Obituary: Joseph J. Carpenter

Joseph J. Carpenter, son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, sweetheart and friend died at age 86 on June 16, 2018 at Scandia Village in Sister Bay, Wisconsin.

He was born in Milwaukee, WI on July 7, 1931 to Joseph M. Carpenter and Catherine (Ryan) Carpenter and grew up on the east side of Milwaukee with his three sisters, Mary Ellen Sampson, Kathleen Conery, Ann Bischel. He attended St. Robert School in Shorewood, WI, and graduated from Marquette High School in 1949.

Joe spent much of his childhood twisting pretzels and flipping donuts with his father at the M. Carpenter Baking Company of Milwaukee, WI, founded in 1889 by Michael Carpenter, his great-grandfather.

Joe served in the US Army from 1952 to 1954 during the Korean conflict and was stationed in France, where he developed a keen interest in traveling and life-long learning. Returning to college after leaving the Army, Joe graduated from Marquette University in 1956 and Marquette University Law School in 1960.

Living in Milwaukee, Joe met and fell in love with artist Carole Bertz, and they married in 1961. Joe and Carole spent 39 years together, raising their large family and enjoying life in Whitefish Bay and Rowleys Bay, Door County. Carole passed away in 2000.

Joe worked for many years as in insurance adjuster while raising his family. He was an avid waterfowl watcher and annual bird counter, hunter, fisherman, expert wood carver and amateur archeologist.

Joe is survived by his five children: Mary Carpenter Rechner (Kevin) and granddaughters Natalie and Amelia Rechner; Ann Carpenter Tockstein (Jim) with grandchildren Julia (fiancé Jacques Dahlet), Bessie, Valerie and James Tockstein; Elizabeth Carpenter Mahoney (Mike); Julie Carpenter (Najib Johnson) with grandchildren Max and Annie Johnson; and Joe Carpenter (Elizabeth Gerlat).

He was dear friend and companion of Phyl Mielke of Sister Bay, WI. Joe and Phyl spent many years together, travelling, exploring, and were particularly fond of taking Winter Clearing classes, wine tasting, and enjoying all that Door County offered.

Throughout his life, Joe was an active member of the Nature Conservancy’s effort to preserve and protect the Mink River Estuary; the Door County Land Trust, and the Town of Liberty Grove smart growth planning. Once retired, Joe discovered archaeology and spent many Septembers exploring the American Southwest with the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez Colorado.

Joe’s family is so very grateful for the staff at Birchwood Special Care at Scandia Village in Sister Bay, who surrounded him with love every day he was there.

A celebration of life is planned for later this summer.

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