Charles Stuart Podbelsek, age 81, of Spencer, died unexpectedly Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in the Town of Unity. A memorial service will be held 11:00 AM Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at St. John's ECLA Lutheran Church in Spencer. Rev. Rebekah Tarras will officiate. A visitation will be held Monday, June 24, 2013 from 4 - 8 PM at the Hansen-Schilling Funeral Home in Spencer and again on Tuesday at the church from 10 AM until the time of service at the church in Spencer. Burial will follow the service at West Spencer Cemetery.
Charles was born on December 6, 1931 in Bloomington, IL, the son of Carl and Lula (Imig) Podbelsek. The family later moved to Logan County, IL where Charles received his schooling.
He graduated from New Holland High School in the spring of 1949. During the summer of 1949, Charles worked for Asche Construction Co. from Nebraska putting up government grain bins. In the fall of 1949, he went to work for P.H. Koester Hardware in New Holland, IL where he worked until entering the U.S. Air Force
(USAF) in March 1951.
After serving four years in the USAF, Charles entered Tri-State College in Angola, IN. He graduated from Tri-State with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering (BSEE). After graduation, he accepted a position at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, St. Louis, MO in the Flight Test Department as a Flight Test Instrumentation Design Engineer. When the space program came along, he was assigned to work both the Mercury and Gemini Programs in instrumentation design.
In 1964, Charles decided he needed a change, and having been raised on a farm, he decided to return to farming. After purchasing a dairy farm in rural Spencer, WI, the family moved to WI on April 22, 1964. They sold the farm in 1998 and moved close to some friends where Charles helped with planting and harvesting. He had a combine and did custom combining until 2008. Also, he did some driving for the Amish, and after his wife of 51 years passed away, he drove the Amish full time and became friends with many of them.
Charles was united in marriage to Leda Litwiller on December 22, 1957. She preceded him in death on February 15, 2009. He is lovingly survived by his children, Curtis (Debbie) Podbelsek, Marshfield, WI and Barbara Podbelsek, Dallas, TX; one grandson Ryan Podbelsek, Marshfield, WI; sister, Ruth Dravis, Bloomington, IL; brother, Allan Podbelsek and soul mate, Vlasta Blaha.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Leda; sister, Wanetta Jacobs; brother, Hank Podbelsek; half-brothers Larry and Billy Podbelsek; brother-in-laws Henry Dravis and Jerry Jacobs and sister-in-laws Jean Eigsti and June Shoemaker.
Charles loved sports—after High School, he played Legion baseball. He also liked to bowl, play basketball, ping pong, darts, golf, cards, and was an avid Packer fan. He enjoyed fishing and hunting pheasants in his younger years. He also liked to travel—especially road trips. In the last few years, Charles and Vlasta spent many wonderful hours square dancing, kayaking, biking, cross country skiing and enjoying wildlife excursions. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Marshfield, WI.
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