Joseph E. Pilon, M.D., age 84, died on August 11, 2023, at his home in Sherwood, Wisconsin, surrounded by his family. He was born July 21, 1939, the son of Joseph and Elaine (Boudry) Pilon. Beloved husband of Stephanie Pilon, 58 years married, he was a retired orthopaedist, philanthropist, humanitarian, and an active member of his faith community.
Dr. Pilon is survived by his loving wife Stephanie and their children, Anne Elizabeth (Felix) Gerdes, Stephanie (Chris) Higgins, Felicia Rice, Valerie (Frank) Esposito, Danielle (Shad) Severson, Erin (Billy) Thron, Luke and Matthew (Irina) and many grandchildren. He leaves also his sister Sue Berens and brother John, whose love and care endured through his diagnosis and illness. He is preceded in death by his beloved son, Joseph E. Pilon, III, in whom he was well pleased.
Raised in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Dr. Pilon graduated from Saint Mary's Springs High School in 1957. He attended Marquette University and Marquette University Medical School, achieving his Doctor of Medicine in 1963. He completed a medical internship in the Panama Canal Zone and an orthopaedic residency in Orlando, Florida and Davos, Switzerland.
Dr. Pilon served as a General Medical Officer in the Navy deployed with Marines in heavy conflict areas in Vietnam between 1967-1968.
In the early 1970s, Dr. Pilon settled with his family on a wooded property in idyllic High Cliff, Wisconsin, near Lake Winnebago, and he began his orthopaedic practice in the Fox Valley where he worked at area hospitals, specializing in complex procedures including joint replacement. He opened the Orthopaedic Clinic of Menasha where he ran a busy practice carrying out his vision of patient-centered care. He tirelessly organized and participated in multiple medical mission trips throughout his career to serve impoverished, disease-stricken, and injured patients with no access to medical care, entailing travel to remote areas, including along the Amazon River in Brazil, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The daily life of Dr. Pilon was steeped with core values of service to God, service to others, and the pursuit of virtue and knowledge. Dr. Pilon attended Catholic Mass throughout his life. He was an involved parishioner at St. John Sacred Heart Parish in Sherwood, Wisconsin, for nearly 50 years where he served as an enthusiastic booster of the church, school, and other community programs. Dr. Pilon was blessed to receive aid from his parish community while fundraising for his medical mission trips.
Quick-witted and erudite, Dr. Pilon created and enjoyed all manners of mirth. He sang beautifully. He enjoyed coaching and playing basketball, boating and teaching children to waterski, and being outdoors taking in the beauty of nature. He was a skilled, prolific photographer.
All who knew him well feel the void of his wisdom, humor, and unsolicited candor. He leaves an enduring legacy through his acts of charity and kindness, at home, in his community, and wherever his travels took him over the world. His family weeps in mourning while choirs of angels welcome him finally home.
Dr. Pilon’s family thanks his medical team, including his Oncology, Pain Management, and Hospice providers, and the Veterans Affairs (VA), and many friends and family, including his niece Mary Cerney for her ongoing support, and daughter, Felicia, for her dedicated coordination of his care.
The Pilon children would like to thank their mother, Stephanie, for her attentive and saintly care of their Dad, especially throughout the challenges of this past year.
A memorial service for Joseph will be held Thursday August 17, 2023, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, N369 Military Road, Sherwood at 11:30am. Friends and family may gather at the church from 9:30am until 11:15am. He will be laid to rest at Sacred Heart Cemetery, Sherwood.
In lieu of flowers, the Pilon family kindly requests consideration of a donation to either of these charities: (1) the VA Fisher House, payable by check to VA Fisher House, by mail, Attn: Fisher House, 5000 West National Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53295, or online to the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, at https://www.cdceportal.va.gov/donate_online/; or (2) St. John-Sacred Heart Parish, N369 Military Rd., Sherwood, WI 54169-9661. Donations to either charity may be made “In the memory of Joseph E. Pilon, M.D.”
Joseph's memorial liturgy will be shared online via livestreaming that can be accessed via the link below.
Joseph Pilon Memorial Service