Please introduce yourself:
My name is Joe Mooney and I’m a lifelong resident of Racine. I have two beautiful adult daughters and two great sons-in-law who have provided me with two fantastic grandkids. I remarried after my wife passed and now my wonderful wife Mary and I have a great blended family of six adult children, eight grandchildren and two rescue dogs, Molly and Millie. Because we were all from the same church, our blended families all get along great.
Where are you from originally?
The north side of Racine. I attended E.H. Wadewitz elementary school, Washington Jr High and graduated from Horlick High. I’m the middle child of seven kids (and a very typical “middle child” at that) with a stay-at-home mom and a school teacher for a dad. My first real job was in the foundry at J.I. Case Southworks. I started on the Racine Police force in 1974 and I retired from there in 2005 after 31 years of service. I’ve always been involved in local activities and still enjoy that today.
How did your life’s journey keep you in Racine?
I always felt that you could complain about your city or you could try to do something positive for it. I chose the latter many years ago and try to live by that. My first volunteer event was in 1966 when my father was the stage manager for a Sergio Mendez and Brazil ’66 concert at Historic Horlick Field. Although, I didn’t realize that I was volunteering until the pay envelopes came out and I didn’t have one.
What do you like best about Racine?
It’s where my heart belongs. The core of my friends are my childhood buddies. We still get together often, golf together and tell lies about our childhood days. Everywhere you go in Racine, out to dinner, downtown, to the zoo, wherever, you always run into interesting people that you know and enjoy. I’ve lived and worked here all my life; it’s truly home.
Please give some examples of how your work has made a positive impact on the community.
I’ve been involved with Racine semi-pro football 1979 and, along with my friend Bob Milkie, helped resurrect the Racine Raiders in 1986. I was the president of the Harbor Fest Music Festival. I’ve worked on many judicial and D.A. campaigns. I am currently in charge of the car show at Party on the Pavement. I serve on the Governance committee for the Racine County Sports Hall of Fame since it started. I am currently the chair of Animal Crackers Jazz Series at the Racine Zoo. I have a jazz program that I do for WGTD HD2 and record shows each week for publication on the public radio via the Internet. After my wife Jean passed in 2001, my daughters and I established Jean’s Jazz Series in her honor as a fundraiser for the Racine Theatre Guild. We have raised a lot of money to keep the arts alive in Racine. I work part time at the best kept secret in Racine, Shoop Park Golf Course.
What’s the least understood aspect about what you do?
Why I do so many things that I don’t receive pay for.
What would you like to accomplish during the next 6 months? 12 months?
I’d like to have a very successful run of Jean’s Jazz Series at the Theatre Guild. I’d like to finish booking the 2019 Animal Crackers shows and have a great summer with the series. Somewhere in that time frame I will tape my 100th WGTD HD2 “Jazz Ala Carte” show. And, I’d like to go to Brewers Spring Training with my wife Mary.
What’s the best way to contact you?