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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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January 26, 2021

12/1/2020 7:30:00 AM
Dr. Joseph Adams Bodensteiner

Dr. Joseph Adams Bodensteiner of Rhinelander died Wednesday, Nov. 25 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minn. He was 78 years old.

Joe was born April 21, 1942 in Decorah, Iowa to Leonard (LJ), and Helen (Adams) Bodensteiner. He graduated from Decorah High School in 1960, and from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in 1964.

Joe earned his medical degree from The University of Iowa College of Medicine in 1967 and completed his residency in surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals in 1974, following an internship in Los Angeles County at the University of Southern California Medical Center.

Dr. Bodensteiner served two years as a Captain in the USAF stationed at Hakata Base, Kyushu, Japan.

Because he loved the beauty of the Northwoods waterways and the many opportunities for outdoor recreation, Joe joined the Bump Medical Group in Rhinelander in 1974. Joe's goal was to live in a location that would allow him to be on a river in a canoe within five minutes of leaving work.

Dr. Bodensteiner was also a long-time member of the Wisconsin Surgical Society and the Wisconsin Surgical Traveling Club, a member of the Midwestern Vascular Surgical Society, and was inducted as a fellow into the American College of Surgeons in 1977.

Joe practiced as a general and vascular surgeon in Rhinelander for nearly 40 years.

He will be remembered for his skill and commitment as a surgeon, for his intellect, dry wit, his passionate causes, love of family, and for his memorable stage appearance as his alter ego, the Pirate King, in the Nicolet College "Pirates of Penzance" production.

Joe spent as much time as possible outdoors, passing on his love for nature to his children and grandchildren. He enjoyed camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing, biking, traveling, skiing, watching the Packers, and spending time with his grandchildren.

He was an accomplished photographer and shared his singing talents with the Weston Noble Alumni Choir at Luther College and local groups including Bel Canto Chorale, Nicolet Male Chorus, and Hymns and Hyrs.

He completed medical mission trips to St. Lucia, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, and Guatemala in service to people with limited access to medical and surgical care.

He is survived by his wife Emily (Homstad) Bodensteiner, his brother John Bodensteiner (Donna Berge), brother-in-law, Wayne Homstad (Alice Falk), his three children Karin (Mark Emerson), Kirsten (Marco Bavera), and Ingrid (Craig Dumar), and by seven of his eight grandchildren: Anna Emerson, Bopha Bessire, Sophie Emerson, Solenne Bessire, Soren Dumar, Skyler Bessire and Silas Dumar.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his grandson, Kiran Bessire.

We will remember his sense of humor, his rational and thoughtful advice, his generous spirit, and especially his love for life, friends and family.

Due to the present pandemic, any services for Dr. Bodensteiner will be held at a later date. Memorials will be established in his name and may be directed to his family at this time.

Any memorials directed to the Bodensteiner family will be donated to the Northwoods Land Trust; the Kiran Bessire Memorial Fund at Headwaters Inc.; or the Winneshiek County Historical Society - Bodensteiner House Fund.

You may also leave your private condolences for the Bodensteiner family at

The Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) is serving the Bodensteiner family.

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, December 5, 2020
Article comment by: Diana Krueger

Sorry for your loss. I enjoyed being in plays at nicolet with Dr. Bodinstein. He was a very great man.

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