Joseph Allen Hopfensperger

Male 1927 - 2017  (89 years)

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  • Name Joseph Allen Hopfensperger 
    Born 02 Sep 1927  Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 12 Jul 2017 
    Buried Holy Angels Cemetery, Darboy, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I29582  Little Chute Genealogy
    Last Modified 14 Jul 2017 

    Father Joseph John Hopfensperger,   b. 19 Jul 1882, Darboy, Calumet Co, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Jan 1941, Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 58 years) 
    Mother Anna Eleanora Pauline Bendixen,   b. 25 Mar 1885, Waupaca, Waupaca Co, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 04 Jun 1967  (Age 82 years) 
    Married 27 Jul 1903  Price County, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F9880  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Wendy Walter 
    Last Modified 21 Jul 2022 
    Family ID F119346  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos

  • Notes 
    • Joseph Allen Hopfensperger passed away on July 12th at age 89, with his wife and children by his side. He was born September 2, 1927 in Appleton, the son of Joseph J. and Anna (Bendixen) Hopfensperger. He was a graduate of Appleton High School, after which, at age 17, he enlisted in the Navy during WWII and served in the submarine service aboard the USS Finback (SS 230). Following the war, he earned an undergraduate degree from Lawrence University and Master's degree from Northwestern University.

      Joe was a member of the faculty and administrative staff of Lawrence University from 1952 until his retirement in 1990. At that time, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University. While at Lawrence he served as Administrative Assistant to the President, Director of Industrial Placement, Director of Radio, Director of Theater, and Chairman of the Department of Theater and Drama. Joe left Lawrence Campus in 1977 to take over the new position of Director of Bjorklunden, the university's estate in Door County. There he initiated and directed Bjorklunden seminars, a continuing education program for adults in the arts and humanities. He also taught seminars for 9 years at The Clearing in Ellison Bay. In 1997 he was awarded the Gertrude Jupp Award for Outstanding Service to the University. In 2014 he received a Presidential Award by the University for continued contributions to Bjorklunden.

      Joe enjoyed a life-long love of the theater which he passed along to his many students at Lawrence. In addition to his love of teaching, he was a founding and active member of the Attic Theater during its first 22 years; as an actor, designer, director, and artistic director. For many years he observed and studied regional theater productions throughout Canada and the United States. He periodically went on sabbatical to London to enjoy theater in the West End, a love he developed during years of study there in the 1960s and 1970s. During his years as a student and staff member at Lawrence he was a member of Sunset Players and the National Collegiate Players, an honorary National fraternity, the American Educational Radio Association, Treasurer of the Midwest Placement Association, the United States Institute for Technical Theater, and charter and honorary life member of The Friends of Bjorklunden.

      Joe was a proud veteran and submariner. As docent at the Nautical Museum of Manitowoc he frequently gave tours of the USS Cobia (SS245). He was a life member of the US Submarine Veterans of WWII and was an officer in the US Naval reserve for more than 20 years.

      Joe was a charter member of St. Bernard Catholic church in Appleton.

      In retirement, in addition to his many travels with his wife Wendy, Joe enjoyed spending his Mondays with his ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out) group as well as working as a docent at The Hearthstone in Appleton.

      He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers: Clarence, Robert, and Edward; six sisters: Agnes, Gertrude, Marion, Louise (Sister Mary Ann O.S.M), Barbara (Seibold), and Frances (Driessen).

      He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Wendy (Walter) Hopfensperger whom he married at the Bjorklunden Chapel in Baileys Harbor; Five step children John (Heather) Williams of Arlington, VA, Theresa Powell of Missoula, MT, Michael (Linda) Williams of Bozeman, MT, Jessie Williams of Wildwood, IL, and Patrick (Jennifer) Williams of Fremont, WI; Grandchildren are Jewls, Erik, Phill, Marissa, Nora, Heidi, and Cole; great grandchildren Dustin, Greyson, Mason, and Maverick and multiple nieces and nephews.

      A memorial service will take place at 11 am on Wednesday, July 19, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 222 E. Fremont St., Appleton, with Father Dennis Ryan officiating. Friends may visit in the Sacred Heart Room at church on Wednesday from 9 am until 10:45 am. Inurnment will take place, with full military honors, on Thursday at Holy Angels Catholic Cemetery, Darboy.

      A memorial scholarship fund has been established in Joe's name at Lawrence University. In Lieu of Flowers, contributions may be made to that fund.

      Fair winds and following seas.