William G. Luscher
Oct. 11, 1940 — March 23, 2021
William G. Luscher, 80, of Park Falls, passed away on March 23, 2021.
Written by son, Brian Luscher: My professional bio starts with the opening statement “The son of a Midwestern butcher.” My father’s bio would be “Son of a Midwestern tool and die maker - a machinist.”
Simple, modest, honest. Born in Chicago on Oct. 11, 1940, to mother Lucille (Langmann) and Joseph Luscher. Then later growing up on Tripp Avenue with mother and stepfather Warren Koplin.
We all heard tales of dad and his older sister Mary (Blake) and later, his younger sister Kathleen (Christ) rolling old tires into traffic, falling off his bike into the bushes, or dumping water on the neighborhood bully (with her perfect banana curls), or pouring ketchup all over Kathy‘s fresh peaches, then Gramma making him eat them ... gagging ... as his sister giggled with satisfaction.
We heard about (most likely not all of) his adventures in the Air Force while stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, and about how he surprised his mother by coming home unannounced at Christmas one year.
I was eternally intrigued with the stories of him in Chicago becoming an apprentice meat cutter, as my favorite book was The Jungle, by infamous muckraker Upton Sinclair. And, well it seemed commonplace to my father, I was fascinated by his connection and our very distantly related position to the book and it’s history. I marveled at how meat cutters always wore a dress shirt, along with a big fat-knotted tie under their blood stained smock, along with their hardhats. We would take great delight in pushing the RING FOR SERVICE button at all of the meat markets he worked at, even when I was an adult.
We grew up in Elgin, Illinois, with dad and mom, Linda (Leitner) and my brother, Jeff. He will always be “my little brother Jeffy”... all of those words together. While it might not have always been rainbows and kitty treats, we always knew and felt how much we were fully loved. And, as dad always said “There was always meat on the table.”
Dad would remarry to Judith (Vanderford), which also came with the newly installed “older sister”, Dana (McElyea). We would take modest vacations to our uncle’s cabin or The Big Muskie Resort in the thriving metropolis of Springstead, Wisconsin. He got the bug - the Northwoods called. Having transitioned from meat cutter to construction and carpentry, he envisioned a better life away from the city, by taking ownership of the Bearskull Lake Resort, which is where he would meet the “milkman”, Jack Hardy, who would become his best friend.
This is where Dana would meet the man who would eventually become her husband, Joe Hilgart. They would give Bill and Judy two grandsons, Matt and Zack. Bill was always eager to share prideful stories of “the boys”. He loved them to the moon and back. Equally loved granddaughters were Jeff’s daughter, Kiley, and Brian‘s daughter, Landry. He truly loved all of his grandchildren.
At the resort, us “city kids” really learned what it meant to work. How to work. How to be a good worker. How to work hard. As much as we tried to avoid working, hard or otherwise, those were by far the most impactful lessons our father taught us. He and we cut, split, and stacked and stacked and stacked and entire logging truck worth of wood that summer. And, we also cut, split, and stacked a winter’s worth of wood for a great man, George Bell, that shared the wisdom of a true Northwoods man with my father. We pumped water, boiled sap, fried bacon, flipped flapjacks, picked wild asparagus, canoed, hunted, and cracked beers with George. While he regaled us with tales of professional wrestling with the nefarious Black Panther, and lumberjacking with ne’er-do-wells, he also imparted his witticisms and invaluable experience with my father in exchange for his friendship.
My father also loved his church, Faith Apostolic Church of Park Falls. When we would talk on the phone, he would tell me what he was up to, and it always was something at his church. He would tell me about his stained glass projects, carpentry projects to improve the church itself, and the Pastor’s message that week. He would talk about the cabinetry he made for local benefits. Mom sang and helped cook for every benefit, they loved their church and always prayed for everyone there. I knew how much he prayed for them because he always told me for whom he was praying.
As we all grew old enough, we wandered back out into the outside world. Bill and Judy would remain in Park Falls, moving back to Elgin for a few years, before returning to the Northwoods for good.
Dad worked behind and in front of various meat counters in Park Falls - Novitt’s, Piggly Wiggly, and Gustafson’s IGA to name a few. He always enjoyed talking with customers, whether it was about certain cuts, or cooking tips, deer hunting tales, or just “chewing the fat”. He loved all of those connections.
Bill Luscher loved his wife, Judy, more than anything else. He spent his last days with her at Park Manor, and the incredibly patient and loving staff there.
Bill is survived by his wife, Judith L. Luscher; Children: Brian(Courtney) Luscher, Jeff(Terri) Luscher, Dana(Joe) Hilgart, Peggi(Joe) Pirelli, 9 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren, and one sister Kathleen (Matthew) Christ.
A celebration of life service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, May 1, 2021, at Faith Apostolic Church, 863 9th Ave. South, Park Falls, WI 54552. Visitation will begin at 10 AM until the time of service.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the American Heart Association. heart.org