William “Will” George Memmel, called to Eternal Life on February 16th 2021 in Sussex, Wisconsin at the age of 83. Will passed away peacefully at home with his beloved wife Jan at his side.
Will was born June 12th 1937 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to George and Amanda (La Fleur) Memmel. He grew up in Whitefish Bay, and attended Messmer High School. He enlisted in the Navy out of high school and spent three years overseas where he served abroad on the USS Samuel B. Roberts. He boxed and played football for his Navy ship, notably was named MVP with nine interceptions in six games. A small yet wiry sailor, perhaps this is where one of his infamous “Willisms" came to be: “Dynamite comes in small packages…”
Will met Jan on a blind date and together they enjoyed 51 wonderful years together. If you knew Will, then you’ve heard the story of how he fell in love with Jan the first time he laid eyes on her (despite learning that night that she had six brothers).
Will resided in Menomonee Falls for some time; it was there where he and Jan raised their family. He dedicated 31 years of his career to Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation as a CNC Machinist. Will was an extremely hard worker, often working two jobs for most of his life. In later years after retirement, he went back to work part time and worked for his best friend and brother Ken Sawatzki, at Component Engineering in Hartford.
Will and Jan fulfilled a lifelong dream of retiring to Northern Wisconsin. Years prior to retirement they purchased a wooded lot on beloved Snipe Lake in Eagle River. Will deemed it “Pinehaven” for the many tall straight pines that graced it’s landscape. Will was an original character so it was no surprise when he retired later he contracted a local custom builder who handcrafted a one of kind full log home facing the lake. Pinehaven was the heart of many wonderful family memories; pontooning with Missy (his beloved lab), swimming, fishing adventures, tag football in the sandbar, bonfires, snowmobiling, hunting excursions and many, many more.
Will loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman who had natural, unfaltering instincts when it came to being in the woods, or on the water. Whether in a boat on the lake searching for the perfect fishing spot, or in the woods scouting for the perfect location for his deer stand; Will celebrated many successes. Will always encouraged those alongside him by sharing angling advice, or his own tried and true successes, as he took great joy in watching others succeed as well. His appreciation and respect for the outdoors often referred by him as “God’s Country” will forever leave an an impact on his children, grandchildren, and friends.
Will left a lasting impression on everyone he met - you remembered your time with him. He was always ready to share a story from his past; if you were in his company you were sure to be entertained. Stories of growing up in the Bay, being a sailor on a destroyer ship during a hurricane, meeting Jan for the first time, shenanigans at Milwaukee Tool, or excursions with his hunting buddies never got old. You were intently tuned in to hear the latest version, and come to appreciate the real-life characters in his stories that were his friends and cohorts. His grandchildren were continuously enamored with his silly ad-libbed capabilities and quick wit, really never knowing if Grandpa was being serious or not, but that was always his intention.
Will and his family joined Falls Presbyterian church in 1984 where he remained a parishioner up until his passing. Will loved and admired his church family, including Pastor Neil Tolsma and in later years Pastor Ben Snodgrass, respectfully. He leaned on his faith and his love for God throughout his ten year battle with Parkinson’s. At the end of his fight he very much looked forward to going home to be with the Lord.
Will always rooted for the underdog and gave back to others throughout his life by volunteering as a delivery driver for Meals On Wheels, and serving as a Deacon at Falls Church. He was a youth camp counselor at Camp Calvin through Falls Church where he was most proud of being nicknamed "Sarge" for his no-nonsense commanding leadership and playful antics.
Other mentionings include Will's love of music and the enjoyment of listening to a loud tune; from a classic guitar riff, to contemporary jazz. He did this up until the end of his life. Will loved old spaghetti westerns, Jan’s cooking, family gatherings and watching Wisconsin sports teams (but only if they were winning). He lived an active life; softball leagues, tennis, handball and golf to name a few.
Will is beloved Father to Linda (Ed) Fausel, Gary (Linda) Messenger, Kelly Memmel, Joe (Sue) Memmel, Ann Memmel, Dan (Jen) Memmel & Jen (Dave) Christianson. Proud Grandpa to Rachel, Gary Jr., Angela, Jesse, Kate, Brandon, Tyler, Jeremy, Maria, Brandon, Andrew, Celia, Ava, Ella, Allison & Maya and Great Grandpa to Devon, Anika, Ella and Wesley. Will is survived by his beloved sister Judy (Dick) Pfister, Tom (Sue) Memmel and David Memmel. Will is preceded in death by his mother and father Amanda & George Memmel, and dearest sisters, Caroline, Lois, Debbie, and Janet.
We take comfort that Will is no longer suffering, but he will be sadly missed by many. We will remember Will and his original spirit that will stay in our hearts always. He was our Husband, Father, Grandpa, Brother and our Friend.
Visitation will be held from 11 AM until the time of Memorial Service at Noon on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at Falls Presbyterian Church W156N7356 Pilgrim Road, Menomonee Falls WI, 53051. If you are interested in attending the service remotely through a streaming service, please see information and link below.
LISTEN & WATCH ONLINE
From any computer, smartphone, or device go to this link https://fallsopc.org/sermons/
Look for black rectangle that says BROADCASTER IS LIVE. Click on white oval within the black rectangle.
The black rectangle will not appear until we are LIVE, only at the times of broadcasting.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider donating to the Wisconsin Parkinson’s Association.
On behalf of Will, Jan would like to give a special thank you to Dr. Gaines for going to battle with Will during his fight with Parkinson's. A heartfelt thank you to Aurora Home Hospice Care, Nurse Ashley, Falls Presbyterian Church, Pastor Ben Snodgrass and Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral Services.