Lee was a remarkable man whose intelligence, hard work and self-reliance were matched equally by his strength of character, calm demeanor and sociability. He was a loving son and brother, a dedicated husband, devoted stepfather and grandfather.
Born Lee Rudolph Wieland in the city of Alma in February 1924, he was the only son of Lila and Rudolph Wieland and older brother to sister, Lita. They grew up on the family farm in the Town of Glencoe. Lee passed away in October 2020 at the age of 96.
His determination and persistence were forged as a child growing up against the backdrop of the Great Depression and World War II uncertainties. He graduated from Arcadia High School, class of 1942. Lee went off to attend the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater that fall as a freshman. The following year as a sophomore, he began attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in order to help out with the family farm, which was a bit closer to Arcadia. The war found countless men of this generation placing their careers on hold in order to assist the war effort with the agricultural needs of a nation. It was this government request that prompted his return to Arcadia as he continued feeding a nation through his work on the family farm for the next 46 years until his retirement.
In August 1969, he married Carole Dey of La Crosse, Wis., welcoming her and her daughter Cindy, from a previous marriage, to Arcadia, where they resided and continued operating the family farm with his brother-in-law, Jerry Schollmeier, until their retirement.
Lee was community service minded and extremely active in his township, the city of Arcadia and throughout Buffalo and Trempealeau counties. He was a board member of the Trempealeau County Electric Cooperative, the Dairyland Electric Cooperative, the Land O’Lakes Corporate Board of Directors, the Buffalo County Board of Supervisors, the A-G Cooperative Board of Directors, the Arcadia Hospital Board, the Arcadia Christ Lutheran Church Board the Glencoe Cemetery Board, the Grindstone Lake Owners Association and the Arcadia Historical Society. He owned and operated the Wieland Insurance Agency for over 50 years. He was on the River Valley Mutual Insurance Company Board of Directors until 2020.
Lee and Carole traveled to many delightful destinations across the United States from Alaska to Florida and Maine to California. Outside the U.S., they made their way to Mexico, Jamaica, Bermuda, and Canada.
Upon retirement his weekends were filled with trips up north to their cottage on Grindstone Lake near Hayward, Wis. Friday night fish fries were standard fare with wife, Carole; his stepdaughter, Cindy; son-in-law, Harry Rasmussen; and their two grandsons, Erik and Benjamin Rasmussen. Saturdays and Sundays could find him and Grandma Carole on their pontoon boat catching all the walleye, bass and northern pike that Grindstone Lake would give up. Saturday evenings gave us all an opportunity to consume way too many s’mores around their lakeside campfire.
Lee and Carole were faithful football grandparents, attending Erik’s college football games at UW-La Crosse and Ben’s football games at Hayward High School. He cheered on all the Badger and Packer football teams with great enthusiasm. As a devoted Arcadia High School sports fan, he attended just about every football and basketball game over a 60-year span. It was this loyalty and enthusiasm that earned him “Arcadia High School Sports Fan of the Year” in 1977.
Lee paid cash for everything he owned. That’s just what you did when you grew up as a member of the “Greatest Generation.” We remember some of Grandpa Lee’s humorous sayings. When he was offered some of Grandma’s homemade cherry pie and was too full for seconds, he would say, “I am full as a tick.” The family bought Lee a new set of Chicago cutlery steak knives and asked how he liked them. His reply to us as we discovered they just couldn’t hold an edge was, “You could ride to China on that knife.” Whenever his grandsons Erik and Ben would visit him and talk about their summer jobs with long work days of 10 and 12 hours, he would just smile and say, “yep.” You just knew he was thinking of all those 16-, 18-, and 20-hour days he had put in as an agricultural specialist. Not one to just sit around, at age 93 he discovered his yard needed some black dirt prep and Lee hopped on his John Deere tractor and took care of it, just like that. He and high school classmate Eldon Berg drove to Whitehall together to renew their driver licenses in 2017, (their birthdays were only two days apart); they both passed with flying colors. They were issued renewed and valid licenses until they were 101.
Those who will always remember, treasure and cherish his life are his wife, Carole, of 51 years; his stepdaughter, Cindy (Harry) Rasmussen of Hayward, Wis.; his grandsons, Erik Lee Rasmussen of Middleton, Idaho, and Benjamin James Rasmussen of Stevens Point, Wis.; nephew, Terry and Sally Schollmeier and family; nephew, Kent and Kathy Schollmeier and family; and niece, Merita Schollmeier.
Lee was preceded in death by his sister and brother-in-law, Lita and Jerry Schollmeier.
Due to the COVID-19 virus, a private graveside ceremony will be held at a later date. To express condolences on line please visit www.wozneykillianfh.com.