Joseph J. Ecker, 88
July 25, 1928
ó April 2, 2017

Joseph J. Ecker, 88Joseph J. Ecker, 88, of West Bend, passed away April 2, 2017, peacefully at his home with his family by his side. He was born July 25, 1928, in Brillion to the late Joseph and Elizabeth (Steinmetz) Ecker.

After graduating Valedictorian from Brillion High School, he also graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BBA degree in marketing and merchandising. He began his career in 1950 as advertising and sales promotion manager for the Brillion Iron Works. Shortly after starting at the Brillion Iron Works, Joe married his beloved wife Shirley Ann Wenzel of Brillion on Jan. 15, 1955. They shared 62 years of wedded bliss as soul mates forever.

In 1958, he joined the Gehl Co. as advertising manager and in 1964 he was promoted to vice president and sales manager. In 1971, he was named vice president of marketing, a position he held until his retirement in 1992. During his 34-year career with the Gehl Co., he became a pioneer in agricultural marketing. His involvement with agricultural associations reflected his commitment to that industry. He was a charter member of the Natural Agri-Marketing association and received that associationís Robert S. Kunkel award for excellence in marketing as the 1980 National Agri-Marketing Man of the Year. His longtime career at Gehl Co. was punctuated by taking on the presidential role of international and managing director of Gehlís GMBH.

After his retirement from a full-time career, he did some marketing consulting for several companies.

Joseph was very active in several civic organizations in the West Bend area, including the West Bend Rotary Club. He was also a past-president of the Wend Bend Jaycees and a charter member and vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, as well as Toastmasters. Always interested in music, Joe was an original member and former board director of the River City Irregulars Community Band and a member of the River City Blaskapelle German Band. Besides these activities, he was a longtime director of the Cedar Community Foundation Board. He was also a former director of the Washington county Volunteer Center, and a member of the Board of Directors of the West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. for 27 years.

Joseph is survived by his beloved wife, Shirley Ann Ecker; three children, Mark (Jill) Ecker, Vicki (Greg) Jezak and Chris (Cameron) Hendrick; six grandchildren, R. Joseph Richardson, Nicole (Chris) Rosenberg, Kimberly (Andrew) Ecker, Christine (Brian) Sullivan, Cameron (Emily) Hendrick and Taylor (Scott) Papez.

He is preceded in death by his siblings, Robert Ecker, Frank Ecker, Elizabeth Austern and 4-month-old infant brother, William Ecker.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 5 p.m. Friday, April 7, at St Frances Cabrini (1025 S. Seventh Ave., West Bend, WI 53095) with the Rev. Justin Lopina presiding. Visitation will be at church from 3 p.m.  until the time of Mass. Entombment will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 8.

Please consider a memorial contribution to the American Cancer Society and to St. Frances Cabrini Parish of West Bend.

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staffs of Horizon Home Care and Hospice and Right at Home inhome care services for their loving and compassionate support. Special thanks to the Kramer Cancer Center in West Bend.

The Phillip Funeral Home of West Bend is assisting the family: 262-338-2050 or www.phillipfuneralhome.com.