obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00

Joseph Henry

Joseph Hajdu was the kindest, most caring man who delighted people with his warmth, sense of humor and generous nature. He was not someone consumed by material gains in life but by the satisfaction of putting his family and friends first, and he loved his family deeply with a large and benevolent heart.

The year was 1918, and our great nation was nearing the end of World War I, after four years of difficult and costly battle. It was a time of hope for so many, a hope for peace, and a hope for something better for our nation. In the town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, John and Catherine (Brucher) Hajdu had their own reason for hope with the birth of their son, Joseph Henry, on December 22, 1918.

Joe was born in the family home at 405 East North Avenue on the east side of Milwaukee. He had a very large family and was the sixth of thirteen children (only 11 actually made it to adulthood though). As the family grew, they moved to 1813 East Windsor Place, also affectionately known as “Windsor Castle.” His parents were both immigrants (his father from Hungary and his mother from Luxembourg), who came to the United States in search of a better life. Joseph’s father worked as an electrician at Wisconsin Electric Power Company while his mother was a busy homemaker. Sadly, Joseph was just 16 when his mother died.

Joseph received his education at Saints Peter and Paul Elementary School and St. John’s Cathedral High, where he graduated in 1936. He then took his first job working at a flower shop for a few years before following the same patriotic calling of other young men of the time, and enlisted in the U.S. Army on January 30, 1943. However, due to injuries he sustained in an accident, he was discharged eight months later on September 11, 1943.

Once home in Milwaukee, Joseph went to work at Aqua Chem (later became Cleaver Brooks Aqua Chemical) in the credit department. Joe was responsible for researching and analyzing financial information for potential clients. He was soon promoted to Credit Manager and worked with many different people, nationally and internationally, as he managed accounts from all over the world. He took great pride in his work and especially enjoyed many close friendships with his co-workers. After Joseph retired in 1990, he stayed in contact with many of the good friends he had made there.

Aside from his fulfilling career, Joseph pretty much had one hobby that he really enjoyed; he loved entering contests of any kind. Over the years, he won a number of prizes from contests, including a washer and dryer and a brand new Ford Thunderbird, which he won from the Chesterfield Cigarette contest – and he didn’t even smoke! In fact, after winning, he was featured in a publication, sitting in the car with a cigarette in his mouth. Every time he won something, it just fueled his passion to see what else he could win.

Joseph was a very charming fellow, always well dressed and professional; he had a natural social talent that always left people smiling. Joseph enjoyed talking with his neighbors and keeping up on the happenings in their east side community. He possessed a very generous spirit and never hesitated to help someone in need, which didn’t just include family, but others less fortunate too. However, Joseph found the greatest happiness in the company of his family, among whom many considered him their “favorite Uncle.” He also enjoyed spending time with his longtime friend, Sadie, whom he traveled to Florida with frequently.

Later in life, Joseph developed dementia and eventually had to leave “Windsor Castle,” to live at Milwaukee Catholic Home, where he received great care over the last 2 ½ years. After an accelerated decline in recent weeks, Joe died on Sunday, May 23, 2010, at the age of 91. All who knew and loved Joseph will treasure his memory.

Joseph was the beloved brother of Ruth Hajdu. Further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Visitation will be on Thursday, May 27, at Three Holy Women Parish – Holy Rosary Church, 2011 N. Oakland Avenue from 9:30 a.m. until time of the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery.

If desired, memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph’s Indian School ( P.O. Box 100, Chamberlain, SD 57326, or St. Lawrence Seminary High School, 301 Church Street, Mt. Calvary, WI 53057-0500. Please visit Joseph’s personal memory page at where you may sign his online guest book or share a memory with his family. Arrangements handled by Suminski Family Funeral Homes, Suminski/Weiss (414) 276-5122.

Past Comments

cyndee hughes

My memories of Uncle are too many to list,but my favorite time was riding in his convertable with the top down and lying in the back seat looking at the sky..I always had a convertible till the sunroofs came out doesn’t mess your hair as much. What I am most appreciative of is his love for my children..They feel more like his grandchildren than an uncle..Thank you Uncle Joe for the unconditional love you gave me all of my life. When Mel and I saw you in March and you pointed to my visitor’s pass and said”That’s what I need isn’t it?” It broke my heart, but showed me you still were you..The two men who most influenced my life are in Heaven now You and Cardinal Laghi..So here’s to you

Mil.Joe from The Md Gang thanks for the memories and the love. You will always be in our hearts and prayers.

Beth Hickman

Dearest Uncle Joe, A.K.A. Milwaukee Joe, A.K.A. Santa Claus (I know it’s you 🙂 ),

I want to enter these memories in the same fashion as you would, as difficult as it will be, I am not as witty or clever, but here it goes….

You know it truly is the little things in life that mean the most! I will never forget all my “first” with you:

Riding through Milwaukee in your Cadillac eating for the first time Hall cough drops as if they were m&ms…..haven’t had a cough since

Visiting Sadie’s son in Sheboyagan (I know I probably messed that spelling up) and having a bratwurst for the first time. That was the best “hotdog” ever!!

Trying a radish at “Princess” Sadie’s home. Those little red suckers can sure get to you!

Eating Sadie’s special ham and butter sandwich in Florida…. sounded awful but soon realized why you liked her so much. Pretty special “gal”

So much to thank you for….you truly made my 16th birthday special by taking me to Florida. I have always treasured the photos! My favorite moment was going to eat at “Fast Eddies”….Just how fast is Eddie? How fast would our food come? How fast could we eat it? How fast would the bill come….woah it’s ok you can slow down Eddie!!

Thank you for the visit to your vacation home. I loved finding the rock with fish eggs! You made me feel like an important explorer who made an important discovery. Then I received a package with a chemistry set and microscope! How magical!

Thank you for my visit to your home when I was ten. Aunt Louise and I giggled every morning to see my daily allowance of coins to spend! Which I know now was a life lesson…..those little things add up very quickly. I pick up every penny on the ground to this day and think of you.

Thank you for all the wonderful, magical packages….UPS thanks you also. The “Package Man” was my children’s favorite person. You made all year feel like Christmas. Any interest my children and I had was always wrapped up in those brown boxes. Every present had a witty note attached and we will never forget.

I loved all of our conversations over the years. As a child you always made me feel like a young lady with important things to say….yes we solved all the world’s problem on those drives in the Cadillac. As an adult I love how our phone calls started with how many nickles this was costing me….back to those coins again. I love how proud you were of me when I got “Unlimited long distance calls” for a flat rate. I love how you let me dream with you about business ideas, real estate,…. and shopping. Oh how we both love shopping. You are the only person I have ever known to go to a drug store and barder for all their clearance notebooks!

Most of all I love how in a crowded room you would catch my eye and send a wink. Better than any “I love you”!

Well in your words…..ok kiddo….’til we meet again

Love you

Maryland Beppy

Beth Hickman

I wanted to share my favorite story of Uncle Joe’s. He was so giving and he once told me this story of how he learned about being kind to others no matter the differences. When Uncle Joe was in elementary school the family did not have much money. He said he walked to school everyday and then one day….

A Jewish man who lived along the route who talked to Uncle Joe sometimes came out with a package. He handed it to Uncle Joe and said he remembered Uncle Joe’s First Communion was coming up and wanted to give him this present. It was a beautiful blazer to be worn on his special day.

Uncle Joe never forgot this act of kindness especially from a man with such a different backround.

Maybe this will help understand Uncle Joe’s love of sending his magical presents, he truly knew how it made all of us feel.

Joseph Hughes

Hey Uncle Joe,

I just want to thank you for always supporting me. You were there at my baptism to take on the role of being my Godfather, and also came to my First Communion. I really enjoyed all the chats we had and all your advise you gave me on our long walks in Milwaukee. You told me you thought of me like a son and I will never forget that.

My favorite memory is of you teaching me to gamble. You taught me to throw the coins against the wall outside your home. We both had a ball and it was great to have the time with you all alone.

Your gifts were always the best. I still have the microscope and the globe I gave to my Goddaughter, Josephine Louise. She is fascinated with maps so it seemed right to give the globe you gave me to her….keeping it with the “Joe’s”.

Thanks for being interested in my interest, my ideas, and overall just plain me….the other Joe.

I love you man!!

Your Godson,


Mary Lilly

Uncle Joe was a great encourager. So many times he would encourage me to keep on drawing and would give me drawing pads and pencils. His encouragment continued when my husband and I decided to homeschool our son Josh. He gave us a microscope and chemistry equipment to help us with schooling. Oh, how our son loved that microcope and doing all kinds of experiments. Thank you Uncle Joe for believing in us. You would be proud, he graduates this year Uncle Joe.

I love you Uncle Joe.

Mary Elizabeth Lilly

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