Joseph Peter Ennis

Joseph Peter Ennis, 93, of Bonita Springs, Fla., and formerly of Union Center, Wis., passed away Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, at Vitas Hospice. He began wintering in Bonita Springs in 1994 before making it his permanent home for the past 10 years. 

Joe was born April 1, 1928, in Wonewoc, a son of the late Peter and Pauline (Gardner) Ennis. Mr. Ennis was a veteran of the United States Navy. He owned and operated Joe’s Bar with locations in Union Center and Wonewoc before leaving the bar business to establish Garden City Motel in Union Center. Joe was known as the “Tater King,” as he transported 50-pound bags of potatoes from Wisconsin Rapids to sell to his community. 

He was a devout Catholic and member of the Knights of Columbus. Joe loved big band music and dancing and he enjoyed boating, fishing and cruises. Joe was an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Badgers and Notre Dame Football. As a classic car enthusiast, Joe restored and cherished his 1931 Ford Model A. Most of all, Joe loved his family that extended far and wide. 

Survivors include his loving children, Pamela (John) Buttner of Mauston, Wis., Patricia Murphy of Bonita Springs, Fla., and Peter (Heather) Ennis of Fort Myers, Fla.; a brother, John (Charlene) Ennis of Elroy; his sisters, Susan Thompson of Mauston and Edith Martin of Springfield, Ill.; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and his longtime girlfriend, Louise Mihalic. 

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings, Beverly, Irene, Esther, Donald and Thomas. 

The family will receive friends from 5–7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, at Shikany’s Bonita Funeral Home, 28300 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs, FL 34134. A vigil service will begin at 7 p.m. 

Visitation also will be held Friday, Sept. 17, from 5–7 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 110 Spring St., Elroy. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, Sept. 18, at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the start of the Mass. 

He will be laid to rest at St. Theresa’s Catholic Cemetery in Union Center. Following the burial, a luncheon will be held at the Legion Hall in Wonewoc to continue the celebration of Joe’s life. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Joe’s name may be made to St. Theresa PEA Fund, P.O. Box 69, Union Center, WI 53962. 

The Shikany Funeral Home ( and the Picha Funeral Home ( in Elroy is assisting with arrangements.  

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