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Frank "Papa Joe" Kloiber: 1944 - 2023

It is with a profound sense of sadness that the Milwaukee Barbarians Rugby Football Club announce the passing of Frank “Papa Joe” Kloiber on Sept. 19, 2023 at the age of 79.

Papa Joe was an outsized figure in the history of rugby in Wisconsin who began his playing career while attending college in Madison, Wisconsin.

Upon returning to Milwaukee, he joined the Harlequins in 1975 as a player and then as coach and club President. In 2012, Papa Joe was an early driving force in the decision to rebrand the Harlequins to the Barbarians.

Between those bookmarks, he was tireless in his efforts to grow the game at all levels. For example, he pioneered numerous local school programs and select-side teams, and organized many overseas rugby tours.

While touring, Papa Joe built a vast network of rugby contacts around the world. He used those contacts to develop the sport locally by bringing in foreign teams to challenge the local players and stay abreast of emerging strategies and trends in the sport long before the internet eased the flow of information.

In 1982, Papa Joe founded the Lakefront 7s Rugby Tournament. The event has grown into one of the largest and longest-running rugby events in the country, impacting tens of thousands of people. It is an annual highlight for rugby in the Midwest and remains a jewel in the crown for Barbarian and Harlequin alumni alike.

Papa Joe’s family is a large part of his rugby legacy as well.

His wife Julie has long supported Joe’s passion for rugby, and many of his children went on to play rugby.

Off the pitch, the entire Kloiber family has committed countless hours to fundraising, organizing, and promoting rugby in Southeast Wisconsin.

After a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease, today the Barbarians and Harlequins family lost a true visionary and tireless servant. We will be forever indebted to Papa Joe for all he has done.

He shall be sorely missed, but never forgotten.

Details of the visitation, funeral and interment can be found below.

The Kloiber family has requested that all honorariums be placed with the Wisconsin Parkinson Association, or the Milwaukee Barbarians Rugby Club at the following page:

https://donorbox.org/honorariums-for-frank-papa-joe-kloiber

Papa Joe over the years

 

Visitation

  • Friday September 29th 4pm-8pm
  • Krause funeral home (rosary at 4)
  • 12401 W National Ave, New Berlin, WI 53151

Post Visitation gathering

  • New Berlin Ale House
  • 16000 W Cleveland Ave, New Berlin, WI 53151

Funeral

  • Saturday September 30th 11am
  • St. John The Evangelist
  • 8500 W Cold Spring Rd, Greenfield, WI 53228

Post funeral luncheon

  • Saturday September 30th 12:15pm
  • Clifford's Super Club
  • 10418 W Forest Home Ave, Hales Corners, WI 53130
  • Please RSVP for luncheon, 414-688-8343 or [email protected].

Interment

  • Monday October 2nd, 11AM
  • Evergreen Cemetery
  • 1105 N Main St, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538