Braun, Joseph G.
Joseph (Coach) Braun of Neenah, age 101, passed away at home on Friday, October 11th, surrounded by his family. Coach Braun was born in Algoma, Wisconsin on November 18th, 1911.
"Coach" graduated from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls in 1934 with a degree in Education. While at River Falls he lettered in football and baseball and was captain of both teams.
Following college he briefly played semi-professional baseball and football.
He taught math and science and coached for over 35 years at Frederic, Chippewa Falls and Neenah. He loved teaching and coaching and guiding young people, including his children, in their character development.
He served as a Lieutenant in the US Navy during WWII in the Pacific Theater.
In 1947, he started the Neenah summer youth baseball/softball program and the Neenah High School baseball program. He was given the nickname "Jungle Joe," though this was not said to his face, since he wore a WWII pith helmet as he traveled on his black skinny-wheel bike, from city park to city park, overseeing the summer youth baseball program.
In 1983 he was inducted into the River Falls Athletic Hall of Fame.
In 2008 Coach Braun was inducted into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame for starting the youth baseball program in Neenah and for excellence in coaching and meritorious service to the game of baseball in Wisconsin, and a plaque with his name on it is mounted on the wall at Miller Park. There is also a sign at the Neenah High School Baseball Field recognizing this achievement.
In retirement he volunteered as a tutor in the Neenah Schools' English as a second language (ESL) program.
Joe loved fishing, gardening and golf, playing his last games at the age of 100.
He was a member of the Neenah Club.
He was preceded in death by his wife, the love of his life, Helen; his son-in-law Joe McCaughey, his great grand-daughter Hannah, and his sisters Mary and Anne.
He is survived by his children: William (Peggy) Braun, Evergreen, Colorado; Marigen (Russell) Carpenter: Beverly McCaughey; and JoEllen (David) Wollangk, all of Neenah, and their families: 15 grandchildren and 34 great grandchildren. His is also survived by his sister, Helen Horak, of Kewaunee, and many beloved nieces and nephews.
This wonderful man will be missed terribly by his family and our Fox Valley Community.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, October 17, at the First Presbyterian Church, 200 Church Street, Neenah, with visitation beginning at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to ThedaCare at Home Hospice, or the Neenah Library.
Westgor Funeral Home
205 W. Doty Ave.
The family would like to thank the ThedaCare at Home nurses, especially Mary, for their exceptional care and compassion during Joe's last months.
Published in Appleton Post-Crescent from Oct. 13 to Oct. 14, 2013