Joseph D. Lehnen, formerly of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, April 27, 2022

Joe Lehnen, 90, former resident of Prairie du Chien and Rotarian passed away at his home on Wednesday, April 27th, 2022, in Lakeville, Minnesota, following a brief illness. 


Born Joseph David Lehnen on January 24th, 1932. Son of Joseph H and Lucille (Winters) Lehnen in Dubuque, Iowa at the family home on Pinard Street. The 6th of 7 children Joe spent his early childhood surrounded by siblings, extended family, and neighborhood friends. He learned to appreciate education and hard work. He was a good student at Holy Ghost Junior High School and while at St. Columbkille High School he worked at the Dubuque Pack with his father. After an honorable discharge from his tour in the Korean War, he completed his undergraduate work at Loras College in Dubuque obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree. He earned the Degree of Master of Science in Social Work in 1962 from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Joe eventually made his way to Prairie du Chien to work at Wyalusing Academy in 1969 as Director of Social Services and later as Program Director of the Opportunity and Personal Development Center until retirement 1996. He was active in the continued development and growth of Prairie du Chien having served on several boards. 


Joe spent his professional life helping people and loved being a social worker. He was easy to talk to and always had delightful stories to share. He also felt at home on the farm on Gran Grae Road just outside of Prairie du Chien. He enjoyed his years as “gentleman farmer” spending free time planting, harvesting, and caring for his herd of cows, who would come running when he called for them. His favorite pastimes were cutting wood and visiting with friends and neighbors who stopped by for a beer or to share a meal. 


He wed Jeannette Utzig 4 years after a chance blind date when they were just 14 and 16 years old. They married June 21, 1952 and enjoyed 65 years together until her passing in 2017. Together they raised 4 children: Joseph G. (Sheila) Lehnen, Menominee, WI, Jay T. Lehnen (domestic partner, Holly), Maple Grove, MN, Julie (Ben) Sweers, Elko, MN, and Kevin (Cheryl) Lehnen, Spring Valley, MN. 


He loved his family, not a day went by where Joe didn’t talk about how much his children and family meant to him. He was a wonderful husband and an exceptional father. Joe was a proud Grandpa to Kris (Tawnya) Lehnen, Zach (Jamie) Lehnen, Matthew Lehnen, Eric T. Lehnen, Melanie (Jarod) Olson, Tyler Sweers, Jadyn Sweers, Tiffany Halverson, Isabel Lehnen, Abigail Lehnen, Great Grandchildren: Knox, Kace, and newest addition to the family; Claire Olson. 


Joe was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jeannette, his parents, siblings, Bob, Madonna, Marvin, Ray, and Ruth Ann. He is survived by his children, grandchildren and sister, Janet Waller, Ankeny, Iowa and many nieces and nephews.  


Celebration of life and inurnment will be in Resurrection Cemetery in Asbury, Iowa – date to be announced. 

Grau Funeral Homes has been honored to serve the families and loved ones of these individuals. By presenting this information we hope to assist those close to these families with planning for their service. If you have questions or comments about any of the information found on this page, please let us know by email or telephone.