Eugene Joseph (1916 - 2002)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Wilhelm, Franklin, Heasley, Smith, Fellenz, Kramas
----Sources: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark County, WI.) July 3, 2002
Wilhelm, Eugene Joseph (August 1, 1916 - June 29, 2002)
Eugene Joseph Wilhelm, age 85, of Thorp, passed away Saturday, June 29, 2002 at his home.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, July 3, 2002, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Bernard’s-St. Hedwig’s Chapel, Thorp, with burial in the parish cemetery.
Visitation was on Tuesday, July 2 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Thorp Funeral Home with a 7:30 p.m. Parish and Knights of Columbus rosary. Visitation will also be held on Wednesday, one hour prior to services at the Thorp Funeral Home.
Pallbearers will be grandsons: Jon Wilhelm, Jesse Franklin, Michael Wilhelm, Corey Heasley; and granddaughter’s husbands, Reginald Smith and Dave Wilhelm.
Eugene Joseph Wilhelm was born one mile west of Thorp on August 1, 1916 to William and Anna Mae (Fellenz) Wilhelm. He attended St. Bernard’s Grade School and graduated from Thorp High School in 1933. He married Stella Kramas on November 16, 1937. They purchased the family homestead from his father in 1940 and farmed until 1970 when they built a new home in town.
In his late teens and early 20’s Eugene was the pitcher for the Goggle Eye Baseball Team. He was a member of the Clark County Male Chorus. Eugene took over his father’s insurance agency in 1965 and actively sold insurance throughout central Wisconsin, selling it to Ray Kliscz in 1979.
Eugene was happiest when he was working. In the 1940’s and 50’s, he did custom farm work, including combining, swathing grain and filling silo. He was a Dekalb seed corn dealer for many years. He was proud to raise registered Brown Swiss cattle, adding a large turkey (and later chicken) operation in 1956.
He served as Fifth Ward alderman for the city of Thorp for many years, was a founding member of TADCO and past-president of the Thorp Lions Club. He built the collapsible cook shanty for the Lions Club, which they still use today. He built the "Welcome to Thorp" signs on Highway 29 in 1986 and also the Industrial Park signs on the city perimeter. He was instrumental in starting Thorp’s Tree City Program, planting over 400 trees in the city, along with initiating and maintaining many city flowerbeds. He built the footbridge over Goggle Eye Creek in Ward Five.
He was a member of the Thorp Care Center advisory Board for many years and also volunteered as their chief gardener.
He was the founder of the Royal Wheelers Camping Group of Wisconsin and was also a member of the Northern Lights WIT Club.
Eugene was an avid rifle and bow hunter, fisherman, bowler and Sheep head player. He loved to travel and was a voracious reader. He was an excellent wood worker, building toys, lawn ornaments, fences and seasonal items, along with special orders of all types and sizes. He assisted many neighbors and friends with projects, ranging from gardening to roofing to building handicapped wheelchair ramps.
He was a mushroom connoisseur, conducted classes in how to identify mushrooms for District I Technical School for many years, loved to pick berries and delivered pussy willows in spring to many family members, neighbors and friends. He taught the art of binder twine braiding and weaving to county homemakers and grade school students both in Thorp and Milwaukee. He loved driving school bus and did so for many yeas for both the Thorp and Stanley-Boyd School Districts.
Eugene was a lifelong member of St. Bernard’s-St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church and belonged to the Holy Name Society, the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Order of Foresters. He was also an usher and a lector. He was most proud of being an altar server for Father Muckerheide from second grade through high school graduation.
He had the "gift of gab" and was never afraid to speak his mind. He was a regular for morning coffee with his "cronies" at the Dairy Bar or Thorpedo. He loved his ‘Meat and potatoes", with lots of gravy. He also loved gin martinis, limburger cheese, aged blue cheese, and any type of dessert.
He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Stella; one son, Eugene Paul (Karen) of Sheboygan, Wisconsin; two daughters; Ann Kathleen (Tom Franklin) of Parker, Colorado and Elizabeth Mary, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; one special nephew and niece, Frank (Anne) Heasley of Onalaska, Wisconsin and Kathleen Heasley of Dahlonega, Georgia. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers and two sisters.
He will be dearly missed as an active participant in both his family and his community.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Eugene’s name are requested to either Thorp Catholic School, 411 E. School Street Thorp, WI 54771 or to Pro-Life.
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