Joseph “Joe” Reynold Rondeau, age 89, of Port Washington Wisconsin passed away peacefully in his home, with his wife Ann and family by his side on Father’s Day, June 21, 2020. We are so blessed that we were able to honor his wishes of being home with Ann.
Joe was born in Ironwood, Michigan to Clement and Beatrice (Johnson) Rondeau. He loved sports and played halfback on his High School football team The Red Devils and baseball with the local youth leagues. He is survived by his sister, Betty Arasim, of Lone Pine California. His five brother’s preceded him in death (Robert, Royal, Michael, Richard and Raymond).
A veteran of the Korean War, he served from 1949 – 1952 in the 3rd Infantry Division, Regular Army Artillery at the combat front. He achieved the rank of Master Sargent and was awarded the Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Campaign Stars and the United Nations Service Medal.
Joe valued an education and was a life-long student. After his honorable discharge, he earned a Bachelors of Science Degree from Marquette University. He attended the University of Wisconsin to work on a Masters Degree. He was most proud of the fact that all of his children have a college degree, three have a master’s degree and one has a PhD. He passed on his love of learning to the next generation; two of his grandchildren have PhDs, one has a master’s degree, five have a college degrees, and the others are in high school or elementary school.
While attending Marquette University, Joe served as a police officer for the City of Milwaukee. Following his graduation in 1959 he followed his passion to work with youth, promoting education, and enjoying sports. Joe started his career as a high school teacher and principal. During this time he studied in Mexico and became fluent in Spanish; teaching high school Spanish for several years. We remember him saying his prayers in Spanish all his life.
It was natural that he sought to leverage his leadership and experience to serve the youth and families of the community through recreation. He was the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Port Washington and then for the City of Oak Creek. He was elected as the 7th District Alderman for the City of Port Washington (1981-1983). During this period Port Washington focused on the redevelopment of the downtown harbor, which is absolutely beautiful and an asset to the community.
Joe enjoyed his active retirement. He loved to travel, golf, and listen to opera. He traveled throughout the United States and internationally (Mexico, China, Ireland, Spain, France, England, and Italy). He and his wife honeymooned at Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada. He loved the theatre, especially musicals. He was a life-long fan of Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli.
Joe was most proud of his family and his home. While he was at Marquette University, Joe met and courted fellow student Ann Elizabeth Jones (Hubbard, Nebraska). Together they raised their children in their beautiful home in Port Washington. They had hoped to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary in August.
Joe is survived by his beloved wife, Ann, and their children—Mary Ann Breunig (Jeff), Dr. Patrick Rondeau (Joanna), Joseph Edward Rondeau (deceased 1958-infant), Monica Gamarra (Igor), Jo Ann O’Connor (Charles), Joseph Rondeau (Shari), Kathleen Taylor (Rick), Dorothy Eisen (Brandon), Ann Rondeau, James Rondeau (Cindy), and Colleen Christiansen (Michael).
They had 18 grandchildren, ranging in age from 5 to 44, and three great-grandchildren. Grandchildren: Tamara Breunig Karakis (David Karakis), Dr. Scott Breunig (Kathryn Breudecheck), Natalie Rondeau, Loren Gamarra, Dr. Nathan Gamarra, Alicia O’Connor, Seamus O’Connor, Jacqueline O’Connor, Katelyn Tennant, Ashley Meverden Hoch (Cameron Hoch), Patrick Meverden, Alana Taylor, Ethan Eisen, Owen Eisen, Alexandria Liszewski (deceased; 1993-2015), Nicholas Liszewski, Felicity Rondeau, and Cole Christiansen; Great-grandchildren: Tanner Karakis (age 12), Julie Karakis (age 9) and Caleb Hoch (age 3).
Due to the pandemic, a private funeral mass will be held in Port Washington at St. John XXIII Parish, St. Peter of Alcantara Church, followed by burial with full military honors at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his memory to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission (milmission.org), the Salvation Army (give.salvationarmyusa.org), or St Peter’s Catholic Church (stjohn23rd.org).