By Staff Reports
The Watertown Mayer High School athletic department and the community as a whole are mourning the loss of longtime wrestling coach and elementary school teacher Joe Traen.
On Wednesday, March 29, Traen died from a suspected heart attack. The 59-year-old was on his morning run when he suffered the heart attack.
Traen spent 27 years as wrestling coach for Watertown Mayer High School and as a physical education teacher for Watertown Mayer Elementary School.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the untimely death of our treasured teacher, coach and friend Joe Traen,” the school district posted on its Facebook page on March 31. “The Traen family invites everyone to celebrate Joe’s life on Tuesday, April 4, in the Watertown-Mayer High School Competition Gym. Visitation will take place from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. The funeral service will begin at 6 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials in care of Joe Traen and family. A donation will be made in Joe’s memory. Watertown-Mayer schools will be closing at 1 p.m, on Tuesday to prepare for Coach Traen’s visitation and funeral service.”
Watertown Mayer activities director Tom Dasovich said Traen will be missed by many.
“He was really transformational with our district in the 27 years he was here,” Dasovich said. “He was able to touch thousands of lives, not only as a coach, but as the elementary’s physical education teacher. He really connected with students and student athletes.”
Family and former athletes of Traen’s took to social media to express their grief his death.
“RIP to a good coach and an even better man Joe Traen. Always had a positive attitude with his athletes and always believed in me the six years I wrestled under him in highschool wrestling at Watertown. Thank you for touching my life, along with all the other students and athletes you helped along the way,” former Watertown Mayer wrestler Aaron Sweeny wrote on Instagram.
“There are no words. Nothing can be said to express the tragic loss experienced by my family Wednesday,” Joe Traen’s niece, Cat Traen wrote on Facebook. “Teacher, coach, father, husband, community leader, my inspiring, youthful, energetic uncle is survived by his two brave sons and strong wife. Their loss is our loss. We pray for healing and new strength to arise from our family that will connect us in his memory.”