Albert J. Habel
Albert J. Habel, age 101, of Wisconsin Rapids, WI died Saturday, January 19, 2019 at Arborwood Lodge Assisted Living in Wisconsin Rapids, WI.
Funeral Services are 11:00 AM Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at Ritchay Funeral Home in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. Visitation will be at Ritchay Funeral Home on Wednesday from 9:00-11:00 AM. Entombment in Forest Hill Mausoleum.
Albert was born on December 23, 1917 at a logging camp in Phillips, WI. He was the second oldest of 3 brothers and 1 sister, all of whom have long passed on.
Albert attended the one year Agriculture Program at UW- Madison which began his long career in the farming and dairy industry. His first position for Dairy Herd Improvement required him to call on individual farmers and working with them to increase their production of dairy products. At that time there was a shortage of cheese, butter, Etc. for the veterans in service. He would frequently spend the night with the farmer and his family which he often said, “was the most wonderful part of his work”.
During this period, he met Kathryn O’Hearn from Brownsville, WI and they wed in 1942 making their home in Lomira, WI. In the subsequent years, they welcomed two children. Unfortunately, his beloved Kate passed away in 2010 after 68 years of marriage.
In 1953, Albert began his job with Midland Cooperative working as a salesman of animal feed and a live-stock specialist for all of Central Wisconsin which required the move to Wisconsin Rapids. During his career, he received many awards for increases of sales in Wisconsin. Midland Feeds later merged with Land-o-Lakes and he continued to work with that company until his retirement in 1989.
Wanting to remain active, Albert began another career- volunteering. For 16 years, he delivered “Meals on Wheels” and logged on 3775 hours delivering 9696 meals.
In 2011, Albert was nominated for the Brewers Community Achievers Award for volunteer services. Al, along with his family, traveled to Milwaukee and was presented with the award. He was asked to throw out the first pitch and was cheered on by more than 40,000 fans.
Albert was an avid golfer. He loved to play golf and was very competitive. He shot his age many times-playing weekly thru 98 years old. But Albert’s greatest passion was playing the accordion and harmonica. He never took a lesson but could pick up any tune he heard. He thoroughly enjoyed sharing his talents with others and did so on a daily basis at Arborwood Lodge.
For his 100th birthday, a celebration was held at the Lodge attended by many friends and relatives. The highlight of the festivities was Albert on the accordion accompanied by the Union Cowboy Band. And of course, dancing with the ladies!
Albert is survived by his children, Mary Beth (Jim) Rokus of Wisconsin Rapids, WI and Tom (Laura) Habel of Plover, WI; grandchildren, Kelly Farrish of St. Paul, MN, Chris (Sarah) Rokus of St. Paul, MN, Kevin (Stacee) Rokus of St. Paul, MN and Dustin Habel of Aurora, CO; in addition to his parents and wife, Kathryn, he was preceded in death by brothers, Joe, Ted and Lad and sister, Mildred. He is also survived by one sister-in-law, Beatrice Nelson of Fond du Lac, WI.
The family would like to thank the caring staff at Arborwood Lodge and Heartland Hospice for their friendship and support, especially through his final days.
Memorials, in Albert’s name may be given to the Wisconsin Rapids Serra club in memory of Albert’s service to the organization for over 60 years.