Joseph "Joe" Reynold Rondeau
June 26, 2020
PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. - On Father's Day, June 21, 2020, Joseph "Joe" Reynold Rondeau (age 89), loving father of eleven children passed away peacefully in his home in Port Washington with his wife Ann and family by his side.
Joe was born April 19, 1931 in Ironwood, Michigan to Clement and Beatrice (Johnson) Rondeau. As a young man he was passionate about sports; in high school he played halfback for the Red Devils and enjoyed pitching for the baseball and softball teams.
After high school he enlisted in the Army and served from 1949 until honorably discharged in 1952. Serving in the 3rd Infantry division, Regular Army anti-aircraft artillery, at the combat front manning a Quad 50 machine gun. He achieved the rank of master sergeant and was awarded the Korean Service Medal with two bronze campaign stars and the United Nations Service Medal.
Following his years of service, Joe attended Marquette University, where he also served as a police officer for the city of Milwaukee and met the love of his life, Ann Elizabeth Jones (Hubbard, Nebraska), whom was also a student at the university. They married on Aug. 20, 1955, at St. Rose Church in Milwaukee. He earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in 1959 and continued his education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to work toward a master's degree. After graduating he pursued a career working with youth and promoting education. Joe taught high school Spanish, history, and physical education and later became a vice principal. Dad valued education and was a life-long student. During his tenure, he spent a summer taking students to study Spanish in the native culture of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
He continued to seek out opportunities to serve his community. His leadership and love of sports led him to a career as the director of parks and recreation for the city of Port Washington, and later for the city of Oak Creek. He developed educational programs and activities for all community members, of which his personal favorite to join in was the Monday night basketball league at Port Washington High School. He was later elected as the 7th district alderman for the city of Port Washington (1981-1983) where he contributed to the redevelopment of the beautiful downtown harbor. Joe enjoyed an active retirement. He traveled throughout the United States and internationally (Mexico, Canada, China, Spain, Morocco, France, England, Ireland, Italy, and the Netherlands). He loved musical theatre, especially "Les Miserables", "Phantom of the Opera", and "Mama Mia!", and was a life-long fan of Italian operatic tenors Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli. He spent countless hours reading the works of Tom Clancy and John Grisham, working on puzzles, and tending to the trees he planted throughout the years. But most of all, dad loved golf and never missed an opportunity to play with his friends, family, or just being paired up with other enthusiasts.
Dad was most proud of the fact that all ten of his children earned bachelor's degrees, three have master's degrees, and one has a doctoral degree. He passed on his love of learning to his grandchildren; eight have earned bachelor's degrees, one has a master's degree, and two have doctoral degrees. The remaining grandchildren are pursuing their degrees or attending elementary or high school.
Joe is survived by his beloved wife, Ann, who were both looking forward to celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary in August; and their children, Mary Ann (Jeff) Breunig of Burke, Virginia, Dr. Patrick Rondeau (Joanna) of Carmel, Indiana, Monica (Igor) Gamarra of Buena Park, California, JoAnn (Charles) O'Connor of Ventura, California, Joseph Rondeau (Shari) of Escanaba, Michigan, Kathleen (Rick) Taylor of Corona, California, Dorothy (Brandon) Eisen of Huntington Beach, California; Ann Rondeau of Huntington Beach, California; James Rondeau (Cindy) of Saukville, Colleen (Michael) Christiansen of Minneapolis, Minnesota,and his sister, Betty (James) Arasim of Murrieta, California; his grandchildren, ranging in age from 5 to 44, Tamara (David) Karakis, Dr. J. Scott Breudecheck (Kathryn), Natalie Rondeau, Loren Gamarra, Dr. Nathan Gamarra, Alicia O'Connor, C. Seamus O'Connor, Jacqueline O'Connor, Ashley (Cameron) Hoch, Patrick Meverden, Ethan Eisen, Owen Eisen, Nicholas Liszewski, Felicity Rondeau, and Cole Christiansen. He is further survived by his three great-grandchildren, ranging in age from 3 to 12, Tanner Karakis, Julie Karakis, and Caleb Hoch; step-grandchildren, Alana Taylor and Katelyn Tennant.
He is pre-deceased by his son Joseph Edward Rondeau (deceased; 1958-infant) and granddaughter Alexandria Liszewski (deceased; 1993-2015). Five brother's preceded him in death, Clement (Irma Gretler) of Ironwood, Michigan, Royal (Ann Kraynak) of Ironwood, Michael (Judith Falk) of Racine, Richard (Elizabeth Wester) of Ironwood and Raymond (Star Weimelt) of Kenosha.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a private funeral mass will be held in Port Washington at St. John XXIII Parish, St. Peter of Alcantara Catholic Church, followed by burial with full military honors at St. Mary's Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in honor of Joseph Rondeau to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission (milmission.org), the Salvation Army (give.salvationarmyusa.org), or St. Peter of Alcantara Catholic Church (stjohn23rd.org).
Assisting the family is Poole Funeral Home in Port Washington, Wisconsin. Information and condolences available at poolefh.com or 262-284-4431.