Charles Lewis (Chuck) Felker, 88, of La Crosse, died March 7, 2015, at Bethany St. Joseph Care Center, La Crosse.
He was born July 24, 1926, in Stevens Point, WI to Raymond L. and Eleanor H. (Van Hecke) Felker. He grew up in Marshfield and Stevens Point. He joined the US Navy in 1944 and served in North Africa and Italy during World War II. When he returned from the service he went to college on the G.I. Bill, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He met the love of his life, Mary (Bukolt) Felker, at a Waupaca dance hall during the summer of 1948, and they graduated together from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. They were married on August 25, 1951, in Stevens Point.
Chuck worked for the Shell Oil Company in Minneapolis and then moved his family to La Crosse, where he was hired by the Raymond Brothers to design the roads and oversee the construction of the homes in the many subdivisions they developed in the area. He was very active in St. Thomas More parish and sang in the choir there for many years. He bought a small motor boat in 1958 and thereafter he and Mary were true â€œriver ratsâ€, taking their family and friends out boating on the Mississippi almost every week for waterskiing, good food and fun.
Chuck and Mary taught ballroom dance classes for many years and led over a dozen Caribbean dance cruises. They loved to travel and spent many enjoyable years roaming around the country in their RV.
Chuck will be dearly missed by his seven children and their families: Marcia (John) Sarnowski and their children, David (Lisa), Danny (Ann), and Jake (Rachel); Mark and his children, Brian (Cheryl) and Alison (Marshall) Handy; Michael (Nancy) and their children, Heather (Ben) Socie and Matthew; Marian (Thomas) Ricci and their children, Stephen (Lisabeth), John, and Christopher; Monica (Joseph) Weigel and their children, Erin, Nathaniel, and Samuel; Martin (Susan) and their children, Randy and Anna; Margaret (Marty) Tryba and their children, Ryan and Adam. He cherished every one of his 17 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, and his many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Chuck is also survived by his sister Anne (Felker) Solomon and her husband Arthur, and his brother-in-law James Bukolt and his wife Rebecca.
He was preceded in death by Mary, his loving wife of 63 years; his parents; his parents-in-law (Victor and Ramona Bukolt); his sister Barbara (Felker) Mellin and her husband William, and his brother Thomas Felker and his wife Patricia; and his brother-in-law Victor Bukolt and his wife Theresa.
Chuck`s family would like to thank all who cared for him so tenderly, including the staff at Benedictine Villa, St. Francis Hospital, Bethany St. Joseph Care Center and the St. Jude Hospice Team.
A visitation will be held at the Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Avenue South, La Crosse on Wednesday, March 11, from 4:30 â€“ 7:30 p.m., starting with a Rosary service at 4:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Thursday, March 12, at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman, 530 Main Street, La Crosse. Family and friends may also visit from 9:00 AM until the time of Mass in the Cathedral on Thursday.
Memorials are preferred to the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman; Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati OH 45250-0301; or Aquinas Catholic Schools Foundation, 521 South 13th Street, La Crosse WI 54601.