Surrounded by his loving family, Willis F. Vanderhoef, 97, passed away Saturday at his residence. He was born in Tomahawk, Wisconsin on July 17, 1920, and was the son of the late Frank and Mathilda (nee: Knueppel) Vanderhoef and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps at the age of twenty.
On May 9, 1942 at St. Joseph Catholic Church he was united in marriage to Ruth Marie Verbeten who preceded him in death on October 10, 2009. Willis was a longtime and dedicated member of St. Rita Catholic Church since 1948, where he was a member of the Secular Order of St. Augustine and the Holy Name Society, volunteered with the R.E.S.T. program, and enjoyed the St. Rita breakfast club. He had been employed with the Racine County Highway Department for thirty-two years. He enjoyed gardening, photography, camping and especially traveling with his wife. More than anything his family was the center of his life and he cherished time spent with them, especially on Sundays.
He will be dearly missed by his 16 surviving children, RuthAnn Chernouski, Margaret (Dave) Johnson, William (Paulette) Vanderhoef Sr., Kathleen (Lawrence) Campeau, Daniel (Linda) Vanderhoef, Timothy (Barb) Vanderhoef, Richard (Linda) Vanderhoef, Michael Vanderhoef, Marian (Raymond) Fay, Elizabeth (Terry) Smith, RoseMarie Bark, Joseph (Janet) Vanderhoef, Theresa (Jeff) Trossen, Jane (Dennis) Hardy, John Vanderhoef, Christine Mapel; 49 grandchildren; 79 great-grandchildren; 18 great-great grandchildren; sister, Rosalie Allen; sister-in-law, Karen Verbeten; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and many dear friends. In addition to his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Roberta Vanderhoef; 2 sons-in-law, Jim Chernouski, William Bark; granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth; great-granddaughter, Catarina; brothers, William, John (Loretta) ; Walter (Betty); and sister, Doris (Duane) Bessey; and brother-in-law, Berwin Allen; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Clarice (Willis’s best friend, Ronald) Gall, Joseph Verbeten, Evelyn (Bill) Bislew, Margaret (Henry) Highman, Joyce (Alex) Hollow, Rosemary Verbeten and Edward Verbeten.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Rita Catholic Church on Saturday at 10 a.m. with Reverend Rich O’Leary OSA officiating. Entombment will follow at Holy Cross Garden Mausoleum, Hwy 32. Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the funeral home on Friday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. (Rosary recited at 6:45 p.m.) and at the church on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. Memorials to St. Rita Catholic Church or to the American Parkinson Disease Association have been suggested.
The family extends a special thank you to Dr. Jennifer Takata and to Peggy Taylor RN for all of their loving and compassionate care.