Obit: Verkuilen, John #2 (1867 - 1936)

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----Sources: THORP COURIER (Thorp, Clark County, Wis.) 6 Feb 1936

Verkuilen, John #2 (3 SEP 1867 - 24 JAN 1936)

A well known and respected resident of Thorp and Clark County, Wis., closed his history making career of family and social service as death called him to his reward on Friday, Jan. 24, 1936, soon after his re-entrance to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Chippewa Falls, and the reception of the last sacraments of the church. For a few weeks before his death he had suffered with a foot infection and a weak heart but his jovial spirit made him appear quite well.

John Verkuilen was born at Pensaukee, Oconto Co., Wis., Sept. 3, 1867, the son of John and Mary (Van Lanen) Verkuilen, and being called to his reward at the age of 68 years, 4 months and 21 days.

After a brief formal education he began work in the shipyards of Sheboygan.

He was married to Hattie Driesen of Hollandtown on June 12, 1893, and with her and their daughter Mayme, came to the town of Worden, Clark Co., in 1894 to engage in agriculture. They lived in a logging camp near Stanley until Mr. Verkuilen and Fred Driesen, who came here each with one horse, could clear a plot of ground for buildings on their then unimproved farms. One of the items of present day interest in their progressive, yet tractorless farming, was the use of oxen. With much labor, fortitude, prudence and economy, fine farms were developed but Mr. Verkuilen sold in 1901 in order to purchase the SE ¼ - SE ¼ of Section 2, near Thorp, from C. Banderob. With Mrs. Verkuilen and four children they moved into the log house which was later replaced by a modern structure necessitate by convenience and a family of nine. All other farm improvements and conveniences were added during the 25 years that John and Hattie Verkuilen, with their family, lived there. Upon their retirement in 1927, they built a home in Thorp and the farm home has since been that of their son, Walter and family.

Prominent as Mr. Verkuilen was in civic affairs his positions of responsibility and trust can scarcely be enumerated. Any eulogy to him would conclude with "having always served well" and often without remuneration. His pride and pleasure was in having served without bond. He was a member of the town of Worden board in 1896, also elected as assessor and Pioneer school board member. He succeeded Geo. A. Ure as chairman of the Clark County board in 1911, and was re-elected for several terms. While serving as Member of assembly from Clark County he acted on the Wis. Dells Park Committee. Again in later years and until his death he represented the village of Thorp on the county board where he had for years by independent thought, good humor and sense, made very close friends.

When Mr. Verkuilen and family moved near Thorp they transferred their church membership tot hat of St. Bernard’s Parish. Here he acted as treasurer during the construction period, about 1914, of the present beautiful edifice. He also transferred his Catholic Order of Foresters membership from Stanley to become a charter member of the local St. Vincent Court No. 1339. He was an active and enthusiastic member until his death and on several occasions was privileged to represent them at state and national conventions.

Mr. Verkuilen was a director of the Farmers Exchange Bank from the date of organization in 1913 and later became president, guiding it successfully until the merger of the two Thorp banks.

The last few years he has spent his time acting as director of the Lyn Mutual Insurance Companies, a position he has long held, and as president of the Thorp Finance Corporation.

Mr. Verkuilen’s honesty and judgment were unquestioned and his standing in this community unparalleled. He was a man of generous impulses and never forgot the social, religious or hospitable ways of a pioneer. He accepted adversity bravely and enjoyed prosperity quietly. He had filled the various relations of life as son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend, and filled them well. Who can do more?

Left to mourn his death are his wife, Hattie Verkuilen, five daughters, Susan (Mrs. Henry Hermsen), Little Chute, Wis., Florence (Mrs. John Cesnik), Hillsboro, Wis., Josephine (Mrs. Jack Vandeyacht), Little Chute, Wis., Elsie, Milwaukee, and Leona, at home; two sons, Michael of Gary, Ind., and Walter of the town of Worden. Two children, Mayme and John Jr., preceded him in death. He is also survived by five sisters and one brother.

The body of John Verkuilen lay instate at the new Bogumill Funeral Home surrounded by flowers and friends until Tuesday morning when the procession, led by Foresters under traffic control, proceeded to the crowded St. Bernard’s Church for the Solemn High Mass of Requiem which was said by Rev. C. Dionne with Rev. F.A. Kulig as deacon and Rev. A.M. Muckerheide as sub-deacon, the latter officiating at the last rites and burial in St. Bernard’s Catholic Cemetery.

The active pallbearers who are Foresters, were: Francis Conway, R. J. Brunner, George Haas, Anton Baldeschwiler, John Bauernfeind an Dr. A.H. Kulig.

Those who acted as honorary pallbearers were: A.M. Steinwand of Colby; Frank Kraut of Curtiss; W.B. Tufts of Neillsville; Ed Verritt, Anton Micke and R.G. Lawrence of Thorp.



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