Kenneth Wiltgen, 70, Ossian, died Saturday, June 14, 2014, at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn.
Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 21, at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, Ossian, with Msgr. Cletus Hawes as the Celebrant.
Inurnment followed at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Cemetery, Ossian.
Memorials in Ken’s honor may be directed to the Ossian Fire Department, Ossian Ambulance Service, DeSales School or the Ossian Medical Clinic.
Schmitz - Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Ossian, assisted the family with the arrangements.
Kenneth Raphael, the son of Francis and Rita (Wenthold) Wiltgen, was born Oct. 8, 1943, in Decorah. Ken graduated from De Sales High School in Ossian. He worked for Becker Hardware in Ossian for six years before becoming a maintainer operator for Winneshiek County. After 35 years with Winneshiek County, Ken retired and went back to work part-time for Becker Hardware for seven years.
Ken was united in marriage with Carol Zweibohmer on Nov. 11, 1964, at St. Bridget Catholic Church in Postville. To this union, five children were born.
Ken was a member of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church. He served on the Ossian Fire Department for several years and was a member of the Silver Springs Golf and Country Club in Ossian. He had also served on the De Sales School board.
Ken thanked God for every day and many heard him say “Every day was a good one.” He loved his wife and family beyond words. The annual family fishing vacation in Minnesota was a highlight of the year for him. And throughout the year, he was a dedicated spectator of the grandchildren’s sports and school events.
He took great pride in his country home and grooming the lawn with his John Deere mower. The family always relied on his advice and “Mr. Fix-it” talents. Everyone knew he was an early riser, and rarely did he miss a morning to watch one of God’s sunrises.
Ken was a huge fan of country music and played in a band for several years. And just last year, he saw some of his very favorite country singers at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville.
He always looked forward to Sunday mornings with his coffee group friends. Many things were discussed, but always with lots of laughter.
There is no doubt that he loved life, and these are some of his final words: “I’ve had a good life – I am happy.”
Ken is survived by his wife Carol of 49 years; five children, Marcine (Tom) Raatz of Polk City; Lisa (Marty) Lensing of Decorah; Annette (Eric) Schweinefus of Polk City; Jennifer (Al) Schott of Clermont; and Ryan (Kristie) Wiltgen of Spillville; 10 grandchildren, Dustin (Katrina) Raatz, Mikayla Raatz, Becca Lensing, Braden Lensing, Cody (Katie Huinker) Schweinefus, Madison Schweinefus, Croy Schott, Dane Schott, Collin Wiltgen, and Ayla Wiltgen; five siblings, Bill (Marian) Wiltgen of Ossian; Pat (Larry) Bruening of New Hampton; Tim (Mary) Wiltgen of Fredericksburg; Betty (Allan) Franzen of Fredericksburg; and Lori (Gary) Dietzenbach of Ft. Atkinson; and his in-laws, Joe and Jan Connell, Doris Walz, Terry and Shirley Lensing, and Larry and Helena Zweibohmer.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents, Francis and Rita Wiltgen; a brother who died in infancy, Terry; a sister who died in infancy, Marceen; his father-in-law and mother–in-law, Ray and Winifred Zweibohmer, his brother-in-law, Art Walz; and a nephew, Jerry Walz.