John Daniel Hapka, Whitewater, WI
August 19, 1934 - August 7, 2017
John Daniel Hapka entered into eternal life on August 7, 2017 at the Edgerton Care Center in Edgerton, WI, where he had resided since January 14, 2014. John was born in Milwaukee on August 19, 1934 to Jon and Angeline (Franckowiak) Hapka. John’s father, a World War I veteran, died in 1934, leaving Angeline with one daughter and four sons. In 1937, she moved her family to a farm in Whitewater. John lived on that farm until he married Shirley Stone Hapka on July 28, 1962 and moved to their home on Jefferson Street. John graduated from Whitewater City High School in 1952. He was looking forward to his 65th class reunion and his 83rd birthday on August 19, 2017. He served in the Army National Guard for nine years. John proudly worked at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater from 1952 to 1990. He began in the maintenance department, cleaning both Old Main and the Roseman Campus School from 1952 to 1963. In 1964, John established the Central Receiving Stores department. Upon his retirement, John was honored by Chancellor James Connor, Congressman Les Aspin, and Governor Tommy Thompson for his many years of dedicated service. John’s faith was extremely important to him. He and his family joined St. Patrick’s Church when he was 4 years old, often making the trek across town to attend services, even during the harshest winter months. John remained an active member of St. Patrick’s Church throughout his life. Through the years. he was grand knight of the Whitewater Knights of Columbus, president of the Holy Name Society, and president of the parish council. John also helped to run the popular St. Patrick’s Church doughnut fundraiser for several years and served as the parish’s maintenance and janitorial lead from 1952 until 2003. John was a passionate animal rescuer, caring for many wild and domestic animals throughout his lifetime. His cats were the cornerstone of his family life, and he also enjoyed feeding the birds, raccoons, skunks, and opossums who passed through his yard over the years. John was a longtime sports fan and supporter of UW-Whitewater athletics, including the football and basketball programs. He believed in community service and donated many hours to the Whitewater Public Library while also supporting the Whitewater Food Pantry through food drives and the “Plant A Row For The Hungry” program.
John is survived by his wife, Shirley; his two children, Kathy Brady and Thomas Hapka of Whitewater; son-in-law Paul Brady of Fort Atkinson; his granddaughter and family: Melody Brady Martin and her husband Aaron and their son Maxwell of Fort Atkinson; his grandson: Ian Brady of Florence, OR; and his brother, Anthony (Sharon) Hapka of Milwaukee. He is also survived by eight nieces and nephews: James Thornton of Hillsboro, WI; Steve Thornton (Betty) of Whitewater and their sons, Mark and Jeff; Floyd Thornton (Anita) of Evansville and their sons, David and Danny; Lisa (Jim) Bailey of Milwaukee and their daughters, Miranda and Erin; and Joseph Hapka of Milwaukee. John is also survived by his cherished cats, Bootsie and Packer, as well as his grand-dog, Riley. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister Jenny (Carl) Thornton; his brothers: Julius, Robert and Daniel; and his niece, Judy Thornton Chapman. John was also preceded in death by generations of beloved cats, including Kitter, Fluffy, Jac, Henrietta, Garf, Fuzzy, Trouble, Roserock, Felix, Vinnie, Smokie, Buddy, Spatz, and Mama.
Visitation will be held on Friday, August 11 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Nitardy Funeral Home in Whitewater. On Saturday, August 12 at St. Patrick’s Church in Whitewater, a rosary will be recited at 8:30 a.m., followed by a 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. visitation, and an 11 a.m. funeral Mass. Burial will take place at Calvary Cemetery after the funeral luncheon at Berry Hall. The community is invited to join the family after the burial for a 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. reception at 115 N. Franklin Street, the home of John’s daughter, Kathy. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, or LifeBeyondBrainInjury.org, a fund established for John’s son, Thomas, a brain injury survivor.
The family wishes to extend their thanks and appreciation to the staff of the Edgerton Care Center for the care John received.