Foresters note how trees of the same species thrive from growing close together and sharing their resources. For 66 years Joe, and his bride Alyce, did just that. They were rooted in their family, community and faith. When Alyce passed in March of 2017, it was a disconcerting thought that as a ‘solo tree’, Joe could be rocked by a strong wind. Joe sure proved that theory wrong! Over the past few years he enjoyed many more sunsets at the cottage, mastered bread-making and fish-frying, took a 9000 mile road trip out west, welcomed his newest great-grandchild and enjoyed many cherished memories with family and friends.
Joe was born in Little Chute, WI to P. Catherine (Coonen) and Wilbert Kilsdonk. As the second oldest child, Joe deeply enjoyed spending time with his brothers, sisters, and their spouses; Jerome (Lola), Grace (Roger) Rhyner, Marvin (Florence) (Lila), Herbert (Cathy), Richard (Donna), Ronald (Carol), Mary Ellen (Roy) Brownell and Ann (Joe) Brochtrup.
As Joe told the story of how he met Alyce he shared that it was at a local skating rink. They were both with different dates. With a twinkle in his eye he said, “Somehow, that switched around and he started going with Alyce.” That combination “took”. On November 11, 1950, Alyce Timmers became Joe’s wife.
His epic legacy of quiet kindness, an innate ability to fix and build, and love of nature lives on through their four children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His son Bruce, wife Darlene, and their daughter Angela, husband Sean – his daughter Connie, her daughter Courtney, husband Collin, their children Theo and Maddie – son Darryl, wife Rose, and their son Levi – son George, wife Lori, and their children Jordan and Emma, husband Andrew, all share in a spirit of peace that Joe and Alyce are now reunited.
Joe worked at Thilmany Mill in Kaukauna for 43 years. During those years, and while raising his own family, he always made time to offer compassionate care to others. Joe and Alyce often volunteered at church and for over 16 years he and Alyce delivered Meals on Wheels. Their favorite camping spot was at Peninsula State Park. Whether camping or not, Joe would always readily agree that ANY time was a good time for ice cream.
This past year Joe was under the extraordinary care of ThedaCare Hospice, Cherry Meadows and the staff at Heritage. Our family extends deep gratitude to all. When we couldn’t see him in person, our hearts rested much easier knowing you were at his side. As an extra blessing, within this last month we were all able to once again visit with Joe. His wit, humor and faith carried him through until God (and Alyce) called Joey home.
In keeping with Joe’s understated ways, his instructions included a lowkey farewell and underscored his and Alyce’s desire to “take care of the school-kids”. To honor his wishes a graveside ceremony will be held at:
St. Joseph Cemetery, Appleton, WI on Friday, May 14
10:30 am Outdoor visit, coffee and donut reception
11:00 am Memorial service
Private family lunch to follow
To support a Catholic education for those of all abilities, a fund designated to update St. John-Sacred Heart school’s accessibility has been opened in Joe’s honor: St. John-Sacred Heart School- Kilsdonk Memorial, P.O. Box 78, N361 Military Rd., Sherwood, WI 54169.