Wood Rustic 06

Jerome L KLUESSENDORF

April 10, 1942 ~ March 19, 2022 (age 79)

Obituary Image

Obituary

 

 

 

Jerome (Jerry) Kluessendorf, 79, of Dousman, WI passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 19th, 2022 surrounded by all of his family. He was born on April 10th, 1942 in Waukesha, WI. 

Jerry was a lifelong resident of the Genesee area. He grew up next to his grandparents' (Arthur and Leda Bloom) dairy farm in Genesee and enjoyed his formative years often working on the farm alongside his grandpa. As a boy, he attended the local schoolhouse coming home daily for lunch with a constant churn of activities with the tight knit Genesee community. He was an active boy scout – some of Kettle Moraine’s pine forests were planted by Jerry and his scout troop. He graduated from Waukesha High School in 1960 where he was on Senior Student Council and enjoyed shop classes and learning to work with his hands. He often reminisced about his youth and fun times at Utica Lake, Ten Chimneys (the Alfred Lunt & Lynn Fontanne mansion), and camping up in St. Germain, WI. He also developed a love for Door County, WI because of his family’s trips to Washington Island.

He purchased his first car - a 1958 Plymouth convertible - with his own money. That first car began a long line of car ownership as his passion and love for classic cars grew throughout his life. He attended UW-Whitewater for a short time and came home on weekends, somewhat begrudgingly, to work in his dad’s filling station.

Jerry married his first wife Madeleine (Mandy) in 1964. They met in the Lauderdale Lake, WI area, had two sons (Joe and John Kluessendorf), and were married for 13 years until her death in 1975.

He began his 40+ year career at Waukesha Foundry in 1963. While at Waukesha Foundry, he attended WCTI to take classes and gained skills that he applied at the foundry during his apprenticeship which led to his journeyman and master wood pattern maker status. He occupied the same work bench throughout his entire career making designed components (e.g., gears, assemblies) from wood that were then used to craft a mold for mass production. This work required an exquisite attention to detail and an understanding of different types of wood to translate plans to building the actual object. Some examples of the things he made from wood included parts for NASA’s Apollo missions, a 6’ Kahlenberg propeller for a Mississippi River tow boat, a 34”, 20-blade turbine for refining gasoline, and pumps for the food industry. He was always known for a strong constitution and work ethic. He retired in 2007 having, unsurprisingly, never taken a sick day.

Jerry was known for his service to the community he loved. He was a licensed EMT and volunteered for many years with the Wales-Genesee Fire Department. He helped start the organization including converting a friend’s van into the first ambulance and purchasing their first Pierce fire truck. His red pick-up truck and magnetic flashing red light were well known by many. He served on the Wales - Genesee Joint Fire Board for 10 years (2009-2019) before it disbanded and merged with Lake Country Fire & Rescue. He was also an active member of the Genesee-Wales Lions Club serving in various positions including President and Hall Manager. As President, he led the renovation of the Genesee Town Hall (circa 1912) where it still serves as a popular rental hall for local weddings and celebrations. He also served as a member of the Dousman Lions Club. He received the Birch-Sturm Fellowship by the Wisconsin Lions Foundation for his years of service. Jerry was also active in Wales Moriah 4-H Chapter using his woodworking talents to help kids make projects.

His incredible professional skills with wood translated beyond 4-H to his personal life as well as he built a woodshop next to his home and filled it with a host of woodworking tools. He was often there building coffee tables, a rocking horse, or a large deck on the house. He could look at a picture of an object, like an Iranian drum shown to him by a fellow employee at the foundry and go home and build it. He even supported a local antique dealer by often turning custom items like an ornate leg to match an existing piece. All that he built will keep his memory alive.

Jerry married his second wife Lucy in 1977 and merged his family of 3 with Lucy and her 4 children (Beth, Bill, Paul & Michael) and had one of their own (Ann) to make a family of 9.  They sent their kids to local schools (St. Paul’s, Kettle Moraine and Catholic Memorial). He put countless hours of effort into maintaining the family cottage - Ivy Wood - in Door County, WI. It continues to be a cornerstone of our extended family. His strong work ethic translated into his daily life in raising a large family.

His love of cars and his early days on his grandpa’s farm translated to collecting model tractors.  You could point to any of the dozens he had on the shelf and get full details on its make and model as well as capabilities.  He enjoyed playing cards, bowling on Friday nights, and travelling in their RV throughout the US. All these activities were done with good friends and created many great memories.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years Lucy (Ives Braun) Kluessendorf, 6 children; Beth Hemmer (Andy) of Waterford, WI, Bill Braun (Sue) of Mequon, WI, Paul Braun (Krysia) of Middleton, WI, John Kluessendorf of Ormond Beach, FL, Michael Braun (Gale) of Lakeville, WI, Ann Rexine (Todd) of Maple Grove, MN, a brother Joel Kluessendorf (Rhonda) of Winneconnie, WI, and grandchildren;  Makenzie and Jason Hemmer, Jordan, Joshua, Gina and Nick Kluessendorf, Connor and Karlee Braun, Harrison, Mitchell and Torin Braun, Bryant and Ivy Braun, and Asher and Clara Rexine and his only great-grandchild, Charlotte.  Jerry was preceded in death by his son Joseph Kluessendorf of Montgomery, IL, first wife Mandy (Kirsch) Kluessendorf of Wales, WI, sister Joy Strey (Lowell) of Wausau, WI and parents Dorothy and Fred Kluessendorf of Genesee, WI.

Visitation is 10:00am until 12:00pm on Saturday, March 26th followed immediately by a service at Thelen Funeral Services (W309S4840 Commercial Drive, North Prairie, WI—NW corner of Hwy’s 83 and 59). Burial to follow at St. Paul’s Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Lake Country Fire & Rescue at 115 Main St. Delafield, WI 53018 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (www.stjude.org). Lake Country Fire & Rescue uses donations toward unbudgeted items such as equipment, training or items for the station.

 

 

 

 

 


Services

Memorial Gathering
Saturday
March 26, 2022

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Thelen Funeral Service and Synergy Crematory
W309 S4840 Commercial Dr
North Prairie, WI 53153

Memorial Service
Saturday
March 26, 2022

12:00 PM
Thelen Funeral Service and Synergy Crematory
W309 S4840 Commercial Dr
North Prairie, WI 53153

Reception
Saturday
March 26, 2022

12:45 PM
Thelen Funeral Service and Synergy Crematory
W309 S4840 Commercial Dr
North Prairie, WI 53153

Committal
Saturday
March 26, 2022

2:30 PM
St Paul Parish Cemetery
Hwy DE and Snowdon Road
Genesee, WI 53189

Donations

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Tel: 1-800-805-5856
Web: http://www.stjude.org/

Lake Country Fire & Rescue
115 Main Street, Delafield WI 53018

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