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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Louis S. Skarda

Issue Date: June 23, 2022

Louis Stephan Skarda, an encyclopedia of history, passed away Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Green Bay.

Born Sept. 22, 1929, in a log house on the family farm, in the Town of Lena, to Victor and Mae (Mary) Skarda (Rzatkiewicz), he did chores that instilled a work ethic that lasted his entire life.

From horses to machinery, milking by hand, feeding horses, tending the fields, making wood and harvesting ice for the icehouse, those were the jobs he needed to do. He shared these chores with the farm's "hired hand" Ed Fiat.

In his spare time, he enjoyed hunting and fishing with his cousins, loved summertime visits from relatives who came from Milwaukee and Chicago, which they provided a "big city" perspective, but did not compare to the wisdom and life examples he received from his grandparents.

After elementary education at St. Mary's Corner Grade School, he attended Lena High School, where he made friends that he kept for life. He participated in school activities, but enjoyed sports the most. He was good in football, but later, was on the Wildcat basketball team that made it to the state championship game in 1945, coming up one victory short.

After graduating, he continued to farm until a friend encouraged him to try college. He then attended St. Norbert College where he also played football but ended in his second season when he injured his knee.

He transferred to UW-Madison to enter the College of Agriculture Short Course program. After graduation, he returned to the family farm and with what he learned at college, they improved the dairy herd and invested in dairy cattle that were registered from the Pabst Farms in Oconomowoc. Over time, they produced the highest butterfat content in Oconto County and implemented innovative programs for cattle and swine. The farm was a regular stop for the Lena High School Agriculture Department.

He served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. He met the love of his life, Patricia VanLaarhoven, prior to his service and they married on Aug. 27, 1955 at St. John's Catholic Church and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2005. She preceded him in death on Dec. 21, 2005.

He was appointed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1965 to the position of Postmaster for the Village of Coleman, becoming one of the last few Postmasters receiving a presidential appointment in the country. He loved the sound of polka music while working in the Post Office.

In 1973 they created a modern subdivision of 64 lots for the Village of Coleman.

The couple enjoyed time at their Oconto County White Potato Lake cottage with family and friends, grilling out and sharing stories, but he especially loved his cordwood hunting cabin, Red Pine Acres, in Florence.

Survivors include a son, Terry (Sandy) Skarda, Green Bay; two daughters, Amy (Al) Merwald, Appleton and Gail (Jim) Champagne, De Pere; two foster sons, Roy (Carrie) Strobl, New Holstein and Adam (Agnes) Ducane, Coleman; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a sister, Jacqueline (Gerald) Stingle, Lindenhurst Ill. and many cousins; nieces and nephews.

Including his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia.

Family will receive relatives and friends on Saturday, June 25, at St. Anne Catholic Church, 228 E. Main St., Coleman, from 9 a.m. until time of a Funeral Mass at 11 a.m., with Fr. Luke Ferris officiating, followed by full Military Honors. Burial will be in St. John Cemetery in Coleman. Online condolences can be made at www.rhodescharapata.com Rhodes Charapata Funeral Home of Coleman is assisting the family.


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