William Wayne Schuelke
BARNEVELD – William Wayne Schuelke, age 96, passed away peacefully at his home in Barneveld, Wis., on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020.
Wayne was born Feb. 12, 1924, at the family’s cheese factory in Barneveld, to William and Florence (Eveland) Schuelke.
He learned to hunt for ‘everything’ at an early age and often brought home unique things for dinner, which his mother cooked and served.
Because of his love of music and a natural ability to create and play by ear, his father bought him a saxophone at the age of six. Wayne began taking lessons and subsequently earned numerous awards including at the national level. This led to joining a band and working gigs most weekends as a teenager. He continued to play his saxophone up until the last two months of his life.
At 14, Wayne learned to fly. He worked hard to earn enough money to buy his first plane.
He was called to serve his country in World War II, but prior to going overseas he was called home to work in his family’s cheese factory in Ridgeway. He passed the love of ‘tasty aged cheese’ to his children.
Wayne met Phyllis (Sandy) Melland at a dance which she attended with her many sisters in Drummond, Wis. He was in northern Wisconsin to hunt deer but found his ‘dear’ instead. They married July 17, 1946, and made their home at the Ridgeway Cheese Factory and then on the farm in Barneveld. Owning and running a dairy farm was hard work, but they built their life together, started a family, and eventually created Hidden Valley Sports, a snowmobile and recreational business. Phyllis was Wayne’s right hand woman!
Wayne raced snowmobiles throughout Wisconsin and eventually at the National Contest in New York.
Wayne and Phyllis worked tirelessly to build a farm with conservation in mind. They received many awards for their efforts, including a nomination to the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame.
Wayne and Phyllis planted thousands of trees with assistance from their children and grandchildren who planted sometimes by light from the family car. Wayne raised pheasants and with help from his grandchildren, set them free. They helped Grandpa make waterway improvements to the land. The land produced rare plants which are seldom found anymore in Wisconsin and these plants in turn attracted rare butterflies.
Wayne’s faith was most important to him. He regularly attended church and served on the Barneveld Lutheran Church Council, taught adult Bible classes, and enjoyed eating heartily at the church’s many lutefisk and lefse dinners.
Then there’s hunting…but with a bit more taste in mind than when he was six. He hunted turkey, bear, deer, elk, and moose. He often brought one home to Phyllis.
And then there’s fishing…every chance he could…at a local stream or pond or Up North.
Wayne was a member of the local American Legion. He thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of other veterans.
In later years, sometimes rather than hunting, he found enjoyment feeding the songbirds, rabbits, turkeys, deer, and pheasants, watching them from his recliner in the living room and attending or watching sports.
Wayne is survived by his son, Bruce (Renee) Schuelke; daughters, Sonia (John) Dionne and Ann (Ron) Mason; grandchildren, Todd Schuelke, Nicole Schuelke, Eric (Ashley) Schuelke; Jason (Heather) Dionne, Ryan (Laura) Dionne; Heather (Jake) Bohne, and Amber Luhman and James Bredeson; great-grandchildren, Emma and Loreli Schuelke; Payton and Mallory Dionne, Ava and Caleb Dionne, and Alaric Bohne; sisters, Carol Wininger and Jane (Fred) Goebel; brother-in-law, Chris Melland; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Wayne was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis; his daughter, Rita Schuelke; sisters, Arlene Engels and Marion Swoboda; and his parents.
A private family outdoor memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, at the White Church Cemetery in Barneveld with Pastor Jim Hearne presiding. Family and friends who wish to view services via LIVE STREAM may visit Wayne’s obituary page at www.gundersonfh.com and click on the Watch Webcast link. Military honors to follow the service. Due to COVID-19, social distancing and face masks are required.
Memorials may be made to Barneveld Lutheran Church or written to Wayne’s family to be given to conservation or nature related groups.
Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
Gunderson Camacho Mount Horeb
Funeral & Cremation Care
500 N. Eighth St.