Joseph Sadony’s Obituary
Joseph A. Sadony, enigmatic sage of the Valley of the Pines in White River Township, died Friday evening at Hackleys Hospital, Muskegon. He was 83 years old.
“One of the best known and least understood men in Michigan,” that was the opening statement of an article on Mr. Sadony in the Muskegon Chronicle on his 83rd birthday anniversary last Feb 22.
Mr. Sadony, in his cloistered life on his estate at The Mouth, devoted his years to the study and development of his theories as to the physical sciences, his theories as to the working of the human mind, and his theories as to the spiritual side of man. The insatiable curiosity of his unusual mind ran the gamut of all facets of human existence.
It was in the realm of mental phenomena that Mr. Sadony aroused the greatest curiosity and interest as to his theories. He was considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject of mental phenomena. It was this phase of his work which sometimes led to a misconception of the man. Mr. Sadony contended his theories of mental phenomena were based on sound psychological grounds, that there was nothing of the “clairvoyant” or “supernatural” about his mental capacities.
Born in Mountbauer, Germany, Feb 22, 1877, Mr. Sadony came with his parents to Kalamazoo in 1884. There he spent his childhood. Later the family moved to Chicago. In young manhood Mr. Sadony spent a period in travel in the West when he conducted a private investigation for President Theodore Roosevelt of conditions on Indian reservations, traveling 1,800 miles on foot.
He was a charter member of Montague Chapter, Order of Eastern Star. Later he demitted to Whitehall Lodge, No. 410, of which he was a life member. He was a 32nd degree Mason, member of Muskegon Commandery, No. 22, Knights Templar; Saladin Temple of the Shrine and Dewitt Clinton Consistory, of Grand Rapids.
Yielding to the urge in development theories of the mind which had early commanded his interest, Mr. Sadony in 1906 bought the 80-acre estate which he was to develop into a center of psychological research and investigation into the realms of the physical sciences. In those pursuits he became the intimate of philosophers and scientists throughout the world.
Mr. Sadony’s concepts were summed up in a series of articles the Muskegon Chronicle published on the man and his work in 1949. In one of those it was stated that his was a search for a basic law making possible the correlation of all the sciences and an understanding of nature, including human nature. He evolved a theory of mental development which he called “prevenient education.”
Mr. Sadony had developed a personal library of some 30,000 volumes covering every subject of research of importance to the projects on which he worked. Mr. Sadony issued numerous publications bearing on his work. For more than 30 years he wrote a daily column “Give Thought,” for the Muskegon Chronicle, which was published until his last birthday. As a result of his original work he had compiled some 30 volumes for eventual publication. His personal files contained letters from well over 300,000 persons from 700 cities and 39 countries.” These included letters from scientists, entertainers, and heads of state, including royalty. He had been guide, philosopher and friend to thousands.
In the 1920s Mr. Sadony spent some time in Hollywood with connections in the motion picture industry.
During World War II, Mr. Sadony served as consultant and partner in a group that developed a packaging material resistent to water at any temperature. It was turned out for the armed services for packaging of food and equipment for overseas shipment.
Mr. Sadony, despite his 18-hour working days, as a younger man found time to devote to his community. He held offices as justice of the peace, constable, school board member, deputy sheriff.
Mr. Sadony was married in Wisconsin July 3, 1906, to Mary Lillian Kochem, of Kentucky. It was at that time he came to The Mouth to establish his home, where his two sons, Joseph A. Sadony, Jr. and Arthur J. Sadony, were born. They and his wife survive him.
11 thoughts on “Joseph Sadony Obituary”
This is a white washed history of my great great uncle. He was a bigamist. He was a cult healer who took women’s money and he practiced magic sex religion.
Hi Laraine. Thanks for the very different perspective on Joseph Sadony. I’m curious how you came to this view of Sadony. Are their family stories or local legends?
I have heard some rumors in the White Lake area on this issue. Do you have any other info?
I was wondering if you knew where he is laid to rest at. — Findagrave has him listed as the only interment on his estate (Valley of the Pines Cemetery, Montague, MI) But he is marked on his wife’s crypt (Oak Grove Cemetery, Montague, MI) There two sons also have crypts there.
Joseph is buried on his property. I have visited his grave site twice over the years. Very well hidden at Valley of the Pines.
Look up Joseph Sadony on newspaper websites. There are articles from LA Times and Chicago Tribune among many others describing his sexually perverted practices and “orgys” and all sorts of sordid details along with him being a bigamist and kidnapping his own daughter.
I link to a couple of these articles on the site. Sort of National Enquirer-like.
How interesting. I can independently confirm that he studied Phallicism in ancient antiquity. I have a book from his private library I just purchased, ”Ancient Symbol Worship — Phallicism in Ancient Worships” by Hodder M. Westrop 1874 .
I think Loraine needs to look into Joseph’s history a bit more closely. Like other great thinkers of his time he experimented with a lot of things that society at that time considered unnatural. But he never harmed anyone and like tabloids today stories were greatly exaggerated to fit the taboos of the time.
There was no doubt that a lot of his work was misunderstood. But he was known for more than the power of his mind and he helped a lot of people through kindness. Contemporaries from around the world corresponded with him and visited the Valley of the Pines.
I have Gates of the Mind, its one of my favorite books and I’ve been to the Valley of the Pines and was taken through the property. I’ve heard the stories his children and grandchildren tell of him and he was well loved and gave that love freely back.
I live on White Lake and have studied Sadony over the last 5 years. Like Gray Cross (above) I have found the majority of his work to be well grounded and in some areas quite remarkable. As to his personal life, he was not some strange recluse.
He was an active member of the White Lake community, respected and well liked..
His long life and reputation in this area speaks volumes.
Following one of my talks on Sadony in 2018, I was approached by an very elderly man who described how Sadony was so kind to him as a boy and how he had helped his family. The man had tears in his eyes.
From the 20’s until 1965, my family had a great cottage on Old Channel Trail. It was directly west of the Sadony home. Old Joe took my brother under his tutelage in the mid to late late 50’s. He would spend a lot of time across the buyou and was always talking up his prowess. There was a small bridge across the buyou..I crossed it once in my youth and it was scary. His two sons Art and Joe Jr were very good friends of my father and spent a long time sailing together on the Sadony family boat, the Nemesis out of the White Lake Yacht club in the late 20’s and early 30’s…My brother would talk about Joe’s labratories with wondrament. I am shocked my aunt didn’t marry one of his sons, but I am sure she could not choose between them. The Valley of the Pines was truly a remarkable place