Life Story / Obituary
In many ways, William Weidner defined the meaning of devoted husband, dedicated father, loving grandfather, and great-grandfather. Loyal to his family and a great friend, William was an inspiration and gift to those who loved and cared for him. A friendly sort, he got along well with others and was a likable fellow in many respects. William was hard working, and by way of example he taught his children and those around him well. Through his fun-loving nature and witty sense of humor, William was just a kid at heart. A true blessing in the lives of those he leaves behind, he will be dearly missed.
During a time when the nation continued to struggle through the lasting effects of the Great Depression, Americans forged on with lasting hope as they re-elected President Teddy Roosevelt to his second term. Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire danced their way into the hearts of many, and readers were fascinated with the newly published novel, Gone with the Wind. Yet in the bustling Wisconsin city of Milwaukee, Raymond and Elizabeth (nee Goergen) Weidner had their attention focused on the blessed birth of their little boy, William Raymond Weidner, born on September 15, 1936.
To support their family, William’s father worked as an assembler at Harnischfeger while his mother remained at home as a homemaker. Although he was an only child, William enjoyed a childhood typical of his generation. He attended grade school at St. Lucas Church School and for high school he went to Boy’s Tech where he studied art courses for five-years. During his youth he loved fishing and hunting with his bow and arrow, and back in the day people could hunt on the airport property which was near his home. Unlike many of the other young men he knew, William not only drove his own 1949 Mercury, but he had a motorcycle, as well.
It was while in high school that William met his one true love, Carol Dunne. She was merely 15, and William, at the age of 19, was four years older than Carol. He waited for his sweetheart, and when Carol finished high school and turned 18 that following August, the two were happily joined in marriage on June 7, 1958. As newlyweds, William and Carol first lived with his mother for a while as his father had sadly passed away. Before long they bought a home in Oak Creek where they lived for the rest of their days together.
William and Carol were blessed with the births of two fine sons. William, Jr. came along in 1959, and Russell completed their family in 1961. A “hands-on” father to his boys, William loved participating in activities with his sons such as riding dirt bikes and snowmobiles, taking karate lessons, and hunting. He loved his boys dearly and often said he “wouldn’t sell them for a million bucks, but he wouldn’t give a penny to have another!” One time he set-up a target practice in their basement to teach the boys how to shoot arrows. However, William bought a 338 Winchester Magnum and decided to “try it out” in the basement. The noise was so loud that Carol had to come down to see what was going on! Needless to say, their target was nearly destroyed and the boy’s ears rang for days. William was always fun to be around and could be found racing motorcycles right along with the neighborhood boys. At times, Carol felt like she had three boys instead of two!
With a wife and two sons entrusted to his care, William took his role as provider seriously. He first began working at Milwaukee Crane, and like his father before him, William soon landed a job at Harnischfeger as a welder, and eventually becoming a foreman. He traveled often for work repairing machines all over the world to places such as China, Brazil, England, Mexico, Canada, and throughout the U.S. Eventually, William was able to get both of his sons jobs at Harnischfeger where as foreman, he could keep a close eye on them! After 39 years of service, William retired from Harnischfeger in 2001, although he always regretted not staying 40 years because he could have gotten the coveted “gold watch.”
William and Carol took in their granddaughter, Raechel who lived with them from the age of 15 to 19. Throughout this time, William and his granddaughter developed a special bond. He always tried intimidating her boyfriend, and when she and Matt announced their engagement, William was true to form telling Matt, “good luck.” Always kidding around and fun-loving, William easily brought smiles to the days of others.
In his free time, William enjoyed woodworking. He made a variety of things over the years, including his specialties, clocks and cribbage boards. He loved to grill, and without ever being asked, William was more than happy to plow his neighbor’s driveways in the winter after finishing up his own. In later years, William enjoyed becoming familiar with the computer.
William’s loyalty to his family knew no bounds. When Carol’s mother began living in a nursing home, he took her to see her mother everyday and never once complained. He was an honest man who will always be remembered for his fun-loving ways. He sometimes may have been a little crusty on the outside, but William’s softhearted, inner demeanor and caring ways were a true testament of a man who loved fully. Gone yet never to be forgotten, William will be remembered with joy.
William R. Weidner, Sr. age 80 years, passed away Tuesday, January 31, 2017. Beloved husband of Carol (nee Dunne); loving father of William Jr. and Russell; cherished grandfather of Raechel (Matthew), William III, and Jasmine (fiancé, Kurt); proud great-grandfather of Travis, Brianna, Madilyn, and Logan; cousin of Cindy Gluska and Wayne Duvall. He is further survived by other relatives and friends.
Family and friends will gather at the Niemann / Suminski Funeral Home, 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53207 on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 from 4:00 PM until the time of the Memorial Service at 7:00 PM. Private inurnment to take place at Forest Home Cemetery. To share a favorite memory or photo of William with his family and to sign his online guest book, please visit www.suminskifuneralhome.com