Joe Benauer, age 88, passed away peacefully May 20, 2018, after a four-week struggle to regain his health and strength following a fall in his home.

He was born in Milwaukee on December 23, 1929, son of the late Joseph and Marie (Rieder) Benauer. He graduated from Boys’ Technical High School (Milwaukee) with a specialty in Commercial Art in 1949. After graduation he worked as a Lithographic Pressman for Gugler Lithographic Co. in Milwaukee until he was drafted into the armed services in May of 1951. While in Korea, he achieved the rank of Corporal and served as Assistant Fire Chief; he earned the Korean Service Medal, three Bronze Service Stars, and the United Nations Service Medal.

After his military service he accepted a job with the City of Milwaukee. He began working with the sanitation department and then, building on his experience as military Assistant Fire Chief, he transferred to the City of Milwaukee School Board where he worked as a fireman, maintaining and managing the boilers for 21 years.

Joe valued his time in the military and felt that the opportunity to work together as a team was the highlight of that experience. He was an active member of the American Legion, first with Post 288 in Cedarburg, and then, after his move to Elkhart Lake, with Post 243 in Plymouth. His involvement in Legion activities and its mission were very meaningful for him, as were the bonds and friendships that he formed over these past 63 years.

He was a talented artist and musician and served as post Bugler at both posts. After his high school summer experience in the band at Badger Boys State, the director of the Instrumental Music Program attempted to recruit him to attend Ripon College, but it was not to be. However, his music brought him joy all his life. He was an active member of the Elkhart Lake United Church of Christ, where he especially enjoyed singing in the choir and the warmth of the congregation. Children and animals always enjoyed a special place in his heart, especially his buddy Brutus.

He is survived by his sister, Louise Feuerpfeil, niece Charlotte Knoche, and nephew Paul Feuerpfeil, great nephews Eric and Carsten Knoche, cousins Marilyn (Fees) and Karen (Fields), as well as other relatives, both in the U.S. and Austria.

Joe’s celebration of life will be held at the Elkhart Lake United Church of Christ on June 2, 11:00 am followed by a buffet luncheon. Photos and memorabilia will be on view after 9:00 am Saturday.

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