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

Joseph Henry

Joseph Nault was large in stature and at times even be larger than life, It will be his kind heart that truly had no bounds for which he will be remembered most. He was a devoted father who was always so much fun to be around no matter what he was doing. Joe was vibrant and someone who squeezed every last drop out of living each day, even preparing a feast for his family the night before he died. When it came to things he was passionate about, Joe could be feisty. In some situations, he was fiercely determined and never backed down from a challenge. A true blessing in the lives of many, Joe will be dearly missed and warmly remembered.

Following the end of the Second World War in 1945, people expected a better life than they had before the war because the Great Depression caused hardship and poverty worldwide throughout the thirties. Although there were many shortages in jobs and housing for those returning from war, couples married and started families at an unprecedented rate, It was during this time of change in America that there was much to celebrate in the family of Donald Joseph and Louise Ann (Keffer) Nault. It was on the 21st of March in the year 1946 that they welcomed the birth of their son, Joseph Henry. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Joseph was the older of two children in his family that included his younger brother, Walter. Despite being so very different in many ways in both their appearance and behavior, the brothers were very close.

When he was just seven, Joe’s family moved to Milwaukee, the city he would call home throughout the majority of his life. He attended Saints Peter & Paul Elementary School on Milwaukee’s East Side and graduated from Riverside High School. In his younger days Joseph could be described as a hellion spending time hanging with his friends, crusising all around the East Side doing their fair share of drinking, . Joe made friends easily, and had several life-long friends. These are the guys he enjoyed his passion for hunting and fishing with.

Life was forever changed for Joe when he married a young woman he grew up with. Her name was Christine LeClaire, and it was on April 6, 1968, that they became husband and wife. Their daughter, Nina, was born in October of that year and in order to support his family, Joe enlisted in the Army a short time after becoming a father. He served during the Vietnam War and although he initially extended his tour of duty, he later left after the Army did not fulfill what they had promised. Although his marriage to Christine later ended in divorce, Joe was forever grateful for the daughter they shared.

A little bit down the road, Joe married a woman who grew up in the same neighborhood as he did – Deborah Pedigo. They exchanged their vows on November 4, 1972 and were blessed with a beautiful daughter, Lisa. After fours years of marriage, Joe and Deborah parted ways. Joe was always so good with babies and little children. Still missing the closeness of everyday living with Nina, he was then faced with the same saddess of not getting to be a part of Lisa’s everyday life .

However, Joe longed for the family life. He later met and married Susan Brown on September 8, 1979. She lived across the street from O’Riley’s Pub, a tavern on the East Side where Joe and his dog were frequent patrons. Susan couldn’t help but notice the drunken dog walking sideways leaving the bar with Joe. Susan worked in education and had the chance to teach in Northcentral Wisconsin. Since Joe loved to fish and hunt those years in the Northwoods were some of his most tranquil., While in Antigo, he and Susan celebrated the birth of their daughter, Jessica, in May 1981–“Opening day” but he never held it against her. . Following job opportunities Joe and Sue moved around quite a bit. As a result, Joe worked in a variety of maintenance jobs. . His shifts allowed him a lot of time to parent Jessica. They were very close. Father and daughter shared such special times each day, teaching her to ride a bike, catch a fish, enjoy a good family party. .

As a father, Joe was second to none as he loved spending time with each of his girls. He especially enjoyed the few times they were all together up north. Joe and his girls made memories to last a lifetime when they went to the local fairs or the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis. He was so much fun to be around and since he was large in stature, he was often thought of as a big teddy bear or even a jolly Santa Claus with a huge heart.

Over the years, Joe enjoyed a variety of things. He was an outdoor enthusiast who loved sharing the experience of fishing and hunting a variety of animals including turkey, duck, and geese using either a gun or a bow. He enjoyed music and loved to sing. For years when Up North he was a member of the Antigo Community Theater and a singing group, Of Chorus. He played ” Lord Joseph” in madrigals and donned a Santa outfit for the church children.

Joe was a master when it came to cooking and grilling, His family and friends always looked forward to his mouth-watering meals. He was also known to be a Green Bay Packer fan.

Later in life, Joe continued to make the most of the days he was given. After he and Susan divorced in 1994. he lived in Milwaukee with his mother. Joe worked hard helping Louise with apartment duties until his health no longer allowed it. After developing a number of heath issues including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and a knee injury that required extensive surgery, Joe was eventually unable to work. He later developed congestive heart failure that left him struggling throughout the sunset of his life.

In everything he did, Joseph Nault colored the world around him with his zest for life that was contagious to so many others. He was strong and determined and even as his declining health left him in extreme pain, Joe was always so much fun to be around. His mother was his steadfast and devoted companion. Every morning they watched mass and also enjoyed a game of cards, talking about the days events.

It was also easy to see that his daughters were the light of his life and it is the children and grandchildren he leaves behind who will be his greatest legacy.

Joseph Henry Nault died on January 21, 2011. Joe’s family includes his mother, Louise Nault; daughters, Nina, Lisa, and Jessica; five grandchildren; as well as other relatives and friends. Joe was preceded in death by his father Donald and his brother Walter. Family and friends will gather at the Funeral Home, Tuesday, January 25 from 6:00 p.m. until time of the Memorial Service at 7:00 p.m. Suminski Family Funeral Homes, Suminski Weiss 1901 N. Farwell Avenue Milwaukee, WI, 414-276-5122. Please visit where you can leave a favorite memory or photo or sign the online guestbook.

Past Comments

Pamela and Michael Brown

Joe was alway a pleasant person to be around. He loved his family. He will be missed by many.

Sue Weiland

I knew Joe from Riverside HS and later around the East Side. He was everything the Life Story says. I remember he had a Thunderbird that was as big as a boat and the back seat seemed to wrap around you. Joe did everything larger than life. All of the girls wanted to go out with him…he was so ‘cute’ as we said back in 1965. I knew his first wife Chris and their daughter Nina. I know he will be missed by many. Rest in Peace, Joe.

Deborah Pedigo Mason

I went to kindergarten with Wally and throughout grade school and highschool knew both Joe and Wally from our gatherings at Maryland Avenue School grounds and while attending Riverside High School.

Joe and I became reacquainted while he was home on leave while serving in Vietnam. We began an 8-year relationship that would lead to our marriage in Waukegan, Illinois on January 4, 1972. By the way Big Dave was our best man. During our marriage we had a beautiful daughter named Lisa Lynn born on July 31, 1973. From the moment she was born till this day she has a striking resemblance to her father and grandmother. Due to the strain of the death of both of my parents within an 11 month period, and Joe’s struggles in healing from his service in Vietnam our marriage ended November 13, 1978. My one regret is that Joe’s father Donald Nault did not live to see our daughter. Donald was a wonderful man whom I greatly admired and a wonderful example to his two sons.

Our daughter Lisa maintained a relationship with her father over the years, and thankfully he had the opportunity to see the two grandchildren that she would give us.

Lisa Nault Soto

Happy Birthday daddy. I miss you so much. I think about you every day. Please know that I will always love you.

Deena Nault-Wright


I’m Walter’s oldest daughter Deena, and even though I have no memory of Joe, my mother Susan spoke highly of him. May you rest in peace uncle Joe.

Dave McGrath

Joe and Wally were both friends of mine at SSPP. I lost track of both of them—and—am sorry to see that they led such short lives. The Notre Dame nuns will watch over them—and—keep them in line in Heaven!

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