Gary "Joe" Wouters, age 81, of Pulaski, passed away unexpectedly Sunday, June 6, 2021 after spending time at his beloved cottage in Townsend, WI. He was born June 4, 1940 in Green Bay, son of the late Raymond and Carmen (DeRoost) Wouters and was a graduate of Green Bay West High School, Class of 1958. Joe excelled in athletics both in high school and college, including having won the WIAA State Championship in the Shot Put his senior year.
After graduation, Joe earned his Bachelor's Degree in Education from St. Norbert’s College. Joe taught Biology for three school districts, including Howard-Suamico where he taught at Bay Port High School as well as coached Track & Field and Football. Joe married Judy Nejedlo in September of 1962 and the couple was blessed with 4 children. In 1965, Joe and Judy purchased the 616 Club in Green Bay, WI and sponsored the champion 616 Club softball team. Joe was both a player and manager on the team from 1958 to 1973. The 616 Club was the first in a line of several taverns owned and run by Joe and Judy including The Abbey Bar, Pulper’s Pub, The Office Lounge, and Pla-Mor Lounge. In keeping with Joe’s love of softball, sports and the tavern business, Joe and Judy purchased Wouters’ Front Bar & Grill and Softball Park which he operated until 2001 after which his sons Mike and Jim took over the business. Joe continued to work at the bar up until his passing.
Joe was avid storyteller, always sharing highlights of his past life experiences. It didn’t matter who you were or the walk of life you came from, Joe was your best friend and your family. Joe’s wit, smile and laughter always filled the air around you. Joe could frequently be found stirring up his famous chili, enjoying his favorite drinks, mowing the lawn, watching his Brewers and Packers and most of all, enjoying his "booze cruises" around the Flowage honking his air horn at everyone in sight. He would never miss a summer weekend up north at his cottage on the Sand Bay, near Sturgeon Bay from the 1970’s to the late 1990’s and thereafter at his cottage on the Townsend Flowage. Every moment cherished with Joe, every life lesson shared, and every smile that he inspired will forever live ingrained in our hearts. Joe will be missed very deeply by his friends, coworkers, and especially by his family.
Joe is survived by his children: Joseph (Trish) Wouters, Wendy (Dan) Rabehl, Michael (Maureen) Wouters and James (Vicki) Wouters; 11 grandchildren: Weston, Logan, Elyse, Nolan, Ariana, Taylor, Ava, Josie, Ricky, Rylan and Lincoln; his brother, Dave Wouters; a sister, Mary Carviou (Dale); the mother of his children, Judy Wouters; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many close friends.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Nancy Wouters, sister-in-law, Patty (Kaftan) Wouters, brother-in-law, Ron Carviou and former wife, Patti (Berken) Wouters.
A celebration of Joe's life will be held at Wouters' Front Bar & Grill (3171 School Lane, Suamico, WI) on the ball diamond July 1st at 6:30pm.
In lieu of flowers or other expressions of sympathy, memorials directed to the family are appreciated.
Joe's family would like to thank all of the kind neighbors in Townsend that came to his aid at his time of need and thank the Schlender family for all of their help at the cottage throughout the years.