Joseph Benjamin Rockwell, 74, of Sturgeon Bay, passed away Friday evening, March 10, 2023 at Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay, following an apparent heart attack at home.
He was born August 24, 1948 in Sturgeon Bay, the son of Leo Joseph Rockwell and Doraine "Dode" Viola (Braley) Rockwell. Joe grew up attending St. Joseph Parish and Grade School (through second grade) then Sunset School, all in Sturgeon Bay. He graduated from Sturgeon Bay High School with the class of 1967. Joe was initially employed with Milwaukee Shoe Factory in Sturgeon Bay. He served his country with the United States Army during the Vietnam War, entering into active duty on May 1, 1968. Joe served with the Recon Platoon 2nd 60th and completed medical corpsman training to become an Army medic. He saw things many of us "couldn't even imagine", but during that time, he was thankful that none of the service members whom he cared for on the battlefield, died in the moment of (often emergency) care. (Joe was blessed to be able to reconnect with some of the fellow service members he cared for, later in life). Joe was honorably discharged from the active service with the Army on April 25, 1970 with the rank of Sergeant and from his service, was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal. Joe remained on Reserve status until April 30, 1974.
Joe first met Linda Marie Feucht in 1971. They were united in marriage on July 28, 1973 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Crandon.
Joe enrolled in electrical courses at Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College in Sturgeon Bay. He worked in the shipyards at Bay Shipbuilding Co. from 1974 until 1979. Joe also helped on funerals and drove the hearse for Davis Mortuary in Sturgeon Bay in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a truck driver and light equipment operator for the City of Sturgeon Bay Street Department for 29 years. Joe had hopes of patenting the "upside down pocket" during his years working for the City, to assist fellow city workers in working more efficiently, and perhaps even more important, in not keeping, but rather looking busy.
He was called to active duty to serve in the Army during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 stationed in Germany.
In his "retirement" from working for the City, Joe drove school bus for Kobussen Buses (who served the Sturgeon Bay School District). Many students enjoyed having Joe as their bus driver for various athletic and extracurricular events.
Joe was a lifelong member of St. Joseph Parish. For years he helped with the St. Joseph Fish fry, greeting those in attendance and taking tickets. Through his Catholic faith, Joe was a member of the Knights of Columbus Msgr. Alfonse Broens Council 2478 in Sturgeon Bay. From his military service, he was a member of the Weber-Tess AMVETS Post 51 in Sturgeon Bay. Joe enjoyed Riding Harleys over the years especially in his retirement. He usually had two in the garage at any given time, with the last one being a rode king/police bike. He liked camping with family and friends at Chute Pond County Park in Mountain and Potawatomi State Park and Quietwoods, both south of the City of Sturgeon Bay. Joe also liked to go dancing. When his age allowed him to, he joined the ROMEO's (Retired Old Men Eating Out) and socialized with fellow (male) community members. Those who knew Joe, knew what a storyteller he was. All it took was making brief eye contact (often catching the smile in his eye), for him to make his way across the room to you to say hi and see how you were doing, and you could almost always count on a Vietnam story to be shared. Joe had an uncanny ability to relate almost any thought or conversational topic a person or group might have back to something during his time in Vietnam. Above, he loved his family and cherished the time he spent with them, especially his grandchildren.
Joe will be missed by his wife, Linda, with whom he was blessed to share nearly 50 years of marriage with; sons, Eric "Eddie" (Stephanie Bunda) Rockwell of Green Bay and Jason (Tracy) Rockwell of Ephraim; grandchildren, Leo and Pierce Rockwell and Madison and Izabella Bunda, and Keria Clark and Able Rockwell; siblings-in-law, David Rusch of the Village of Howard, Connie Rockwell of the Town of Sevastopol, Sarah (Guy) Bryner of Argonne, and Cindy Feucht of Niceville, FL; nieces and nephews; other relatives; and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Roger Rockwell and Nancy Rusch; brothers-in-law, Larry Feucht and Robert Feucht; and other relatives.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 16, 2023 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 110 N.5th Ave., Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 with Fr. Robert Stegmann as celebrant and Dcn. Mark Bortle assisting. Joe will be laid to rest in St. Joseph Cemetery in the Town of Sevastopol with Military Honors by the United States Army and the Weber-Tess AMVETS Post 51.
Visitation for family and friends will be held from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at Huehns Funeral Home, 1414 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 with a parish wake service to be held at 7:30 p.m. and led by Bill Graf from St. Joseph Parish. Visitation will continue at the church, Thursday morning, from 9:30 a.m. until 10:45 a.m.
Realizing he couldn't "take it with" him, Joe thought it would be nice for memorials to be given for DOOR CANcer, Inc. (P.O. Box 423, Sturgeon Bay WI 54235; www.doorcancer.com) or St. Joseph Parish (mail to: 526 Louisiana St., Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235; www.stjosephsb.com).
Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Joseph may be shared with his family through his tribute page at www.huehnsfuneralhome.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph Benjamin Rockwell, please visit our floral store.
DOOR CANcer, INC.
P.O. Box 423, Sturgeon Bay WI 54235
St. Joseph Parish
526 Louisiana St., Sturgeon Bay WI 54235
When donating directly to the church, mention [the name of the deceased] in the memo and if funds should be used for any specific cause/effort within the church.