Joseph Parent, 86, of Baileys Harbor, died peacefully at his home on Sunday, May 8, 2022, after several months of illness.
He was born March 20, 1936 in Sturgeon Bay, the son of Homer Parent and Luella (Mann) Parent. Joe was baptized and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Baileys Harbor. He attended the Baileys Harbor Grade School, and graduated from Gibraltar High School with the class of 1954. The following year, he married his high school sweetheart Doris Uhlemann on September 10, 1955 at Immanuel Lutheran Church. He and Doris shared 28 years of marriage. Together, the young couple raised three boys, Steve, Mike and Jim. As a family, they always took the opportunity to boat, travel, and attend the boys’ many sporting events. Joe was an avid baseball pitcher, playing in High School and the Door County League. His pitching style mirrored all of the other aspects of his life….strong, fast, and just wild enough to keep his opponents guessing and off balance! He tried out for the Milwaukee Braves and was offered an opportunity to play on their Single A farm team in Georgia, but he turned down the opportunity to stay in Baileys Harbor and begin his life as a husband, father, and businessman. In his early years he was very active in the community as a member of the Baileys Harbor Lions Club, donating his time, equipment, and materials to make the town of Baileys Harbor a better place.
From the time he was a young boy, he worked alongside his father, Homer, in the family excavation business, Parent Construction Company, in Baileys Harbor. It was here that he developed his legendary work ethic. As his father’s health began to fail, Joe took over the business. Beginning as a small excavation and land clearing company, Joe ran the company for nearly seven decades and expanded into trucking, driveway and foundation installation, blasting and quarrying operations, major earth moving projects, dock and seawall construction, installation of sewer and water utilities, septic systems, construction of sewage treatment plants all over northeast Wisconsin, landscaping, redi-mix concrete, and the creation of major vacation and residential developments such as Heritage Lake Resort, The Oaks Condominiums, Harbor Terrace Condominiums, Lake Haven Condominiums, and many other projects. For many years, Parent Construction was one of the largest employers north of Sturgeon Bay and was seemingly involved in just about all of the development in Door County for well over a half century. Joe was a major Arctic Cat dealer when the snowmobile craze hit in the early 70’s. He built a successful Arctic Cat racing team that raced in Door County, other parts of the state, and the Upper Peninsula. For decades he sponsored the Parent Construction youth baseball team in the Stars of Tomorrow league in Sturgeon Bay. When it came to most things in life, especially business, he was fearless. He took on financial risk and jumped feet first into business ventures. He learned and adapted as he went along, and more often than not, succeeded by sheer will and the force of his personality. He bent the rules when he had to, and he never, ever, quit at anything he did.
Joe married Suzanne Galligan in 1986, and they shared over 25 years of marriage. Together they enjoyed boating in both Wisconsin and Florida, motor home treks around the country, and winters at their home in Venice, Florida, until Suzanne’s sudden death in June of 2011.
Joe is survived by his sons, Steve (Dawn) Parent of Sturgeon Bay, Mike (Laura) Parent of Egg Harbor, and Jim (Pam Lent) Parent of Baileys Harbor; their mother, Doris Parent of Baileys Harbor; his brother, Bill (Megan) Parent of Saugatuck, MI; and sister, Linda (Rick) Chapracki of Littleton, CO. Suzanne’s children, Shelly Galligan of Delavan, WI, Kristen (Peter) Lipsey of Wilmette, IL, and Daniel (Erica) Galligan of Cedarburg, WI; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and his special friend, Connie Turriff. He was preceded in death by his wife, Suzanne; his parents, Homer and Luella; and his sister, Mary Ellen St. George.
A celebration of Joe’s life will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at Maxwelton Braes Golf Course in Baileys Harbor. Time of service and other details to be announced in the near future.
“Our family would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all those at Door County Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care, and Unity Hospice, who showed Joe exceptional kindness and compassion in the care given to him in his final weeks”.
Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. & Door County Crematory LLC in Sturgeon Bay are assisting the Parent family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Joseph may be shared with his family through his tribute page at www.huehnsfuneralhome.com.