watson. A celebration of Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted 10 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 20 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Rabbi Rose will offer words of eulogy on behalf of Congregation B’nai Amoona. The interment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery.

“May God comfort and console the family, along with all those that mourn the death of our dear friend, Joe Schuengel,” the congregation’s statement concluded.

Memorial contributions may be made to MASTERS (Troopers Fund), Backstoppers or Masses.