Family, friends remember retired police officer, former Mohave County Sheriff’s candidate Joe Archie

March 20, 2019

When the late Joe Archie found out he had terminal brain cancer in July 2018, he turned to his one character trait that had served him well all his life. He set a goal. In fact, he set several.

Setting goals for himself was Joe’s way to fuel his ambition, his family said. Diagnosed with glioblastoma, the Lake Havasu City resident needed that fuel now more than ever. Planning for the future was Joe’s method to make sure that what remained of his life was geared toward getting the most out of every moment.

“Each month, he had a goal to get to,” said Deanna Archie, his wife of 15 years.

Joe died at home in the mid-afternoon on March 15, surrounded by his loved ones. The date in itself was a goal.

“He wanted to die on or before his birthday,” Deanna said. Joe celebrated his 68th year on March 8. She said he would want to be remembered as a man of integrity. “He had a good heart and cared for everyone,” she said.

Describing her husband as a “straight up cowboy,” Deanna said Joe grew up on cattle ranches in Colorado and Wyoming.

“It’s why I have a very strong work ethic,” he told Today’s News-Herald in 2016. At the time, Joe was running for Mohave County Sheriff. He claimed that his 31 years in law enforcement qualified him for the job. He lost the election to Doug Schuster.

After serving in the United States Army, he spent six years with the Tucson Police Department. “I worked in patrol, tactical operations, SWAT and was a helicopter pilot for the air unit,” he told the News-Herald.

In 1990, Joe moved to Havasu and signed on with the Lake Havasu City Police Department. He retired in 2015 as a lieutenant. He also served eight years as commander of the Western Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy, said Sgt. Tom Gray of the department.

“Joe was dedicated to the law enforcement profession and took every assignment seriously,” said Dan Doyle, Havasu’s police chief. “He was a cop’s cop with a no-quit attitude. Joe was also very active in the community, specifically with Friends of the Fair. He will be sorely missed by not only our organization but the entire community.”

On Monday afternoon, Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster reflected on his professional relationship with Joe as well as thoughts about the 2016 sheriff’s election.

“Joe and I worked together for over two decades, even though we worked for different agencies. He had a lot of integrity and honor. He was a good guy,” Schuster said. “When we were vying for the same position, Joe was a true gentleman and very respectful to the others (candidates). My heart goes out to Joe’s family.”

For Havasu’s Little Delbert Days and Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo, Joe was rodeo director for several years. He also served as announcer for the event.

“That was another one of his goals,” said his wife, Deanna. Though Joe didn’t have the energy required to be the announcer for the most recent rodeo at SARA Park in January, he was able to attend the festivities. She said he was honored to receive a tip of the hat from the crowd.

Cheers from a rodeo audience were a familiar sound to him. A participant for many years, Joe won several awards and events across five decades. In 2007, he was named the National Senior Pro Rodeo Bareback Riding World Champion. For that effort and many other wins, Joe proudly had earned a drawer full of belt buckles. In late 2018, he set a goal for those hard-won symbols of significant achievement.

“He divided them up and gave the buckles to his grandsons a few months ago,” Deanna said.

Pam Ashley can be reached at 928-453-4237, ext. 230 or pashley@havasunews.com.