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Robert L Eckelberg
(May 7, 1920 - January 2, 2011)

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Robert L Eckelberg

U.S. Veteran

Robert L. Eckelberg, 90, of Tomah died Sunday, January 2, 2011 at Close To Home, Tomah. He was born May 7, 1920, the first of nine children to Louis C. and Ruth (Westpfahl) Eckelberg at Wilton. He was baptized at home on May 9, 1920 by Rev. Boganz. He was confirmed at St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Kendall by Pastor Louis Witte. Robert grew up on farms in the Wilton, Tomah, Baraboo and Kendall areas. He graduated from 8th grade at Glendale Grade School, Kendall. Robert worked on the home farm for several years, and then was in the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1938-1940. After leaving the CCC he was employed by farmers in the Barre Mills area. In 1945 he joined the United States Air Force and was stationed in Germany with the Occupation Forces, He was honorably discharged in 1946. He was united in marriage to Margaret M. Wehrs on October 20, 1945 at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Barre Mills. They were blessed with 5 daughters, De Ette, Eileen, Gail, Judy and Laura. After discharge from the Air Force Robert was employed at Auto Light in La Crosse for 5 years. In 1951 Robert joined the USDA. His first assignment was in Milwaukee as a meat inspector. He also worked in Winona, MN, St. Paul, MN and Hettinger, ND. He retired in 1980 after 30 years. Robert was actively involved in the churches to which he belonged. At St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Winona, MN he was one of the original leaders of the Lutheran Boy Pioneers, Wagon Train #6. At Emmanuel Lutheran in St. Paul, MN he was on the finance committee and served in various positions at Redeemer Lutheran in Hettinger, ND. Robert was a staunch supporter of Christian education. Robert enjoyed playing cards, fishing, gardening and bowling as recreational pastimes. He also enjoyed traveling and camping with his family. Robert and Margaret also traveled on several bus trips to various parts of the country. In 1995 Robert and Margaret moved to Tomah to be near family. Margaret died August 18, 1998. Robert married Ruth Kortbein in 1999; she preceded him in death in 2004. Robert enjoyed noon meals, playing cards and companionship at the Tomah Senior Center. He is survived by 4 daughters: Eileen Wurster of Dawson, MN, Gail ( Steve) Vander Wal of Clinton, UT, Judy Heth of Gary, SD, and Laura (Glenn) Jacobsen of Plano, IL, grandchildren: Wendy (John) Graf, Miles (Kathy) Wurster, Amy (Jason) Snodie, Andrea Vander Wal , Zach (Talaya) Vander Wal, and Stephen (Lisa) Vander Wal, Bill Heth and Nathan (Donya) Heth, Robert , Katherine and Nichole Jacobsen, Great-grandchildren: Hope, John, Luke and Ginger Graf, Ella and Isabelle Wurster, and Aubrey Snodie, step-great-grandchildren: Lisett, Burt and Clayton Whitaker, a step-great-great-grandson: Kaedyn Whitaker, a brother Reinhold (Wilmetta) Eckelberg of Montello, 4 sisters, Ruby Butterfuss and Lucile (Vernon) Hemerley, both of Tomah, Marie Neitzel of Onalaska, and Gladys (Roger) Kaus of Raleigh, NC, 2 sisters-in-law, Alvera Eckelberg, of Kendall, and Marion Eckelberg of Janesville, many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret, his wife Ruth, his parents, a daughter De Ette Eckelberg, a great-granddaughter Livvie Graf, 3 brothers, Loren, Charles and Raymond Eckelberg, 3 brothers-in-law Gilbert Neitzel, William Kobleska, and Leonard Butterfuss and a special friend Marlene Wilde. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 6, 2011, 11:00 A.M. at St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, 525 Superior Avenue, Tomah. Pastor Curt Backhaus will officiate. Burial will be in Oak Grove Cemetery, Tomah. Relatives and friends are invited to call on Wednesday from 4:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. at the Sonnenburg Family Funeral Home 801 E. Monowau St. Tomah, and at the church on Thursday from 10:00 A.M. until time of the service. Online condolences may be given to The Family Request Memorials be given to St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church or St. Paul Ev. Lutheran School or a charity of your choice, in Robert’s Memory.


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