Gerald Kaler, age 79, of Wausau, passed away unexpectedly at Aspirus Wausau Hospital Thursday, March 13, 2014. He was born on January 18, 1935 in Mason City, Iowa to the late Helen (Christian) and Harry Kaler.
He attended and graduated from Mason City High School in 1953 and then graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in law. He had many different business ventures during his lifetime. He was in the trucking business with his father at Kaler Freight lines and was the company attorney for the business in Mason City. He owned a putt-putt golf course, was a pilot, owned and operated pizza and chicken restaurants across the country including his greatest accomplishment of launching Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken and Catering in 1966, which he proudly ran as an owner/operator until his passing. He was one of the original 10 franchises which he bought from Lee Cummings (Colonel Harlan Sander's nephew). He told many colorful stories of the early days with Lee and the Colonel. He was known in the Wausau area as "The Chicken Man" or "The General", as he bore a striking resemblance to Colonel Sanders that so many people commented on.
Gerald is survived by his Life Partner of 25 years, Cynthia Ecklund; son, Daniel (Sheryl) Kaler of Guthrie, Oklahoma; Son Michael Kaler of Faribault, Minnesota; Son, Paul (Sarah) Kaler of O'Fallon, Missouri; Stepson Samuel (Christina) Ecklund of Wausau; five grandchildren, David Kaler, Gabriel Kaler, Leah Kaler, Jonah Kaler, and Mason Ecklund; two Great Grandchildren; and the mothers of his children Gerry Brower and Sally Ward. He is also survived by his sister, Ruby Lawler of Tyler, Texas; several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
A funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 7:00 pm at Brainard Funeral Home Everest Chapel, 5712 Memorial Ct, Weston, WI. Visitation will be held from 4:00 pm until the time of services at the funeral home. He will be laid to rest at 1:00 pm on Friday March 21, 2014 at Memorial Park Cemetery, 11495 265th Street in Mason City, IA with a luncheon to follow.
Brainard Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Condolences may be given at www.brainardfuneral.com
Gerald will be missed dearly by all who knew and loved him.
Brainard Funeral Home and Cremation Center
5712 Memorial Court Weston, WI 54476
Published in the Wausau Daily Herald from Mar. 16 to Mar. 18, 2014