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Leo Driessen

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Leo Driessen Obituary

Age 96, died peacefully on February 15, 2014. He was surrounded by family and close friends, in the Kaukauna, Wisconsin home where he was born, grew up and resided his entire life, except during his Army service in the Pacific during World War II.

Born May 17, 1917 to Edward G. and Lucy King Driessen, he graduated from Kaukauna High School and in 1946 married Frances Hopfensperger Driessen of Appleton. He was preceded in death by Frances, his son Christopher, and his siblings Everett (Julia), Quentin (Helen), Lozelle (Jule) Schommer, Margaret (Ronald "Tip") Reetz, Robert (Marion), Norbert "Nub" (Ann) and Floyd (Marian).

He is survived by his daughters Jane and Andrea, son Paul (Dvorah Richman) and their children Ari (Sarah) and Amy, son Joseph (Karen) and their children Elizabeth (Anthony) Dabruzzi and Allison, and brother-in-law Joseph (Wendy) Hopfensperger.

Leo eagerly embraced life and all the opportunities and challenges it offered, accepted difficulties and painful losses, and epitomized his belief that people don't stop playing, working and learning because they get old; they get old because they stop playing, working and learning.

He was a true Renaissance man, who was self-taught and never stopped learning, through voracious reading and constant activities (though he mostly left email and the internet to his descendants). He renovated his residence, became an expert gardener and soup maker, and was renowned as a wood carver and artisan whose stunning works are displayed in churches, homes and businesses throughout Wisconsin and beyond. He remained active in all these endeavors until well into his 95th year.

Honorably discharged after three years in the Pacific, Leo later joined the Army Reserves, retiring in 1967 as a Command Sergeant Major. He participated in the Honor Flight to the WWII Memorial in Washington, DC in 2010.

Following his retirement as district manager for the Wisconsin Gas Company (now WE Energy), he and Marvin Schumacher recruited other talented retirees to build Kaukauna's new Chamber of Commerce building. Leo also raised funds for the city's Performing Arts Center, Friends and Family sculpture gardens, and high school Galloping Ghost statue. He and his friend Oscar Boldt were founding members of the Fox Valley Community Foundation, and Leo helped to establish the Kaukauna Industrial Park and encourage companies to locate to it. In his spare time, he pursued his newfound love of opera, remained active in Rotary International for 45 years, served on the Kaukauna school and hospital boards, and loved to convey his passions and skills to his children and grandchildren.

The Driessen family offers its heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Jack Meyer for his many years as Leo's physician and friend, and to Bright Star Home Care, whose loving care allowed Leo to remain in his home for the last eight months of his life, especially Carol Brauer and aides Michelle, Ida, Diane and Shantal. We are also very grateful to massage therapist Meighan Laubenstein, and to Affinity Visiting Nurses and Hospice for all their help, particularly Shelly, Tracy, Barbie, Cass and their other staff and volunteers, during Leo's last months. Finally, we offer our deepest thanks to Leo's dear friends Tom Nelson and Patriot Guard Riders Senior Ride Captain Michael Weaver for their steadfast presence, help and support.

Memorial services will be held at 6:00 PM on Friday, February 21, 2014 at HOLY CROSS CATHOLIC CHURCH, 309 Desnoyer Street in Kaukauna. A reception will follow. Family and friends are welcome to gather at the church on Friday afternoon, beginning at 4:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are being established in Leo's name.

Online condolences may be offered at



Published in Appleton Post-Crescent from Feb. 17 to Feb. 19, 2014
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