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Lester Irvin Gukenberger, Jr.

September 27, 2019 September 27, 2019
Lester Irvin Gukenberger, Jr.
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Obituary for Lester Irvin Gukenberger, Jr.

I didn't get in any trouble in high school.  With the principal we had, you didn't act up.  He would punch your lights out; that was no lie.

I was born and grew up in Wisconsin Rapids, and I've lived there my whole life, except for the four years I was in the Air Force, when I made Japan my home.

My dad was also Lester.  He was a Deputy Sheriff in Wood County, then later worked in a power plant.  Because of that job, I went my first two years of high school in Baraboo, but the last two in Wisconsin Rapids, where I graduated in 1947.

My mother was Bertha, who was a homemaker.  She's been dead for 19 years.  Ny father died before her.  I had one brother, MArcin, who was two years older than me.

After high school, I worked at Preway, a stove company.  I was there for three years, running a power break.

Then I joined the Air Force.  Basic was at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, and I spent six months there altogether before I was sent to Japan.  I was stationed at Johnson Air Force Base, about 15 miles east od Tokyo, then at Troy Air Force Base, which was 15 miles west of Tokyo.  I was in Japan three years.  I swaw a lot of Japan and Tokyo.

I was an assistant architext.  I built a $2.5M barracks and operations center, the whole thing.  My boss, Colonel Sawyer, was a West Pointer and a good guyto work with.  Guess who he put at the top of the promotions list? Me!  I made staff sergeant in tow years.  I was at the right place at the right time. Then I was sent back to Texas, to Kelly Air Forxe Base which is right next to Lackland.  I was going to reenlist, but the Colonel there and I didn't se eye to eye.

So, I got out, and came back to Wisconsin and to Preway.  I retired from them 40 years later.

I married Caroline in 1957.  She passed away 19 years ago.  We had tow children.  The oldst is Leslie.  She lives in San Francisco, as far from me ash she can get.  Our boy, Michael, lives iwth me.  Neither one had any children.

Later, Preway made me a foreman.  Then fice years later, they made me a supercisor over two departments. I had 60 or 80 men under me.

I retired when Preway locked the doors and sold out to a telephone outfit in California. 

I then had a part time job as a deputy sheriff.l  The sheriff and deputies kind of liced at our house.  So, Tom, the sheriff, said, "Do you want to be a deputy, Les?"

I said, "why not?" I got to wear a nice brown hat, a nice brown uniform with a stripe on the trousers, and to carry a 357. (Magnum Revovler)

The sheriff was a nice guy.  He said, "Your dad died at 62 of a heart attack.  THat's the way I want to go." After20 years, he said, "That's enough," and gave it up.  He came down to adison, went to real estate sxhool, had a heart attack and died.

I didn't lik to fish, but I liked to hunt.  I wasn't much of a fiheman and I was a piss poor hunter.  I got tow buck in 18 years.  My brother owned a garage in Baraboo.  He went hunting and the first day got a nice buck, eight or ten points!  He and I also went pheasant hunting once in South Dakota.  Our Germ,an shepherd was a good a retriever as I've ever seen.

I'm a 32nd degree MAson.  I became a MAson the year my son was born, so I've been one for 42 years.  I also like to ready and watch TV.

I came to the VA becasue I couldn't breathe.  I have a friend from Preway who was in the Army, who has had 19 operations here.  I expect to be here just three days.

Usually I go to Tomah, buth they were full so I ended up here.  I've been to Tomah a lot.  My care at the VA here and at Tomah has been great.  I want my caregivers to know they've all been great.

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