Joseph A. Perez “Coach”, age 85, Appleton, passed away on Thursday, November 8, 2018. He was born on October 9, 1933 in Waukesha, WI to the late Joseph C. and Dorothy (McDonald) Perez. Joe married Lucy Staack on August 22, 1959.
Joe graduated from Milwaukee Boys Tech and went on to receive a B.S and M.F.A. from UW-Milwaukee where he also lettered in Track and Basketball. After graduating, Joe went on to pursue both of his passions: Art and Coaching. He taught art at Wilson Jr. High and Appleton East High School for a total of 48 years. Joe's metal artwork has been displayed in numerous juried art shows across the county. He was the head Boys and Girls Cross Country coach at Appleton East for 51 years, where he won a State team Championship, countless Conference and Sectional championships, produced a State Individual Champion and was inducted into the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame. He also coached Basketball and Track at Appleton East for many years. Joe had a passion for all sports, especially golf.
Joe is the Beloved Husband of Lucy Sohner (Staack) Perez for 59 years; Loving Father of Julie (Greg) Soper and John (Mary Lou) Perez; Dear Grandpa of Carrissa (Sam) Perez, Lexie (Josh) Perez, Lauren (Andrew) Hartinger and Alison Bailey; and Great Grandpa of Charly and Ruth. He is also survived by his brother Richard (Jean) Perez, foster sisters Ann and Sue Rosebery, brother-in-law John (Susan) Staack and sister-in-law Betsy Vittinghoff. Proud Uncle to Hillary (Todd) Armstrong, Jeff (Janeen) Staack, Hans (Amy) Rupert, Betsy (Ricardo) Gomez, Maggie (Michael) Moninski, Katy (Travis) Schroeder, Tim Staack, Chad Gill, Patrick (Elissa) Perez, Steven (Julie) Perez, Pam (Dave) Beay, Paula Perez, Lisa Perez and Teresa (Paul) Perez. He is further survived by his Great Nieces and Nephews; John, Bridget, Kara, Evelyn, Patrick, Jack, Stella, Zizi, Mars, Abigail, Rebecca, Alison, Josephine and Jessica along with many close friends and the thousands of students and athletes he had the privilege of teaching and coaching over the past 60 years.
Joe was preceded in death by his father Joseph C. Perez, mother Dorothy (McDonald) Perez, sister-in-laws: Susan (Staack) Gill and Sarah (Staack) Roll and brother-in-law Karl Vittinghoff.
A Funeral Service for Joe will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 17 at SAINT BERNADETTE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 2331 Lourdes Drive, Appleton, with Father Jon Thorson officiating. Visitation will be held at the Brettschneider Trettin Nickel Funeral Chapel, 606 N Oneida Street, Appleton, on Friday from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and again on Saturday at the church from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service. Private interment will be at Highland Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, the family request that memorials be made to the Joe Perez Scholarship Fund which is awarded to one deserving Appleton East Cross Country runner each year. Donations can be sent to: The Joe Perez Scholarship Fund, within the Appleton Education Foundation, 122 E College Ave, Suite 1-B, Appleton, WI 54911.