John Ides Eisenhauer

John Ides Eisenhauer
John Ides Eisenhauer

John Ides Eisenhauer, age 74, died at home on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, surrounded and cared for by his wife, daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren and sister-in-law, Chris, and holding the hand of his high school sweetheart, best friend and wife of 53 years, Sue. He was born on March 13, 1941, in Kenosha, the second son of John Thomas Eisenhauer and Lois Lila (Hollenbeck) Eisenhauer.

John and Sue were married in 1962. Together they raised four daughters, Janet, Nancy, Jean and Mary Louise. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1964 as a Chemical Engineer. John also completed post-graduate work at the University of Iowa and the Wharton Business School Arresty Institute. At the time of his death, John was a Construction Manager at Unity Point Health Meriter Hospital. He worked at the hospital for nearly 15 years.

His hundreds of projects over the years ranged from installing a new operating theatre to assisting interested staff in planting a vegetable garden on-site, and everything in between. For each project, John worked with the relevant hospital staff to determine their needs, as well as architects, designers, contractors, state and federal regulators, and many more. He saw his mission at Meriter as making it as easy as possible for the rest of the staff to do their important work of caring for and serving people in the community. John felt especially blessed to work in the Facilities Department with a group of people he considered dear friends. He and his family appreciated their support throughout his time at Meriter, particularly in the last year of his life. Prior to joining Meriter, John spent the majority of his working life in the petro-chemical industry, holding various positions in research, business and manufacturing.

He served as the plant manager at several petro-chemical plants, including one in Clinton, Iowa, a plant which he helped to design and build at an early stage in his career. John was a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for nearly 50 years. Throughout his career, he served as a mentor to his colleagues, a role he also played in his private life for friends and, in particular, young people. Perhaps one of his greatest gifts was his willingness and ability to listen to others, to hear their needs, and to give them the confidence to proceed. John also spent a great deal of his time volunteering for the various communities in which he lived. His contributions are too numerous to list; he served on boards for numerous charities, and was appointed by mayors and governors to advisory councils. He was recognized for his community work many times over the years, receiving many awards, including the Key to the City of Clinton, Iowa.

One of his favorite projects was the “Symphony of Lights,” a Christmas spectacular lighting event in Eagle Point Park, Clinton, Iowa. John was an avid Badgers, Hawkeyes and Packers fan. He loved attending football and baseball games, and watching any sporting event on TV with his wife and daughters. When his daughters were children, the family spent their vacations camping, canoeing and singing around the campfire while John played his guitar. He also loved spending time with his grandchildren. Talking, listening, laughing, playing games, fishing and sitting around the fire pit on a summer evening.

John is survived by his wife, Sue; his four daughters, Janet Eisenhauer Smith, Nancy Eisenhauer (Jansen Calamita), Jean (Jim) Wiese and Mary Louise Eisenhauer (Rick Prangen); his grandchildren, Isabel and Isaiah “Ike” Smith, Johann Ides Calamita, Elyse and Jacob Prangen and Anna Clara Lohmueller; his sisters and brothers-in-law, Barbara Eisenhauer, Chris Schmelling, Bill and Abby Schmelling, Stephen Schmelling and Carlotta Lockmiller; as well as numerous beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Roger; his brother-in-law, John Schmelling; sister-in-law, Elizabeth Schmelling; as well as his mother and father-in-law, Frances and Gordon Schmelling.

A Mass of Christian Burial to celebrate John’s life will be held at OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 401 S. Owen Dr., Madison, at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Burial will follow the Mass at Forest Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON FITCHBURG FUNERAL HOME, 2950 Chapel Valley Rd., Fitchburg, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m., on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, and at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass on Saturday.

In lieu of ?owers, memorial funds have been established in John’s name at Meriter Hospital Foundation, 202 South Park Street, Madison, Wisconsin, 53715 and Clinton Community College, 1000 Lincoln Boulevard, Clinton, Iowa, 52732. On behalf of John and his family, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the staff of Unity Point Meriter Hospital, Wisconsin Heart, and Meriter Clinics for caring for John with genuine compassion and respect during the last several years, and for giving his family the gift of several extra years to be together. Thank you to Agrace HospiceCare for their support, including in particular Andrea, whose care helped to soothe John and bring him comfort in the last week of his life. Online condolences may be made at