Leonhard Staerk, a longtime resident of Lebanon, died peacefully surrounded by family on Monday, July 10, 2017, at his residence in West Bend.
He was born the youngest of three on May 19, 1930 to Engelbert and Elisabeth Staerk in Kesswil, Switzerland and grew up in Konstanz, Germany. After going to trade school and serving an apprenticeship in Germany, he graduated as a journeyman tool and die maker.
Always one for adventure, he immigrated from Germany in 1953 aboard the USS America to head to the USA, eventually obtaining his American citizenship while serving in the U.S. Army from 1956-1958. He labored in his trade at various jobs but especially enjoyed his time at the Boeing Company and Johnson Controls, retiring in 1996.
He married Erika (nee Fehling) in Dortmund, Germany and together they lived in Washington state and Wisconsin, enjoying his seven children, and eventually settling in their longtime home and community in Lebanon. His family meant the world to him and he was thankful for the many friendships, new and long-standing, that were present throughout his life.
His quick wit, easy smile, and fierce passion for social justice were a constant. He never shied away his from favorite topic – politics – and was a lifelong Democrat. He was a proud union leader, avid gardener, and active in his community including St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and the Lebanon Historical Society.
Survivors include his loving wife of 48 years Erika; sister, Hilde (Hans) Heinrich of Ulm, Germany; children, Mark (Karen) Staerk of Carlinville, Illinois, Lenny Staerk of Ellensburg, Washington, Angela Staerk of Apple Valley, Minnesota, Luka Staerk of Spokane, Washington, Daniel (Becky) Staerk of Kirkwood, Missouri, Christine (Terry) Groth of Jackson and Caroline (Charles) Staerk of Chicago, Illinois; grandchildren, Krystl (Jon), Matthew (Tim), Lucas, Kyle, Cameron, Jackson, Emily and Ames; great-grandchild, Reagan; in-laws, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Wilma Reinhard; parents-in-law, Auguste and Anton Fehling and sister-in-law, Luise.
Funeral Services will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, at the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lebanon with the Rev. Douglas Bergelin officiating. Family and friends may call after 11 a.m. at the church until the time of services. Burial will take place in the parish cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the Lebanon Historical Society. Hafemeister Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Watertown is serving the family.
Obituary and service times shared with permission by the Staerk family.