E.L. "STRETCH" JAEGER
April 8th, 1927 was a banner day for Arthur and Louise Jaeger when they welcomed their 3rd child into the world in Glendale, WI. Elmer Louis "Stretch" Jaeger, who answered to many names: beloved son, husband, Dad, Big Daddy, Grandpa, Papa, Big Granddaddy, Great Granddaddy, brother, uncle, colleague and friend, was called home to heaven on January, 13, 2016.
He began his education in a one-room schoolhouse and went on to graduate from Shorewood High School where he and the golf team made a name for themselves. At the age of 17 he enlisted in the Army Air Corp and they took one look at his 6 foot 4 inch frame and dubbed him Stretch, a name that stayed with him for over 70 years. The GI bill paved the way for a brief stint at Michigan State and his degree from the University of Wisconsin. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree he accepted a job with Oscar Mayer in the Human Resources Division and at age 24, in his usual style, he won the annual company golf tournament. Another highlight that year was his marriage to Judy (Shelstad) and they proceeded to raise 3 children, play duplicate bridge, and a lot of golf.
He spent the next 56 years in business as a record-breaking real estate broker mostly with the Stark Company. Over the years he served on numerous committees for The Greater Madison Board of Realtors. He was a dedicated colleague and an encouraging mentor. Stretch always said the two best sales he ever made were convincing Judy and Joni to marry him.
In 1982 when Stretch and Joni tied the knot, he took all of the children and their spouses to Hawaii for the celebration. From the day they were wed, he warmly called Joni "Her Majesty" and it stuck.
He was a longtime member of Bethel Lutheran Church where he served on the Bethel Council and was among the inaugural participants in the Bethel Bible Study Series.
Stretch's love for golf began when he started playing at age 10. Not only did he play the sport, he served in it as well and at 14 he became the youngest caddy master at Brynwood Country Club. Stretch was a member of the USGA. He was fascinated by the history of golf and wanted to share what he knew with anyone willing to listen. He had the joy of playing some of the most renowned golf courses in the world. His favorite course to play and spectate was Augusta National. The Masters was a permanent fixture on his calendar and he never missed a round. With a little coaxing once in a while you might even get Stretch to share about his double eagle. Some might say he was a golfaholic! Golfers everywhere have lost one of their greatest supporters.
Stretch was an aficionado of old movies, especially those featuring Tracy & Hepburn and Bogart, Bacall, & Bergman. Stretch and Joni were season ticket holders to the Madison Symphony and The Madison Repertory Theatre. Spending one evening a month with some of their dearest friends at Dine-A-Round was always a highlight on their calendar. He had a captive audience for all of his stories.
Stretch was an exceptional human being and all who came into contact with him were better for the experience. He was a gifted storyteller, never at a loss for words and a great listener with a contagious smile.
Yes, he was a true gentleman, a man of integrity, honor and moral character. He had the mind of an engineer and the soul of a poet. He moved through the world with unshakable calm, confidence and a fierce grace.
Stretch loved travel with or without reservations and always lucked out. His family travels always included at least one good golf bag and each in its time was a very special companion. He managed to hit most of the National parks and all of the state capitols. His last big trip was to Alaska where he saw Mt. McKinley free of cloud cover and a majestic view. An elder told us his people called Mt. McKinley, "Denali," the great one....from then on Stretch lovingly referred to himself as "Denali" which was fitting because he was a GREAT ONE.
Survived by his wife Joni. Children: Steve Jaeger of Madison, Dave (Karen) Jaeger of Medina, MN, Diane (Brian) Larson of Dana Point, CA, Lynn (Mike) Pien of Woodbury, MN, Kim Coleman of Austin, TX, Jennifer (Greg) Sise of Edmond, OK. Grandchildren: Matthew Jaeger, Jessy Jaeger, Paul Jaeger, Michael (Catherine) Jaeger, Dan Jaeger, John Jaeger, Nick Larson, Amanda Larson, Ben (Karolina) Pien, Rob (Kevyn) Pien, John David (Haley) Pien, Lindsay Mears, Tate Sise, Max Sise. Great-Grandchildren: Jonah and Wyatt Pien, and Hudson Loesch. Brother-in-law Dr. Robert R. Waller of Memphis, TN. As well as his nieces and nephews and goddaughter, Selas Kahsay.
He was preceded in death by his parents Louise and Arthur Jaeger, brother Carl (Marion), sister Dorothy Schubert (Lloyd), his first wife Judy Shelstad, and his sister-in-law Sarah Waller.
Stretch's family is grateful to the staff at BrightStar Senior Living of Madison and Agrace Hospice services for their compassion and tender care.
A celebration of Stretch's life will be held Saturday, January 16, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 326 S Segoe Rd in Madison. Visitation with the family will be at 1 o'clock. Cress Funeral Home is serving the family.
In lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been set up with The First Tee of South Central Wisconsin. 5501 Schroeder Road, Suite 100, Madison, Wisconsin 53703
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Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road Madison
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