Joseph David Simonson, 81, of Sheboygan, passed away peacefully on Friday May 15, his loving wife, Shirley aka Shelly at his side, at Sharon Richardson Community Hospice, following a brief hospitalization related to his dementia.
He was born on January 2, 1939, in Mondovi to Lloyd and Pearl (Ottum) Simonson. Joe attended Foster Grade School and was a 1957 graduate of Osseo High School. He attended college briefly and then enlisted in the U.S. Army, served in Fort Lewis, Washington and was honorably discharged on January 28, 1961. Joe worked at various jobs before returning to school and graduating from Wisconsin State University-Eau Claire. He was united in marriage to Shirley Lebakken on February 5, 1966, at Stillwater, Minnesota.
Joe came to Sheboygan North High School as an intern in January 1970 and began teaching full-time in the fall. He was proud to be a history teacher and found his coaching experiences (boy's track, girl's cross country and Mock Trial) to be most rewarding as well. He often said he was "fortunate to be paid for doing something he loved."
Joe was an outgoing and funny man. He loved to laugh, and he and Shelly found many new friends in Sheboygan. Making an annual Octoberfest trip to the northwoods, he stayed in touch with old friends from his hometown as well.
Joe was a life member of Sheboygan Elks #299. He played string instruments in his spare time and enjoyed getting together with friends to play bluegrass. He built numerous pieces of furniture and for years, brewed beer at home with friends. He finished more than one Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee with good friend, Tom Desotell, and while he was disciplined about getting in a walk or run on the lakefront, he usually found time for golf and the camaraderie that followed those outings. Together, he and Shelly travelled with friends both here and abroad, went to plays and concerts and often enjoyed a fish fry on Friday night with friends. He will be missed.
Joe is survived by his wife Shirley, his sister Patricia (Daryl) Livinston of Plano, Texas, his brother Larry Simonson of Ashland, Massachusetts, half-brothers: Page (Janet) Simonson of Milton, Florida and Orlin "Bud" (Mary) Simonson of Eau Claire, two nieces: Kristin (Brian) Carlson and son, Henrik of Marblehead, Massachusetts and Kaaren (James) Conatser and sons Jason, Jackson and Joseph of McKinney, Texas and nephew, John Larson of Minneapolis. He is further survived by sisters-in-law: Donna (Larry) Sims of Galesville, Kathleen (John) Martland of Trempealeau and Linda (Terry) Collins of Galesville and a brother-in-law Vernal Lebakken of Galesville along with many other relatives and friends.
In addition to his parents, Joe was preceded in death by his sister-in-law, Judy Simonson of Ashland, Massachusetts.
Following Joe's wishes, cremation has taken place and a celebration of life will be held at a later date.
The family wishes to thank Memorial Hospital and Sharon Richardson Community Hospice for the care and comfort given Joe in his last days.
Any memorials may be given to the Humane Society of Sheboygan County or Sharon Richardson Community Hospice.
Please visit www.ballhornchapels.com to leave online condolences.