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Carlton James Luedeke passed peacefully into eternal life on January 3, 2019.
Carl was born on Oct. 26, 1922 to Ruth Wickerscheim Luedeke and Edgar Luedeke in Neenah, WI. He was raised by his maternal grandparents, August and Susan Wickerscheim, after his mother died when he was five years old. Carl worked for many farmers in the Hilbert community as a young teenager and they contributed to his upbringing. Carl was involved in Hilbert High School activities. He played baritone in the band and was a catcher for the softball team. It’s interesting to note that the Band Parents’ Association bought him a beautiful new baritone to play in the band.
Carl enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in the 4th Marine Division. He participated in four major campaigns in the South Pacific including the battles of Saipan, Tinian, Marshall Islands, and Iwo Jima. He witnessed the U.S. flag being raised twice on Iwo Jima. Betty Schomisch faithfully wrote to him every week while he was away at war. After the war, he attended St. Norbert’s College and courted Betty.
Carl married Betty Schomisch on October 4th, 1948. They lived most of their married life in Appleton, WI and raised four daughters. He was an active member of St. Therese Church and a charter member of St. Thomas More Church. Carl enjoyed coaching basketball for eight years at St. Therese and the team won many tournaments! He sang in the choir at St. Thomas More and helped with the church’s telephone installations. He was an accomplished harmonica player who played with gusto and a heavy foot. He would gladly play his harmonica for any church or school event. Carl worked for Wisconsin Bell Telephone Company and retired after 42 years of dedicated service. Carl was active in the Telephone Pioneers of America and was Steward and President of his local union: AFL-CIO/CWA.
Carl led an active life full of golfing, skiing, gardening, walking, swimming, and dancing with “his Betty.” He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. Carl and Betty created a home full of love, laughter, and music. His favorite saying to his grandchildren was “keep chargin’!” He was a favorite uncle to his nieces and nephews and was always a good listener and story-teller. Carl was always willing to lend a helping-hand to those in need by volunteering at St. Joseph’s Food Pantry and St. Vincent De Paul. He was generous with his time and to his neighbors, he was known as “snowblower man.” He always made sure that everyone’s sidewalks and driveways were plowed out.
Even though he lived his adult life in Appleton, WI, his heart belonged to Calumet County Park in Stockbridge, WI. It was originally his grandfather’s homestead and Carl’s personal playground as a child. He always referred to this place as “God’s Country.” He shared this special place with his family by picnicking, hiking, boating, fishing, and skiing there.
Carl is survived by his four daughters; Mary (Chase)Wichmann, Oshkosh, WI, Beverly (Thomas) Schroeder, Kohler, WI, Laura (Mike) Harer, Greenville, WI, Janiece (David) Johansen, Baton Rouge, LA, his grandchildren; Daniel (Lacey) Wichmann, Omaha, NE, Benjamin Wichmann, Houston, TX, Aaron Wichmann, Waukesha, WI, Sarah (fiancé Trey Demler) Wichmann, Oshkosh, WI, Nicole Schroeder, San Pedro, CA, Robert (Elsbeth) Schroeder, Monterey, CA, Nicholas (Anna) Krasin, Littleton, CO, Kathryn (Charlie) Cimet, Acton, MA, Jennifer Krasin, Prescott, AZ, Ethan Johansen, Baton Rouge, LA. He is known as “Great Papa” to his great-grandchildren: Elsa and Adelaide Krasin, Henry Cimet and Easton Wichmann. He is survived by his sisters-in-law; Margaret Schwabenlender, Fond du Lac, WI and Loretta Schomisch, Milwaukee, WI. Carl was blessed to have by his side his devoted and dear friend for the past two years; his “Angel on Earth,” Polly Baron. Special thanks to Nurse Mary and her hospice crew at Theda Care, the staff at Appleton Retirement Community, and especially Trinity.
Carl is preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Luedeke, his parents, his brothers, sisters and their spouses: Loren (Ruth) Luedeke, Beatrice Niemczyk and Helen (Isadore “Izzy”) Hammen.
A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, Jan. 11 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 1810 N. McDonald St., Appleton, WI. Visitation will be held at the church from 9:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M. The funeral mass will begin at 11:00 A.M. with full military honors to follow. Internment will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery on Moore Road in Stockbridge, WI at 2:30 P.M. In lieu of flowers, a memorial for Carl will be established for the St. Thomas More music program and for the St. Joseph’s Food Pantry.