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Gus A. Zuehlke Sr.

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Gus A. Zuehlke Sr. Notice
Zuehlke, Gus A., Sr. Age 87, died peacefully on Monday, October 5, 2009, in Door County. Gus was born in Appleton on November 16, 1921, to the late Arthur Zuehlke and Alice Larpenteur. In 1942, Gus received a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from the University of Notre Dame. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy during WWII, and spent four years in the Pacific as a captain of an amphibious ship. Lt. Zuehlke received the Bronze Star for Meritorious Achievement Under Unfriendly Fire, in the 1944 invasion of Saipan. On July 30, 1949, Gus was united in marriage to Helen Jeanne Ledvina. The couple enjoyed over 60 years together. Back in Appleton, Gus earned his Commercial Pilot's License in 1948. He, along with John Conway, founded Air Wisconsin, which became the nation's largest commuter airline. He was responsible for moving the airport to its present location. He was active with the building and financing of the Paper Valley Hotel in Downtown Appleton, the Oneida Skyline Bridge, and the East College Avenue Bridge. He founded Valley Bancorporation, a three bank holding company and over the years acquired over 160 banks and branches. He was a banker for 50 years. After he retired, Valley Bancorporation was acquired by Marshall & Ilsley Bancorporation, Milwaukee in 1993. At the time of the acquisition, Valley had assets of $4 billion and 3000 employees. During his years in Appleton, Gus was very active in community affairs. He was Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of The Banking Review Board, Director of Bay-Lakes Council of Boy Scouts of America, Chairman of the fund drive to start Xavier High School, President of St. Elizabeth Hospital, and Chairman of Outagamie Hospital, recipient of the Paul Harris Fellowship award from Rotarian International, outstanding Alumnus Award winner from the University of Notre Dame in 1963, the Walter Rugland Community Service Award in 1990, Appleton High School Outstanding Alumnus Award class of 1939. In 1986, he received an Honorary Degree from Lawrence University. Through his community service, he helped Appleton receive the award as the best place to live in the United States. Based upon his commitment to community service, Gus was inducted in to Junior Achievement's Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame. In his retirement days, he spent winters in Sanibel, Florida and summers in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin. In 1991 he spent 3 months as a volunteer with Helen Jeanne in Krakow, Poland helping establish the first Polish-American bank. A biography ("Call Me Gus") was written by Kristin Stankewicz in 2007. He is survived by his wife Helen Jeanne, of Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin; 2 daughters, Holly Joan Brandewie, Valparaiso, Indiana and Mary Ann Mindel, Brookfield, Wisconsin; a son, Gus Arthur Zuehlke Jr., South Bend, Indiana; 6 grandchildren, Elena and Jacob Brandewie, Philip, David Dimitri (Dima), and Anna Maria Zuehlke, and Zachary Mindel. He was preceded in death by his parents; four siblings, Marguerite (Zuehlke) Miller, Mary Zuehlke Garvey, Arthur Zuehlke, Alice (Sis) Zuehlke Stack; and beloved nieces, Ann Garvey Maggiorana, and Mary Claire Miller Slais. A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated at 11:00 AM, on Friday, October 9, at St. Bernard Catholic Church, 1617 W. Pine St., Appleton, with Father Dennis Ryan officiating and Monsignor John Schuh concelebrating. A visitation will be held Friday from 9:00 AM-11:00 AM, at St. Bernard Catholic Church on October 9, 2009. Interment will take place at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, Appleton. The Zuehlke children will be hosting a casual reception for family and friends to celebrate their father's life at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, 333 West College Avenue, Appleton, Wisconsin on Thursday evening from 7:00-9:00 PM. Helen Jeanne Zuehlke will only attend the services on Friday. Memorial contributions can be made to the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region (Gus A. Zuehlke Fund) or Xavier High School. Brettschneider-Trettin-Lederer 606 N. Oneida St. Appleton 920-733-7383
Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Oct. 7, 2009
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