Joseph Robert Hottenstein

Cherished son and beloved brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend, teacher and coach, Joseph Robert Hottenstein passed away in his home on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 after a likely heart failure event at the young age of 34. Joe was the younger son of Howard and Laurie Hottenstein of Antigo, Wisconsin, and leaves an older brother Howie and his parents behind.

Joseph was born on February 28, 1989 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, moving with his family to Antigo six months later. He attended Spring Valley Elementary and Antigo Middle and High Schools. He was also homeschooled for a period of elementary school. As a child, Joe enjoyed playing baseball and chess. He excelled in school and as a teenager, lettered in football several times. Joe was named Athlete of the Week on WSAW. His fellow football teammates nicknamed him Beef. He also participated in some wrestling and track. He started going to chess tournaments with the Marion chess team from about fifth grade through high school and won many matches and awards. He graduated from Antigo High School in 2007 with high honors and decided to pursue a career in teaching, enrolling at UW-Stevens Point, never once wavering on his major.

At UW-Stevens Point, Joe continued his love for learning, football, chess, board games, video games, food, and A&W root beer. He loved his family and his little cat, Spunky. Instead of using his knowledge of math and physics to make a six figure income, he chose to enter a career of education at Westfield High School in which he could pass on his love of learning to the next generation. He loved teaching in Westfield and would often express how happy he was with his school district and all of his students’ achievements. Joe’s gentle and calm demeanor were perfect for teaching Geometry, Physics and Physical Science, and he went out of his way to make sure all of his students felt confident & comfortable with the material. After school, he coached football and the chess club, which he established in 2014 for his students, meeting twice weekly, creating a supportive environment and a sense of belonging for any student who wanted to join. He wore many hats at school whenever needed, helping as a basketball scoreboard operator and announcer, ACT Prep supervisor, National Honor Society selection committee member, class advisor, South Central Conference Math Team coach, and was a mentor to younger teachers. He was lovingly referred to as “the gentle giant” by his colleagues and as Mr. H by his students.

Though Joe was successful at many things, the most important part of Joe wasn’t what he did, it was who he was. He loved to joke around and make people laugh with his great sense of humor. He gave the best big bear hugs that warmed your heart. Joe had a kind and gentle spirit that made him go out of his way to do that special something like buying strawberries and making them into jam for his aging grandmother. He loved Christmas and found great joy in giving gifts and homemade chocolates. In spite of his busy schedule, he made time to have his brother come and spend the weekend, host a family Thanksgiving, or drive all the way to Fond du Lac to have pizza with his aunt and uncle. Family, which included anyone in his life, was very important to Joseph. Joe made the world a better place and will leave a hole that no one else can fill.

The family has decided to have a private celebration of life with family and friends in Antigo sometime this summer as well as one with his Westfield “family” sometime in September.

It is with grieving hearts that his surviving family members, mother, father, brother, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, colleagues and students say good-bye. He left us way too soon and will be forever held in our hearts and memories until we meet again.