Joseph R. Simurdiak, 94, Phillips, WI died on Monday, January 9, 2017, at the Aspirus Pleasant View Nursing Home under the care of his family and Flambeau Home Health and Hospice. Joe was born on March 15, 1922, in the Township of Emery, the eighth of twelve children born to John and Anna Bolek Simurdiak. He attended East Highland School and graduated from Phillips High School in 1940. He married Adeline Marie Hainy on September 15, 1945, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Phillips. Adeline passed away on January 10, 2015. Also preceding Joe in death were his parents; seven brothers, Tony, John, Frank, Charlie, Fred, Steve and Paul; two sisters, Cecelia Simurdiak and Ann Barber; and two nephews.
Joe is survived by son Ken (Barbara), Rochester, MN, grandchildren, Ken Jr. (Rochelle), Kristie, and Mike (Sarah), and great-grandhildren, Giordana, Gavin, Alex, Colin, Kaelan, Connor, James and Adeline; by son Ron (Elizabeth), Phillips, and grandchildren, Joe, John, and Jenna; by daughter Jane (Andy) Groeper, Metamora, IL, grandchildren Michelle, Emily, and Jonathan (Nicole), and great-grandchildren, Tyler, Nicholas,Brandon, Justin, Derek and Travis; and by close friend Paul (Margie) Osicka, Chicago, IL. He is also survived by two sisters, Frances Petruzalek of Phillips and Mary Bejcek of Rothschild, and by numerous nieces and nephews.
With Adeline at his side, Joe operated a dairy farm on the Emery land settled in 1911 by his parents. Upon retirement in 1990, they sold the farm to their son, Ron, and lived at the edge of Phillips on Hwy D until moving to Duroy Terrace in 2013. In addition to farming, Joe worked for the Soil Conservation Service at the County Normal, for Omark Industries in Prentice, and as an independent logger and trucker. He served on the Emery Town Board as road supervisor for many years. After retiring, he worked as caretaker for his church and assessed bear damage in Price County for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
A lifelong baseball fan, Joe played second base for the Emery softball teams for many years. He rarely missed a broadcast of a Milwaukee Brewers game and passed on his love of the sport to all three kids. He and Adeline were also avid Green Bay Packers fans and attended several games at Lambeau Field. They listened to Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights, snowmobiled with neighbors on Sundays, regularly attended community events, and served on the Emery Centennial Committee in 1989. Joe loved dancing, and he and Adeline were members of their local square dance and polka clubs. They frequently played cards with friends (or just the two of them), and they participated in several Smear, Pinochle, and Cribbage tournaments. Joe always had time for a game of Cribbage, and he once overcame grandson Mike’s 29 hand with his own 24 hand to win a game.
Joe and Adeline enjoyed visiting family and traveling throughout the U.S. and Canada, by car in their younger years and by train and bus in retirement. Among Joe’s favorite trips were two national square dance conventions, two world’s fairs, hunting in Montana with his brothers, and a 10-stadium baseball tour with son Ron. Each summer, Adeline froze or canned the abundant produce Joe raised in his large garden, and in the fall they processed many deer Joe shot over the years, both in and out of season. Undaunted by his age, Joe enjoyed hunting, snowmobiling, and cutting firewood well into his 80s. At age 81, he was honored to stand up as best man for the 2003 wedding of his grandson, Jonathan, in St. Charles, IL. Joe was a member of St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church of Phillips and active in the Knights of Columbus.
A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, January 21, at St. Therese, with Rev. Gerald Hagen and Rev. Bill Johnson, SJ, officiating, and a short service by the Knights of Columbus. Friends may call at the church on Saturday from 9:00 A.M. until the time of services. Inurnment will be in the Spring at St. Patrick Cemetery in Phillips. Online condolences and Joe-stories may be shared at www.heindlfuneral.com.
The family suggests that any memorials in Joe's name be made to St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, or Flambeau Home Health and Hospice.
The Heindl Funeral Home in Phillips is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.