Joseph G. ”Joe” Demler, age 94, of Port Washington, WI peacefully passed away at home with his family at his side Wednesday, February 5, 2020.

He was born December 7, 1925 in Fredonia, WI; son of Dr. John (DVM) and Catherine Linden Demler.  Joe graduated from Port Washington High School and shortly after left for the Army, June 6, 1944 during World War Two.  As a Private, Joe served in the 137th Infantry during the Battle of the Bulge.  As a POW, Joe was liberated from a Nazi concentration camp and was discharged on November 15, 1945.

On September 1, 1951, Joe married Therese Schmit of Lake Church at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lake Church.  They built their home in Port Washington and raised their family.  Joe took a job with the Postal Service in Milwaukee.  He would soon transfer to work at the Port Washington Post Office working at the service window and eventually becoming its Assistant Postmaster until his retirement after 37 years in 1982.

Joe enjoyed his retirement with his wife and family.  They would take many trips together.

He was a proud member of the Van Ells-Schanen American Legion Post 82 and Ozaukee Memorial Post VFW 5373.  During the past few years, Joe participated in the first Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.  He proudly shared his military story, paid tribute to all veterans and helped capture their stories.  He took part in many Honor Flight events throughout the country.  Joe’s motto from a doctor after his liberation became the message of the Honor Flight – “Every day is a bonus”.”

Joe is survived by his wife Therese, his children Tom (Mary) Demler of West Bend, Steve (Jill Gaskell) Demler of Blanchardville and Catherine Demler of Port Washington; three grandchildren Harlan, Cora and Kevin; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.  He is preceded in death by his sister Madeline Holland and her husband Jack; sister-in-law Marie Schmit and brothers-in-law Eugene Schmit and wife Pauline, Clifford Schmit and his wives Pat and Marion and Wilfred Schmit and his wife Helen.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 6PM Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at St. John XXIII Parish-St. Peter of Alcantara Church, 1802 N. Wisconsin Street, Port Washington, WI.  Reverend Patrick Wendt will be the celebrant.  Visitation will take place from 3-5:45PM Tuesday AT CHURCH prior to Mass.  Entombment will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Port Washington with military honors.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight Wisconsin ( or St. John XXIII Parish ( appreciated.

Sincere thanks to the staff of Compassionate Care Hospice and Stars and Stripes Honor Flight for their kindness and care to Joe.



  1. Dear Demler Family,

    Although I did not know of Mr. Demler until I saw the Facebook post of his death and WWII history, I am deeply saddened to know of the loss of such a strong survivor. Having just lost my own 90-year-old husband, I know that 94 years was not nearly long enough a life and that I’m sure he that far to good to “throw away,” but I am grateful that God gave him a long life and many years of retirement. I pray God’s richest blessings upon each of you as you adjust to life without your anchor. Please know that Mr. Demler’s sacrifices have been noted and remembered with gratitude in Burr Ridge, Illinois.

  2. Tess and Family,
    Mary and I offer our sincere condolences for the loss of Joe. We are fortunate to have known Joe all these years. Our seeing Joe on and attending our Stars and Stripes Honor Flight missions have shown us how important it is to continue to honor those who have given so much to insure our Liberty and Freedom. Every Day IS A Bonus!

  3. To the Demler family:
    Pam and I are saddened by the passing of Joe. I met Joe while befriending his son Tom. He always had a good sense of humor. Blessings of our Lord to Therese, Tom, Steve and Cathy. May he rest with the saints in glory.

    Rev. Stephen and Pam Mueller
    Townsend, WI

  4. I knew Joe through hanging out with his son Steve (as well as being a post office customer) while growing up in Port Washington. Condolences to Steve, Therese, and the entire Demler family.

  5. Dear Demler family,

    Deeply honored and blessed to have known Joe and to consider him a friend. Please accept our condolences on his passing. Joe’s life and his life experiences serve as an inspiration to many.

    Although we have now lost yet another member of the “greatest generation,” always remember, death can never take a good man away, for in the hearts of the people he inspired, the legacy remains and continues through the generations. God bless you.

  6. Dear Therese and Family: I got to meet Joe through
    the Honor Flight in April, 2016. After my flight, I was
    privileged to sit next to Joe as a guest at a Packer Veterans Night in Port. I was in awe as I was in the Army at the end of the Korean War spending time in Germany.
    He will always be remembered…


  8. The Port Washington Community, the State of Wisconsin, and our Country has lost a true Patriot. Joe Demler was a wonderful husband, Father, and friend to all. I know he taught me to be a proud Veteran. I know I am better for having known him my entire life. Ned L. Huwatschek Lac La Belle, Mi

  9. We wish to express our heartfelt sympathy to Joe’s family. I was very saddened to learn of his passing. I was a guardian on the first Honor Flight in November 2008, and had the honor and pleasure of meeting Joe. My husband and I also accompanied him and other vets in SSHF parades and on other occasions. He was such a gentle and kind man. Joe’s new home in heaven is well deserved. May God’s grace bring you peace and comfort in the days ahead.

  10. Sorry to hear of Joe’s passing. So happy I had the chance to visit with him after Christmas. I will treasure the times we were able to visit. He was a hero to me.

  11. Dear Demler family,
    My sincere condolences on the passing of Joe. I am honored that you included, in his obituary, the photo I took of him during the wreath ceremony on the very first Honor Flight. It was a privilege to know him. Thank you for sharing him with the veteran community all these years.
    God bless you.
    Allen Buchholz

  12. Condolences to the Demler family. Joe has many friends and comrades waiting for him at the gates of heaven.

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