Anthony (Tony) Thelen passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of March 18, 2023 at the age of 89.
Tony is survived by their four children Sharon (Scott Krahn) Thelen, Dennis (Iva) Thelen, Sandy (Tim) Leitheiser, and Lisa (Tim) Nieskes; his six grandchildren Matt (Katy Covert) Leitheiser, Maggie Leitheiser (Trevor Blazei), Katherine (Michael) Hecimovich, Jacob Leitheiser, Robert Thelen, and Oscar Nieskes; his great-grandsons Cameron and Daniel Hecimovich; her sisters-in-law Judy Felten and Joyce Thelen; many nieces and nephews; as well as other relatives and friends.
Tony is preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Helen (Felten) Thelen; his parents Michael and Flora Thelen; his brothers Norbert Thelen and Joseph (Mary Lou) Thelen; his sisters Agnes (John) Burns and Adela Baumhardt; his brothers-in-law William Felten and Robert Felten; and his sister-in-law Marie (Henry) Fellenz.
Tony was born on January 17, 1934 in Ashford, WI on his family’s farm, which would always play an important role in his life. In school he discovered and nurtured his love of sports. He earned 11 varsity letters for baseball, football, and basketball for Campbellsport High School – even going to the State Baseball Tournament his freshman year. Tony served in the Army from 1957 – 1959, during which he also played on a touring basketball team that won the league championship.
On March 17th, 1960, Tony met Helen on a blind date, and they married two years later on March 3rd, 1962. They resided in West Bend, where he was employed as a Machinist at the Gehl Co. for 35 years until his retirement in 1996. That year they built their retirement log home on his family’s farmland in Ashford.
Tony’s love for sports continued throughout his life as he worked as a baseball umpire for many years and was an avid golfer. He was an original member of the Thursday Night Golf League at Camelot Country Club, which he enjoyed participating in for 47 years. He continued to play golf well into his 80s and would practice his putting indoors even after he stopped playing on the course. His competitive spirit also came through with his love of card and dice games, as well as his eagerness to enjoy a simple game of catch or kicking a ball around – all of which he participated in up until his passing.
Tony’s kindness, strength, and quiet love will be greatly missed. He possessed a strong work ethic but knew the value of balancing work and life’s simple enjoyments, such as a cold old fashioned or grasshopper, playing cards with family and friends, or watching his grandchildren participate in their sports or activities.
Tony was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease over 10 years ago, and as the disease slowly robbed him of his memories, it did not alter the essence of who he was. Until the very end, he was a man of great love, faith, and kindness who was always ready to share a smile (especially if you offered him sweets), a husband and father who cherished his family, and a grandfather whose grandchildren carried a special place in his heart.
The family would like to thank the compassionate and deeply considerate caregivers at Kathy Hospice in West Bend, as well as the doctors, nurses, and staff at the Froedtert Community Hospital in West Bend for making Tony’s final days as peaceful as possible. The family would also like to extend their gratitude to the thoughtful and kind caregivers at Cornerstone Assisted Living in West Bend.
Visitation will be held at St. Martin’s Catholic Chapel in Ashford, WI (N1271 Minnie Lane Campbellsport) at 10 am on Saturday, March 25th, with Mass of Christian Burial at 12:00 noon. Burial will follow with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association or charities of one’s choice are appreciated.
Twohig Funeral Home is serving the family with guestbook and condolences at www.twohigfunerals.