Roy Allen Menzel, 95, of Stevens Point and the Oakridge Senior Living Community, passed away Saturday morning, April 14, 2012 at St. Michael's Hospital.
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A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 20, at St. Stephen Catholic Church, Stevens Point. Rev. William Menzel, Roy's son, will officiate. Visitation will be from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 at the Boston Funeral Home, Stevens Point, and on Friday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Green Circle Trail Endowment (http://www.greencircletrail.org/donations.aspx), or the Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools (www.spacs.k12.wi.us).
Roy was born March 21, 1917 at the family home on Normal Avenue (now College Avenue) in Stevens Point. He was the son of the late William C. and Hazel (Norton) Menzel. The son of a shoe salesman, Roy's distinguished career in public and community relations began modestly as a shoeshine boy in downtown Stevens Point. He attended Stevens Point public schools, including high school in the former Emerson School building, where he starred in basketball, football, forensics and debate.
After graduating from high school in 1934, he earned a full academic scholarship from Hardware Mutual (now Sentry Insurance) to attend college at the University of Pennsylvania's renowned Wharton School of Business and Finance. There he joined the Penn basketball team as a "walk-on" and was eventually named to the All Eastern Team as a 6 foot 4 inch center. He was among the first players of his era to utilize the one-hand set shot. Roy excelled in the classroom and other aspects of campus life, too, earning Penn's coveted Spoon Award for "first honors" among senior men before graduating in 1938.
On Sept. 7, 1940, Roy married Margaret Alice Rogers, daughter of Guy and Kathryn Rogers, in the rectory at St. Stephen Catholic Church. They had ten children, one of whom died in infancy.
A resident of Stevens Point for 90 years of his life, Roy began his career with Hardware Mutual (Sentry Insurance) in 1938, working mostly in marketing communications and community relations. In 1962, he left Sentry to start his own public relations consulting firm in Stevens Point, teaming with Bob Williams to form Menzel-Williams & Associates. Over the next 20 years, his clients included major area employers such as Sentry Insurance, Copps Corporation, River Pines, St. Michael's Hospital, Stevens Point Brewery, and Consolidated Papers. In 1964, he was hired as the first Executive Director of the newly established Wisconsin Dental Service, Inc. - now Delta Dental of Wisconsin - and served in that capacity until 1974. The company has grown to be one of Stevens Point's largest employers and a state pioneer in dental insurance.
Always an advocate for partnership and collaboration, Roy was instrumental in securing cooperation between the communities of Stevens Point, Wausau, Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids during the 1960s to explore the idea of a regional airport. That idea grew to become today's Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA) in Mosinee.
Roy served his community in many volunteer and leadership roles over the years: Stevens Point Kiwanis Club past president and member for over 50 years; establishment of Youth Baseball; YMCA; UWSP-community cooperation; Goerke Park swimming pool and tennis courts; industrial development/Chamber of Commerce; merger of Health Foundation with Stevens Point Area Foundation (now Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin); downtown preservation; Operation Bootstrap; Pacelli High School boosters.
Roy was most fond and proud of his involvement as a member of the Green Circle Committee, a small group of local citizens who began meeting in 1989 to conceive and develop what is now the nationally-recognized Green Circle Trail in Stevens Point. Roy published two books and donated the sale proceeds to benefit the Trail: "Hometown on the River" (1989); and "123 Thoughts for the Day" (2008). Proceeds from Hometown were used to finance a study to create the blueprint for the Green Circle, laying out a proposed route which has been closely followed.
Roy received numerous awards for his community service, including the Stevens Point Distinguished Citizen Award (1965), the William E. Hansen Distinguished Service Award from UW-Stevens Point (2006), and the Quality of Life Leadership Award from St. Michael's Hospital Foundation (2006).
In addition to his skills as a writer and speaker, Roy was an artist (drawing and painting), musician (piano and singing) and avid sports enthusiast, attending nearly every Pointer men's basketball home game over the past ten years.
Roy is survived by his wife, best friend and love of his life, Margaret, Stevens Point; nine children - Rev. William, Wisconsin Rapids; Kathryn (Charles) Collins, Appleton; James (Sharon), Stevens Point; Michael, Plainfield; Thomas (Kate Higgins), Hansville, WA; Fritz (Carol), Stevens Point; Janet Jurgella, Stevens Point (Ron Jurgella, Stevens Point); Stephen (Wendy), Stevens Point; Daniel (Jennie Lane), Stevens Point; fifteen grandchildren - Michael (Cama) Collins; Margaret Collins (Rob) Larson; Matthew Collins (Denise Stats); Jaclyn Menzel (Erik) Borchardt; Andrew Menzel; Tyra Menzel (Gardner) Erickson; Whitney (Jessica) Menzel; Nathan (Rebecca) Menzel; Bailey Menzel (Brent) Matthews; Daniel Jurgella; Gail Jurgella; Neil (Sara) Jurgella; Mary Sue Jurgella; Sarah Menzel (Jeremy) Castleberg; Elizabeth Menzel (John) Omernik; and 15 great-grandchildren. Other survivors include a brother, Exner Menzel, Oconomowoc; a brother-in-law, George (Jeanette) Rogers, Stevens Point; and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces. He is preceded in death by: two brothers, William "Frank" Menzel and Alfred E. "Ted" Menzel; one daughter, Mary Sue; and one grandson, Luke G. Collins.
The Menzel family wishes to send special thanks to: Marcia McDonald and all the compassionate staff at Oakridge; and the physicians and staff at Ministry St. Michael's Hospital for their kindness and skill, especially Dr. Daljeet Rishi, the Emergency Room, Intensive Care Unit, and 2East nursing staff.
On line condolences may be made at: bostonfuneralhome.net.
From Roy's poem, "A Farewell Kiss":
"Then for all it's been worth
with a grateful broken heart
embrace God's sky and you
and kiss the Earth."
Published in Stevens Point Journal on Apr. 17, 2012