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Leland (Lee) passed away on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 just two weeks shy of his 95th birthday.
Lee was born May, 31, 1927 in Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Louis Wollersheim and Sabina Koenig Wollersheim. He had one sister, Donna Jean who was married to James Butzen, both of whom are deceased.
In Manitowoc, Lee attended St. Paul Catholic Grade School, Washington Middle School and Lincoln High School. Lee was a member of Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, and his school’s tennis team.
Lee was drafted into the US Navy in July, 1945. After boot camp, he served aboard the USS Atlanta CL104, (Light Cruiser). Active shooting in the Pacific in World War II had ceased. Their first stop was in Pearl Harbor, with 175 sunken ships. Later stops were Saipan and Tinian Islands. The narrow passages of sunken ships allowed the USS Atlanta to dock at the seaports of Manila and in Japan and saw the routes of American captives in the “Death March of Bataan.” While in Nagasaki, Japan he saw the Atomic Bomb crater. The ship also stopped in Tsingtao, China and Singapore. Lee was honorably discharged in August, 1946 with the rank of Fireman First Class. He remained a proud WWII veteran throughout his life.
Following his military discharge, he attended UW-Madison, thanks to the G.I. Bill, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration. He was a member of Delta Sigma Pi fraternity. He later attended UW-Milwaukee, toward an MBA. He enjoyed spending many weekends visiting family in Manitowoc and St. Nazianz, and was an avid sailor.
Lee married Carole England in February, 1955. They had two daughters Patricia (Wollersheim) and Deborah (Wollersheim-Levin), both currently living in Middleton, Wisconsin. Each daughter has one son: Patricia’s son Robert Johnson Jr., as well as three great-grandchildren, Tyler, Benner and Leland (“Lee” named after his great grandfather), and Deborah’s son Joseph Levin. His sons-in-law were Robert Johnson Sr. (Patricia’s former spouse) and Dr. Kenneth Levin (Deborah’s spouse). Both daughters graduated with Bachelor’s degrees from the UW system. Lee’s marriage to Carole ended in divorce in April, 1982. His second marriage was to Mary Puestow in April, 1983. They spent quite a lot of time traveling the world. The marriage did not survive Mary’s personal challenges and subsequently divorced in April, 1997.
In his earlier years, Lee was quite active in the Cutler-Hammer Toastmasters organization in Milwaukee, as President, District Director, and District Convention Director. At age 39, he suffered a severe stroke, from which he was able to regain all of his lost functions following a year of extensive rehabilitation. Lee loved ballroom dancing, and enjoyed afternoons or evenings dancing at a variety of locations in Milwaukee several times a week. Through dancing he met Adeline (Addie) Race, and spent many very happy years with her, until her very sad passing on 8/18/20. He always said his years with Addie were some of the very best in his life. Lee was also an active member of his churches in Milwaukee (St. Mary’s) and Madison (St. Thomas Aquinas), as well as swimming three times a week right up until the week prior to his passing. He greatly enjoyed his weekly walks with Deborah, swinging on the swings in a nearby park and looked forward to seeing his favorite Red Winged Blackbird. And he loved Patricia’s cooking, especially her chocolate chip cookies.
The family would gratefully like to recognize and thank the kindness and excellent care he received from his entire medical team at the VA in Madison, especially in the final days of his life from the wonderful team at the VA-Madison in Unit 3B, particularly Ashley, David, and Maggie. They were truly angels who made his final days as comfortable as possible and supported his peaceful passing to his home in Heaven on Tuesday, 5/17/22, surrounded by his loving and heartbroken family.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. THOMAS AQUINAS CATHOLIC CHURCH, 602 Everglade Dr., Madison on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. with Father Bart Timmerman presiding. A reception will follow. A visitation will be held Tuesday evening from 5 – 7 pm at the Cress Center, 6021 University Ave., Madison and again on Wednesday at church, one hour prior to Mass. The Mass will be live streamed at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/c/StThomasAquinasChurchMadison/.
In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make contributions in Lee’s name either to the VA in Madison (2500 Overlook Ter., Community Relations – 135, Madison, WI 53705) to help them continue their mission to support veterans and their families, or to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish (602 Everglade Dr., Madison, WI 53717.
6021 University Ave. Madison
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
5:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
10:00 - 11:00am (Central time)
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Starts at 11:00am (Central time)
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