Kenneth J Wing (Kenny/Winger)
Passed away September 4, 2019 at Lakeview Health Care from the horrible disease of Alzheimer’s. Born October 22, 1937 to John and Myrtle (DeRoucher) in LaCrosse, WI and known and loved by many as “Winger”.
Kenny was a man who loved his family, Christmas, Oktoberfest, being a member of the chain gang at Logan High School, his students, his Union, his reserve unit and helping others. His list of accomplishments and awards is long and volunteer hours countless. The lives that were affected by his contributions to those he loved and served numbers in the thousands.
As a young boy he was feisty and pushed limits. He liked to tell the story of when he went to see Elvis when he played at the Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium, because that’s where all the girls were. Kenny was always a flirt but only had eyes and a heart for one, his sweetheart of 61 years of marriage, his wife Pat whom he loved to call “Patty-O”.
He joined the Army Reserve in 1956 and remained “playing soldier” until his retirement from the Onalaska Army Reserve 389th Corp of Engineers.He created many great memories and longtime friends as they did their drills. This was also another source of income that he saved to spend all at once and for his favorite holiday, Christmas. Christmas was always a magical time at the Wing house. From baking cookies, hosting the large family Christmas Day gathering where it was mandatory to show a church bulletin before you were allowed to eat, to standing in the middle of a huge pile of presents wearing his traditional shirt year after year that read “Merry Christmas” from afar but upon close inspection it said “I will be MERRY when the CHRISTMAS shopping is done” which for Kenny, was never. He bought gifts all year long and for years many came from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse Auction. The auction was like a national holiday to him and he wanted to be there early, stay to the end and spend a lot of money. He was branded “The Auction King” by the Boys and Girls Club “Terry Erickson Club”, which he lived across the street from and was extremely proud of the title.
Early in life he started construction and found it to be a path to teaching wood construction. He was a teacher at Western Technical College for 32 years, 11 months and 2 weeks and was poked fun of for not staying 2 weeks longer to be an even 33 years.He started at WWTI and retired from Western and never changed jobs but saw his beloved home for all those years change names.He created relationships not only with the staff but hundreds of students, many of those who went on to have successful businesses and become skilled craftsmen. Kenny was not afraid to get involved with the community and volunteer his skills and students to pay it forward and learn real life skills by making a difference in the community. He was instrumental in building the Northside Policing Center, the La Crescent Library, the first Rotary Lights Santa House, clocks, cabinets for raffles, projects for Logan High School, the Loggers and several other community projects. He spearheaded programs that helped bring many affordable houses to La Crosse and he was honored by the community, the state and nationally many times. But one thing you didn’t do in Kenny Wing’s class is be late, he was famous for the saying “if you are late you buy the donuts”. Most students will remember the fun he brought from going to the “library” aka, the bar to the end of the year parties that often included softball games, hot beef and the famous milk drinking. But Kenny never completely retired as he taught night school on Tuesday nights for many more years. He was known for being traditional and predictable like wearing a Packer shirt every Monday during football season his entire teaching career.
He loved his Green Bay Packers. Most of his family were convinced he bled green and gold. He was a stock holder and took it seriously and felt it his duty to watch them weekly, decorate many walls with his memorabilia, spread the accomplishments of the Packers and certainly never missed a game. There was only one reason he would ever miss a game and that was for his first love, his family although many family events were scheduled around a Packer game.
Family was his everything and what made him tick. He was the matriarch, the glue, the respect and the heart of the Wing Clan that included 6 children, 27 grandchildren and 23 great grand children with number 24 on its way. The day Kenny earned is “wings” a few short hours later # 23 great grandchild came into this world, a grandson, a boy who will carry on the Wing name and legacy, whom he probably passed on his way to heaven as his great grandson was on his way down to the loving, very tight knit family Kenny had just left.
Kenny was an alumnus of Aquinas High School, class of ’56, which he remained loyal to and followed his entire life. However, living across from Logan High School where all of his children graduated lead to years of involvement. From floats being built in his garage, to attending hundreds of events for his children and grandchildren Winger became a legend on the football field. He was the proud leader of the Logan High School chain gang, the guys that held the down markers for Logan High School games for over 40 years.
After many years of service to the community he received one of his greatest honors, becoming the 2001 Oktoberfest Torchlight Parade Marshal. Kenny never missed a single Oktoberfest and made sure his family didn’t either. He proudly wore his “battle gear” whenever he could to show his pride for this honor, promote Oktoberfest and kiss the girls! Doing parades, traveling to schools and nursing homes, going to Canada and winning the log cutting contest were special memories for Kenny. This organization was his second family and he loved them dearly. He was always one of the first to volunteer and first to flash his button for a kiss!
There will be a party in heaven when he arrives stoked by polka music, family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, 5 of his brothers and sisters, a granddaughter, his mother and father in law, Emery and Susie Haugen, whom he wrote his name on many items in their possession to ensure he would get them in their will (a very long standing joke in the family) and several special friends who were guiding factors of his life. He was extremely fortunate to have the staff at Lakeview Health Care to help guide him through his final year and the horrible disease Alzheimer’s. The care, love and understanding and crap from Kenny made them angels in his eyes and his family’s eyes.
Kenny is survived by his wife Patricia (Pat) Haugen of 62 years. His 6 children Jeffery Wing (Kim), Sue Weidemann (Mike), Debra Ciokiewicz (Daryl), Jim Wing (Kristin), Tracey Johnsrud (Mark), Laurie Noelke (Dave). 27 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren. His sister Peg La Lalazerne (Ron) of Fort Worth, Kansas and the hundreds and hundreds of family and friends who loved him dearly.
Services honoring Kenny Wing will be held on Monday, September 9, 2019 at First Lutheran Church, 410 Main Street, Onalaska. Pastor Jason Stanton and Pastor Ted Dewald will officiate and burial with military honors will be in the Oak Grove Cemetery. Friends may visit with the family on Sunday from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Dickinson Family Funeral Home, 401 Main Street, and again at the church on Monday from 9:00 a.m. until time of services. Information and online condolences may be given to the family at www.dickinsonfuneralhomes.com.
In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate gifts to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Boys and Girls Club Terry Erickson Club. Gifts given directly to the family will be split and sent to these cherished charities. We also ask you to join us for the Alzheimer’s Association walk on September 14th and the fundraiser after at Jimmy’s North Star to raise money for Alzheimer’s research.
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