Joseph Richard Shonka
Joseph Richard Shonka, age 77, was a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish and resident of Wisconsin Rapids. He received Last Rites as his cancer rapidly progressed and passed away peacefully in the presence of his family on October 19, 2018. He was clothed in the brown scapular of Our Lady.
Joseph was born in Gary, Indiana, to the late Adolph and Anna (Strizak) Shonka. He attended Holy Trinity Elementary School in Gary and then St. Mary’s in Crown Point, Indiana. His High School years were spent attending St. Procopius Academy in Lisle, Illinois. He started his college years at St. Procopius College, also in Lisle, Illinois, but finished his studies at Indiana University where he was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. His career experiences included Dairy Farming; teaching Sixth Grade at St. Mary’s School in Griffith, Indiana; Rex Chainbelt (RexNord); Pontiac Chair Company; then started a long career in Insurance Sales with Columbia National Life Insurance Company, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, AMPI, K.B.B., and finally Allstate Insurance Company. He was a top sales producer, earning him many awards and incentives. He always loved to travel about and meet new people. In 1998 Joe got his CDL and became an Over the Road Truck Driver. He most recently drove for Dan Glodowski Trucking, out of Rosholt, Wisconsin, up until March, 2018.
Joseph was a talented musician, having been an accomplished violinist at an early age. He enjoyed the privilege of performing on live television at age 15. Joseph, his parents and siblings all became lay Oblates of St. Benedict at St. Procopius Abbey. He also was an avid boater and loved hunting and fishing. He was gifted with talents to fix anything. His life experience of growing up around farming allowed him to develop skills in many areas such as mechanics, building, and designing. There was never a job too difficult for Joe. Those who knew him well, described him as being kind-hearted and generous, in addition to having a brilliant mind, great sense of humor and above-average patience.
Joseph is survived by his wife, Catherine (Bredlau) Shonka; siblings, Theresa (Michael) Palmer, COL. Bernadette Shonka (Ret.); his daughters, Jennie (Carel) Koch, Christine (Daren) Mazier, Laura (Paul) Baynes, and Carol-Jo Shonka; step-daughters, Lori Ann Stetsor and Renae Sigall; his nephew, Mikey (Amy) Palmer; his grandchildren, Stephanie, Paul, Mary, Colleen, Matthew, Adam, Katrina, Kyle, Emily, Anika, Claire; and great grandchildren.
Services will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Wisconsin Rapids on Friday, October 26, 2018. Visitation will begin at 10:00 am with Mass at 11:00 am. All attendees are invited to join us for a luncheon at the Parish following Mass.
The family wishes to thank Arborview Court and Ascension Health Hospice for care and support as well at the St. Vincent de Paul Community for prayers and outreach over the last couple of months.
The John J. Buettgen Funeral Home/Mid-Wisconsin Cremation Society is assisting the family. For online condolences, please visit www.HonorOne.com.