Joseph W. Darcey, 96, of Watertown passed away on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at the Rainbow Hospice Inpatient Center.
Joe was born on December 25, 1923 in Watertown, the son of Francis and Loretta (Dolan) Darcey. He married Sharon Flanagan-Holthaus on May 2, 1993 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church and the couple enjoyed 26 years of marriage. He proudly served our country in the United States Army for 3 years, also serving in World War II. He was a lifelong member of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church. Joe was a 1942 graduate of Watertown High school, and later graduated from UW Madison in 1949 with a degree in Animal Science. While at UW Madison he helped start the Phi Kappa Fraternity, an Irish Catholic fraternity that still exists today. He started Darcey Rent-A-Cow Inc., a business of leasing and selling dairy cattle throughout the United States, and he and his wife started the Joseph and Sharon Darcey Foundation over twenty years ago giving scholarships to students of Watertown High School, Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, IA and the University of Wisconsin in Madison each year. Joe was a giving man, he would give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it, he was philanthropic, and truly loved his community. Joe worked quietly behind the scenes not looking for recognition for things that he did. He was the longest term member of the Watertown Elks Lodge, a member of the Rotary Club, Watertown Arts Council, Jolly Boys Investment Club, Agri-Business Club and enjoyed leading the St. Patrick’s Day parade in his leprechaun suit. Joe was an avid Wisconsin sports fan; he enjoyed traveling the world, driving, and enjoying a perfect Korbel Brandy Manhattan with 2 cherries- typically one never having more than 2 cocktails. Above all he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends and will be dearly missed by all who were blessed to have known him.
Joe is survived by his wife Sharon, step-children: Jill Holthaus; Jeff Holthaus; Jon Holthaus, and his sister Rosemary Augsburger. He is also survived by a number of nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents and siblings: Jeanne, John, Tom, and Kathleen.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Joe will be held at 11:00am on Thursday, January 30, 2020 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church with Celebrant Fr. Patrick Wendler and Concelebrant Fr. Thomas Marr. A visitation will be held from 4:00-7:00pm on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at the Pederson-Nowatka Funeral Home in Watertown and also at the church on Thursday from 10:00am until the time of service. A graveside service with full military honors will follow the service at St. Bernard’s Catholic Cemetery.