Joseph Daniel Jendusa, 60, of Hartland, joined Jesus on April 29th surrounded by the love of family and friends at Angel’s Grace Hospice after living courageously for 36 years with multiple sclerosis (MS). He was an inspiration to all who knew him and was known for his warm smile, devotion to his family, and lengthy stories often laced with wit and wisdom.
Joe was born in Milwaukee on September 2, 1954, the eldest son of Jacob and Marian Jendusa (Uhler). As a child, Joe enjoyed adventures with his brother Dave and acting in magic shows. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he earned a BBA, and met his future bride of 38 years, Denise Jendusa (Colloton), while auditioning for a play. Joe won the role, and they were married in 1976. Shortly thereafter, Joe attended Marquette Law School where he experienced his first exacerbation of MS which caused him to redirect his professional aspirations. Joe later completed his Executive MBA at the University of Wisconsin and had a successful career in human resource management. Joe held executive positions with the Newell Corporation, Froedtert Memorial Hospital, served as the VP of Human Resources for Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and was the President and CEO of Jendusa Associates, a successful management consulting firm he formed with Denise.
In April of 1991, while serving in the United States Citizen Ambassador Program to the Soviet Union (appointed by President George Bush), Joe witnessed history unfold as he found himself in the middle of the infamous coup attempt to overthrow the Gorbachev regime in Leningrad and Moscow. Never one to miss a good story, Joe stood in the center of Leningrad’s St. Issac’s Square as the Communist flag of the Russian Republic was torn down and the red, white, and blue “freedom flag” was erected and unfurled over city hall. With tanks roaring through Moscow, Joe captured as much as he could on video and film which would later be shown on all major US broadcast companies and television affiliates.
But Joe’s greatest accomplishment remains being "Papa" to his children, Jacob “Jake” and Jennifer “Jenny” Jendusa of whom he would brag about to anyone who would listen. As a family, they participated in scouts, magic shows, annual New Year Eve pizza-making parties, and traveling abroad as the “Jendusa Family Travelers.” When not attending the children’s sports or school activities, Joe also enjoyed serving as a District Commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America and singing in his church’s choir. Heaven now has another Italian tenor…
Joe is survived by his wife, Denise, children Jake and Jenny, brother Dave, aunt Provie Jendusa, sister and brother in-law Lynn and Roy Duvall, and a myriad of other precious relatives and friends. The family wishes to thank the National MS Society-Wisconsin Chapter, Dr. Mohan Dhariwal, Dr. John McGuire, & Dr. Robert Krippendorf from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Stanya Smith from Waukesha Memorial’s MS Clinic, Dr. Patrick O’Malley from Angel’s Grace Hospice, and all of their collective staff for their outstanding care of Joe as he lived gracefully with MS.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the family are appreciated.