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Robert F. Lessl
October 17, 1928 ~ October 24, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old
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Robert (Bob) F. Lessl was born in Milwaukee on October 17, 1928 and passed beyond our reach on October 24, 2023 at age 95. He was the second of three children born to Ann (née Heinz) and John Lessl who emigrated from Austria-Hungary as children. His parents moved to Menominee Falls Wi. and later to Hartford Wi. during the Great Depression, but with World War II on the horizon, John Lessl was called back to the Falk Corporation and the family returned to Milwaukee. There Bob attended Pulaski high school where he competed in several sports. He was a state wrestling champion in his weight division and the president of his senior class. He then went on to play football and to wrestle for the University of Wisconsin—Madison while earning his bachelor’s degree.
In 1951 near the time of his graduation, he met a beautiful brunette farm-girl at a YAK club dance in Madison, Mildred Ann Eagan from Pardeeville, Wi., and they married late that summer--just prior to his entry into the army. Their first child Joyce was born during his military service and the second Rob (Bob) shortly after when he and Mildred had returned to Madison so he could complete a master’s degree in Physical Science. Bob had begun teaching science at South Division High School in Milwaukee in 1954 when their second son Tom was born. Two more came a bit later, Mary (1957) and Ruth (1960). Throughout his years at South Division, Bob coached football, gymnastics, tennis, pole vaulting, and wrestling. His wrestling teams won two state championships. In later years he taught physical education.
An energetic handyman and amateur architect throughout his adult life, Bob began to pursue these activities full-time after his retirement in 1986. He had already designed the family home built in Brookfield, Wi. In 1956, and in the years from 1970 until 2000 he designed and built three more, two in Waukesha County and one on Mildred’s family farm in Pardeeville, Wi. During his retirement he also played tennis and the piano, cultivated vast flower gardens, read hundreds of books, and worked in prairie restoration.
During his military service, after reading several books about the Roman Catholic faith as he recovered from herniated disk in a Columbus, Georgia hospital, Bob received instruction from a local priest and was subsequently baptized. In his faith as in his personality he was learned, thoughtful, generous, and kind of heart.
He is survived by his wife Mildred (Millie) and his five children, Joyce Paige of Nashotah, Wi., Robert (Bob) Lessl of Waukesha, Wi., Thomas Lessl of Athens, Ga, Mary Gorman of Pardeeville, Wi., and Ruth Shively of Madison, Wi. Bob and Millie have ten grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his older brother Jack Lessl (1927 - 2009) and his sister Ruth (1930 – 1937).
Mass of Christian burial will be held Monday, October 30 at 11 AM at St. Mary Catholic Church in Pardeeville with Father Joji Reddy presiding. Interment will follow at Pardeeville Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 9:30 AM until the time of service at the church Monday.