Joseph Robert Hookham, 54, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and went to join his sister Mary, and parents Louise and Fred Hookham, Sr., along with many aunts and uncles in heaven. Throughout Joe’s journey in life, he showed the world that whatever your qualifications, you can live life to the fullest--giving back through work, playing sports, and most importantly, showing love and kindness to everyone you meet. Joe left us with a better understanding of faith, perseverance, acceptance, gratitude and love.

Born August 1, 1965, the youngest of nine children to Louise and Fred Hookham, Sr., formerly of Milton, Wisconsin. Joe entered this world with Down Syndrome and his family’s lives were forever changed. We have learned and grown so much from Joe. Our parents were told they had two choices back in that time: put Joe in an institution or take him home to love and raise him like all their other eight children, to have hopes, dreams and expectations. Our parents made the best decision: he came home to his family and lived a full happy life!

Joe was an exceptional man, kind, loving, solid work ethic, well-mannered, giving, unselfish, funny, and smart. A gift from God, Joe taught us what matters most in life: family, love, and helping one another, that in life, the little things are the big things. Joe inspired our family and life choices through his gifts of love to us. Even in Joe’s death, he is changing the way we see the world and how another person will, through the gift of cornea donation.

Joe loved his huge family, ice cream, and parties of any kind. He also loved animals, dancing, go-karting, three-wheeling, snowmobiling, bus travel trips, meeting new people, wine coolers, the Dukes of Hazzard, country music, the Badgers and Packers, John Denver and Eagles music, the Karate Kid movies, Hawaiian shirts, and bright-colored cars.

Joe was employed at Kandu Industries for over 29 years.

He enjoyed participating in Special Olympics bowling, basketball, and volleyball.

Joe leaves his legacy of love to all who knew him, especially his sisters, and brothers along with their families and special friends including: Holly Daum, her children, Kayla Daum, Valerie Daum and Nick Munger;

Carol and Jeff Johnson, their children Aleda Johnson and Brian Thomas, Adam Johnson, Ian & Anna Johnson (Isaac);

Edwin and Mary Hookham their children Matthew and Mary Hookham, Timothy and Amanda Hookham, (Isabelle), Samuel and Kelly Hookham

Nancy and David Bickle, their children Jenny and Matt Easley (Taylor & Adrian Anglemyer), Katie and Dick Kvapil;

Mary Zagone (2008) James Zagone, their children Philip and Aimee Zagone, (Anthony, Lillian), Jaime and David Rook;

Tom and Sandy Hookham, their children Angie and Dan Schultz (Dani & Jessie Skinner ((Logan, Harper)), Amy and Kray Brown (Kyler, Kyson);

Bill and Barb Hookham, their children Ben and Nadia Hookham (Caleb, Brynn) Becky Hookham (Easton);

Fred, Jr. and Kathy Hookham, their children, Sharon and Jim Moeller (Mackenzie, Aaron) Fred III and Kim Hookham (Jacob, Sawyer) Julie and Gregg Mollen (Quinn), Mike and Charisse Hookham (Devin, Noah) Godmother Joan and Don Schmidt, Aunt Irene and Uncle Joe Pesek, and many lovely first, second and third cousins to list!

Special thanks to the loving and caring crew at the Bethesda Group Home in Watertown, Sandra, Ann, Tammy, Jennifer, Alexis and all of the staff as well as the end of life care at the Watertown Hospital with Nurse Glenna, Nurse Jessie, Dr. Richardson and Dr. Goyal, and all the staff.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to:

Bethesda Homes in Watertown.

Please join us in celebrating Joe’s life on Saturday, Sept. 21, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Janesville. Visitation 9:30 — 11 a.m., Service at 11 a.m., followed by burial at Mt. Olivet, luncheon at 12:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Janesville.

Albrecht Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, Milton

(1) comment


As a little kid Joe was my neighbor and the only kid my age out in the country of Milton, WI for many years.

We became good friends and for at least one summer pretty inseparable. We both had BB guns and would spend hours exploring his farm, our old barn, and would sit behind a grain bin and shoot sparrows and at anything else that moved. We never hit much but it was always a fun contest. In fact I think most of the time there were not even BB’s in the guns. 😂

I remember him as a gentle person and someone who I just plain liked and learned from. His downs didn’t matter to me, but eventually I grew older, and as kids do I moved on to other friendships.

I also remember how fierce his parents and siblings were about protecting Joe and ensuring that he always was safe and loved.

The Hookham’s were super interesting to me — as an only child this large collection of brothers and sisters inspired awe, and Joe was always seemingly at the center (at least in my kid-mind).

This is one of the most positive and awesome obituaries and I am so glad that Joe lived a long and great life with his loving family all around.

Thanks for the fun times and lessons learned Joe. ❤️❤️

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