Joseph Paul Stecker-Kochanski
Joseph “Joe” Stecker-Kochanski, age 60 of Mauston, Wisconsin died Thursday, July 19, 2012 at Hess Memorial Hospital in Mauston. A memorial gathering was held on Sunday, July 22, 2012 from 12:00 Noon until 4:00 P.M. at the Conway-Picha Funeral Home in Lyndon Station, Wisconsin.
Joe was born May 14, 1952 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the son of Leroy and Eleanor (Gondek) Kochanski. He grew up in Greenfield, loving to roam in the open fields near his home. After high school and his army service, he completed a BS in forestry at UW Stevens Point. He set a goal of becoming a park ranger and completed an associate’s degree in criminal justice. He worked as a seasonal ranger at Harrington Beach State Park and as a full time ranger at the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit. He was the assistant park manager at Bong Recreation Area, before moving up to the manager position at Buckhorn and Roche-A-Cri State Parks.
Joe loved his long vacation trips with his wife Elaine and sons Kevin and Joe, traveling to national and state parks across the US. He spent a lot of time hunting, and shared his expertise by teaching hunter safety classes for 20 years. He established the shotgun novice hunt at Buckhorn State Park, and worked with the KAMO (Kids and Mentors Outdoors) deer camp at the Mackenzie Center. In his spare time, he continued liking to be outdoors, planting trees, keeping his very own garden, and playing summer volleyball. He also enjoyed wood working, being vocal during Packer games, and being a silly grandpa.
Joe is survived by his wife, Elaine; sons, Thomas of Milwaukee, Kevin (Paulina) of Chippewa Falls, WI and Joseph of Berkley, CA; daughters, Maria (Michael Mack) Olson of Vienna, VA and Andrea Verdi of Atlanta, GA; brother, Michael (Mary) Kochanski of Greenfield, WI and his grandchildren, Jarrett, Kaileen, Ethan, Anna, Isabella, Vivian and Benjamin. He was preceded in death by his parents.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Friends of Buckhorn State Park or Friends of Roche-a-Cri State Park.
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