Stack Heesakker (1924 - 2014)

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Heesakker, Francis D. "Stack"

Francis D. "Stack" Heesakker, Appleton, age 89, entered into eternal life on Monday January 6, 2014 with his loving family at his side. He was born August 4, 1924 in Little Chute to the late Annie (Van Schindel) and George Heesakker. He graduated from St. John's High School, Little Chute in 1942. Stack was drafted into the U.S. Army on May 28, 1943 and served in the Pacific Theater until 1945. While serving, he was severely wounded, losing his right leg. He was awarded two Purple Hearts, Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge. During his recuperation at Percy Jones General Hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan, he met a young Army nursing assistant from Milwaukee by the name of Shirley Kessler. They married at St. Leo's Catholic Church in Milwaukee on November 28, 1946. She preceded him in death on December 2, 2011 after 65 years of marriage.

Stack went on to serve the veterans of Outagamie County as the Deputy County Veterans Service Officer for 10 years and then was appointed to the position of County Veterans Service Officer for the following 36 years, retiring in 1992. His dedicated service to others earned him numerous awards and commendations from veterans' organizations, US Congress, State of Wisconsin, and civic organizations. No stone went unturned in his quest to help fellow veterans and their families. Every Saturday morning he would pick up the office mail at the post office and get it all opened and set for Monday morning so he and his dedicated staff could get right to business. He found great satisfaction in his life's work. Over the years, Stack actively participated in many Memorial Day and Veterans Day programs.

In 2004, Stack and his beloved brother, Lawrence, shared an amazing experience visiting the World War II Memorial in Washington DC.

Stack was a life long member of St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church in Little Chute. He was also a member of the Appleton VFW Post 2778 and member and past commander of the Jacob Coppus American Legion Post 258 in Little Chute. In addition, Stack served as a Trustee of the Village of Little from 1951-1953. Stack and Shirley were avid golfers and enjoyed many years as active members at the Fox Valley Golf Club.

His children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were truly treasured gifts from God. They always brought a smile to his face and a twinkle in his eye. The grandchildren loved hearing his stories of growing up and military accounts. He was often called on to give interviews for school reports.

Stack is survived by his children: Peter Heesakker, Appleton; Michael (Mary) Heesakker, Minocqua; Susan (Daniel) Ritchie, Appleton; and Mary Jo (James) Kearney, Neenah; daughter-in-law, Laurie Heesakker; grandchildren: Kathryn (Jamie) Hermus, Laura (Mike) Pelgorsch and Jason (special friend, Laura) Heesakker; Justin and Nick Heesakker; Philip (Kristen) and Adam (Stacy) Ritchie; Callista (Noah) Buchen, Megan, Matthew, and Sarah Kearney; great grandchildren: Madelyn, Hunter and Grant Hermus; Ava and Lincoln Ritchie; and Audrey Buchen and Baby Buchen to be born in summer 2014. He is further survived by his brother Lawrence; sisters Agnes Heesakker and Margaret Schwaller; sister-in-law: Grace Waraksa; and numerous nieces, nephews, special friend Margaret (Gear) Prast, and other relatives and many friends.

In addition to his parents and wife Shirley, Stack was preceded in death by his father and mother-in-law: John and Martha (Schalloch) Kessler; son, Thomas Heesakker; daughter-in-law, Patricia Heesakker; sisters: Sister M. Callista (baptized Martha) Heesakker, Loretta (Eugene) Harp, Josephine (Joseph) Mueller, Mary (William) Van Offeren, and Dorothy Mae Heesakker; and sisters and brothers-in-law: Estelle (Richard) Randolph, Alice (Albert) Bartz, Mildred (Lester) Petersen, Muriel (Bernard) Will, Beatrice Heesakker, Robert Schwaller and Anthony Waraksa.

Visitation will be held Friday January 10, 2014 at ST. JOHN NEPOMUCENE CATHOLIC CHURCH (323 S. Pine St. Little Chute) beginning at 2:30 p.m. until time of Mass at 5:00 p.m. The Rev. Msgr. James Vanden Hogen will officiate. Military rites conducted by the Jacob Coppus American Legion Post 258 will immediately follow. Committal St. John Cemetery. To sign the guest book, please visit A memorial fund is being established in Stack's name.

Stack's family would like to extend their most heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Deborah Schultz and the entire staff of Brewster Village, especially the staff of Heritage Square 1. The outstanding care shown to him during his 5-month stay at Brewster Village was a great comfort to Dad and his family. The care, compassion, and concern shown to Stack were truly gifts, which will always be remembered and treasured.

"I hope all of us always remember and give thanks to all our veterans and those serving now, young and old, alive and dead, for all their sacrifices and service to our country!"

--- Stack



Funeral Home
O'Connell Funeral Home - Little Chute
1776 East Main Street
Little Chute, WI 54140
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Published in Appleton Post-Crescent on Jan. 8, 2014
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