Joel Van Stechelman - Departed on Feb 07, 2018 - Green Bay, Wisconsin
Joel Van Stechelman - Departed on Feb 07, 2018 - Green Bay, Wisconsin

Joel Van Stechelman

Born in Minot, North Dakota on Feb 07, 1963

Died on Feb 07, 2018 and resided in Green Bay, Wisconsin

On Wednesday, February 7, 2018, his 55th birthday, Joel Van Stechelman got up out of his chair without the help of any of his caregivers and took God’s hand and walked into Heaven. The heavy chains of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) restrain him no longer.

Joel was born February 7, 1963, to John and Janice (Erickson) Van Stechelman.  He grew up on Neufeld Street, attending Jackson Grade School, Franklin Junior High, and graduating from Premontre High School with the class of 1981 where he participated in football and hockey.  Joel’s charismatic smile became the face of the Cadets, gracing the front of promotional pamphlets for years.  The Van Stechelman home was the hub of neighborhood activity, with five brothers, a sister, the Erickson cousins and all the neighborhood gathering in the kitchen or basement.  The friends Joel made in his youth remained his band of brothers throughout his life.

After high school, Joel attended UWEC and UWGB, graduating with a degree in biology.  His early 20’s was spent as a “hot shot”, fighting fires out west mainly in Wyoming. When he returned to Green Bay, he and his brother Jerry owned and operated Green Bay’s Perfect Painters.  The two worked side by side for many years and were known for keeping the historic homes in Astor Park looking sharp. 

A natural mentor, Joel received his teaching certificate later in life and enjoyed substitute teaching and coaching young children especially Mini-Dribblers. 

While Joel played many roles, his favorite was being a father.  He adored his four children, Jamie, Stephany, Karstin and Haley.  Even when times were tough, he would gladly sacrifice to buy them the perfect homecoming dress or pair of basketball shoes.  They were his pride and joy.  His joy only multiplied when he became a grandfather to Keegan, Case, Breckyn, Kennady & Sawyer due in May 2018.

He enjoyed the simple things; fishing with his family, campfires, cookouts, ice skating, tailgating, listening to punk rock music on a turntable, a cold beer and both giving and receiving hugs.

Along the way, Joel found the time to give back with charitable work donating his time and skills to Walleyes for Tomorrow. He went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure each event was successful. This meshed well with his spirit of wanting to leave this world better than he found it for his children and future generations to enjoy as much as he did. He was honored for his perpetual volunteerism with a rock reef located at Joliet Park and is forever hereafter named the Joel Van Stechelman Reef.

Five years ago, Joel was diagnosed with ALS.  While this cruel disease robbed him of his physical strength, it never crushed his spirit.  Family and friends reached out to offer comfort, but really, just soaked in the joy it was to be around Joel. 

But out of his hardship came one of his greatest blessings.  An old high school girlfriend, Katie Page, came to visit.  The pair immediately rekindled their romance.  Joel finally found the love of his life and the two cemented their love in ceremony.  It was in their home, in the comfort of her touch, and his children’s and close family, that he took his final breath, surrounded by true love that cannot be conquered by his parting. 

In addition to Katie, his children and grandchildren, he is survived by his father, John “Van”; his sister, Jennifer (Tom Bacon); brothers, Jay, Jon and Jim; sons-in-law, Cody & Dante, sisters-in-law, Monique & Abigail; nieces and nephews, Karuna, Violet, Branden, Cody, Kaila, Kalanai, Athena, Emerson; the Perret family; especially his mother-in-law, Mary; the Kamps family; Katie’s children: Matthew, Molly and Michael Page, aunts, uncles, cousins and too many friends to begin to mention and his loyal companion, Bruce.

He was greeted in heaven by his mother Jan and three brothers, Jerry, John Jr. and Jeffrey.

We cannot thank Unity Hospice and Dr. James enough for all the care and support they provided to Joel and his family the last months of his life. Nurse Julia and Social Worker Sarah, there are no words to express how you made Joel’s journey from earth to heaven a little easier for all of us who love him. Also, a sincere thanks to Joel’s friend, Dan Farah, for providing diagnostic and ongoing chiropractic treatment that kept Joel comfortable throughout his tough battle with ALS. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! May God bless you all!

To Joel’s weekly caregivers, that included family and friends, how does one repay the kindness and compassion you showed to Joel every week? To take time out of your busy lives was not lost on Joel and he counted all of you as his “miracles from heaven.” Thank you for showing us what being a friend really looks like.

Joel’s family will greet friends and relatives on Saturday, February 24, after 1:00 pm at Woodland Church, 760 Airport Rd., Oneida until time of service. Memorial service 3:00 pm Saturday at the church, celebrating the life and spirit of Joel’s incredible journey, the Rev. Bob Wetzler officiating. Please come join us in remembering this special man.

Celebration of Life: Saturday Feb 24, 2018, 3:00 pm at Woodland Church

Visitation: Saturday Feb 24, 2018, 1:00-3:00 pm at Woodland Church

Served by Proko-Wall Funeral Director: Bob Walczyk Jr

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