Cherished son and beloved brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend, teacher and coach, Joseph Robert Hottenstein passed away on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 from pulmonary embolisms and many other blood clots in his lungs, at the young age of 34. Joe was the younger son of Howard and Laurie Hottenstein of Antigo, Wisconsin, and leaves an older brother Howie and his parents behind.
Joseph was born on February 28, 1989 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, moving with his family to Antigo six months later. He attended Spring Valley Elementary and Antigo Middle and High Schools. He was also homeschooled for a period of elementary school. As a child, Joe enjoyed playing baseball and chess. He excelled in school and as a teenager, lettered in football several times. Joe was named Athlete of the Week on WSAW. His fellow football teammates nicknamed him Beef. He also participated in some wrestling and track. He started going to chess tournaments with the Marion chess team from about fifth grade through high school and won many matches and awards. He graduated from Antigo High School in 2007 with high honors and decided to pursue a career in teaching, enrolling at UW-Stevens Point, never once wavering on his major.
At UW-Stevens Point, Joe continued his love for learning, football, chess, board games, video games, food, and A&W root beer. He loved his family and his little cat, Spunky. Instead of using his knowledge of math and physics to make a six figure income, he chose to enter a career of education at Westfield High School in which he could pass on his love of learning to the next generation. He loved teaching in Westfield and would often express how happy he was with his school district and all of his students' achievements. Joe's gentle and calm demeanor were perfect for teaching Geometry, Physics and Physical Science, and he went out of his way to make sure all of his students felt confident & comfortable with the material. After school, he coached football and the chess club, which he established in 2014 for his students, meeting twice weekly, creating a supportive environment and a sense of belonging for any student who wanted to join. He wore many hats at school whenever needed, helping as a basketball scoreboard operator and announcer, ACT Prep supervisor, National Honor Society selection committee member, class advisor, South Central Conference Math Team coach, and was a mentor to younger teachers. He was lovingly referred to as "the gentle giant" by his colleagues and as Mr. H by his students.
Though Joe was successful at many things, the most important part of Joe wasn’t what he did, it was who he was. He loved to joke around and make people laugh with his great sense of humor. He gave the best big bear hugs that warmed your heart. Joe had a kind and gentle spirit that made him go out of his way to do that special something like buying strawberries and making them into jam for his aging grandmother. He loved Christmas and found great joy in giving gifts and homemade chocolates. In spite of his busy schedule, he made time to have his brother come and spend the weekend, host a family Thanksgiving, or drive all the way to Fond du Lac to have pizza with his aunt and uncle. Family, which included anyone in his life, was very important to Joseph. Joe made the world a better place and will leave a hole that no one else can fill.
Visitation will be at Four Corners Assembly of God, N3891 County Hwy. P, White Lake, WI, 54491 on Friday, July 14, 2023 from 11:00 AM – noon. A memorial service will follow at the church at noon, with food and fellowship afterwards. All are welcome. The family is hoping to have a celebration of life with his Westfield "family" sometime in the future.
It is with grieving hearts that his surviving family members, mother, father, brother, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, colleagues and students say good-bye. He left us way too soon and will be forever held in our hearts and memories until we meet again.
Westfield High is graciously helping with a a memorial celebration of life for Joseph on Tuesday, August 8th at Thal Acres (upstairs) from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM. We look forward to his friends, colleagues, current and former students, parents, and community members sharing memories of our son with us. If you are able, please wear your Westfield Pioneers attire.
We will be setting up a scholarship fund, in Joseph's memory, at both Westfield High School and Antigo High School for three years each to help some other young students pursue a career in education, impacting future generations, something I'm sure Joseph would approve of. Whatever is given will be matched by us.
Services are in the care of Uecker-Witt Funeral Home, 524 North Park Avenue, Fond du Lac, WI, 54935. Additional information and guestbook can be found at ueckerwitt.com