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1926 Charles 2023

Charles Rishel

July 17, 1926 — April 23, 2023


Charles Leonard Rishel passed away Sunday, April 23, 2023, at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital. Chuck was born in Kingsford, MI July 17th, 1926, to Marion Ivan and Anna Regina Rishel. The third of seven, his older siblings were Olyve and George (Bud). Younger siblings Phyllis, Virginia, Robert and Russell rounded out the pack. Some seventy years after leaving home he led son Bill back to that house where they all grew up.

Son of a World War 1 veteran, Chuck enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in WWII in the South Pacific. After active duty, he was in the Naval Reserves and the Seabees. He was rightfully proud of his time in the Navy and attended many ship reunions. After his time in the service Chuck met Dorothy Jane McNeill. They married August 27, 1955, and settled in Verona, where they welcomed into their home foster children Sharon (Zingsheim) Wilson and Paula (Voelker) Snider (Roger). There they raised their other five children Martha Elizabeth (deceased), Randolph Paul (wife Bobbi Statz), William Ivan, Ellen Ann and Rebecca Jane (husband Russell Schwalbe). They forged important friendships in Verona, especially with the Johnson and Haglund families, and John Rowley.

People of faith, Chuck and Jane joined the St. Dunstan’s congregation early in their marriage, where they made many enduring friendships with other parishioners. Notable within these friendships was an affiliation with the Ott family, and especially with Robin who accompanied Chuck on a Badger Honor Flight to Washington, DC.

Chuck was very generous, the epitome of a “the shirt off his own back” man. He was first in line to do a favor or lend a hand. Chuck and Jane volunteered for many years cooking for and serving meals at a downtown shelter for the homeless. Never an idler, Chuck held numerous jobs, from large engine mechanic to postal clerk. One job at a time was never his style. His side hustle, before
that was even a thing, was school bus driver for Verona area schools. This led to his career as a high school sports Superfan. Memories of times spent with the soccer and ice hockey teams especially were some of the happiest of his life.

Some of Chuck’s lifelong passions were driving and tinkering with engines. Vacations were usually road trips. For a long time he was the family’s only driver. He loved to see how things work. He spent many hours taking apart motors and fitting them back together in a functional way. If there were extra parts at the end, well, they probably weren’t strictly necessary anyway. In this way any number of vehicles ran well past their expected use-by dates.

Chuck was always the favorite of the companion animals of the Rishel household. In his later years, beloved four-legged friend Frankie Hound brought joy to Chuck as well as other residents at Sylvan Crossings.

Chuck was a man of simple pleasures, among them the enjoyment of a good meal. When truly exceptional cook and baker Jane’s health left her unable to cook, Chuck discovered his inner chef. His specialty was truly good apple pie.

Survivors include youngest brother and sister in-law Russell and Joyce; treasured friends and in-laws June and Jim Paynter; brothers and sisters in-law, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Special thank you's to the amazing, dedicated, caring staff at Madison’s VA Hospital, especially Team 6 on the seventh floor and the compassionate team in in the hospice center. The dignity and respect Dad received will never be forgotten. To Gary Bongey at Verona Hometown Pharmacy for going above and beyond. To the kind caretakers at Sylvan Crossings. To Chris Bruggeman for years of lending a cheerful friendly ear. To Connie and the rest of the St. Dunstan’s community for years of cards and visits. To Rev. Dr. Miranda Hassett for lending prayer and comfort at the end of Dad’s life.

Funeral services will be held at 3:00 p.m. on May 7, 2023 St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, 6205 University Avenue, Madison WI. Visitation will be the hour before the service with a light reception following. The service will be live streamed through the following link:

In lieu of flowers, please consider an act of generosity to a friend, neighbor, or even a stranger. Offer a ride. Pet a dog. Bake a pie

Please share your memories of Charles by posting on his Tribute Wall.

Cress Funeral Service

6021 University Avenue, Madison

(608) 238-8406

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charles Rishel, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Gathering

Sunday, May 7, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church

6205 University Ave, Madison, WI 53705

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church

6205 University Ave, Madison, WI 53705

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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