Fredrick Joseph Gmeinder, age 94, died peacefully in his sleep at home the morning of Friday, November 26, 2021.
He was born September 20, 1927, in a farmhouse in the Town of Sun Prairie, to Joseph and Magdalena (Shernecker) Gmeinder. Fred’s childhood was spent on farms in the area. He had fond memories of delivering fresh milk to the nuns at his Catholic elementary school in East Bristol.
Fred graduated from Marshall High School in 1945 at age 17. Immediately after graduating, he enlisted in the United States Merchant Marines to serve during and after World War II. He was an engine room storekeeper and oiler for the US Army Transport Service, which carried supplies to and brought war brides from different parts of the world: Japan and other ports in the South Pacific, Egypt and other ports in Africa, and numerous European countries.
Upon his return to civilian life in 1947, Fred learned metal working at his father’s blacksmith business, which he purchased a few years later.
Farmers across southern Wisconsin relied on Fred to build hay wagons and maintain their farming equipment. He was committed to serving farmers even during evenings and weekends to keep their equipment functioning during critical planting and harvesting times. As a self-taught mechanical engineer, Fred found new directions toward the middle of his career. He created and built custom-designed mint farming equipment and sold it locally and internationally. He designed and manufactured hydraulic equipment to dig large trees as requested by a local nursery. He also created a variety of amusement park train engine cars that are still in use in Wisconsin and surrounding states. His business, Gmeinder Welding, Inc., closed after 42 years of service.
Everyone in Marshall knew Fred. He served on the Marshall Volunteer Fire Department for 28 years, including 12 as Chief and several more as treasurer. He served on the Marshall Village Board for 10 years. He was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church for 84 years, a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters for 79 years, and a member of American Legion Post 279. He had a reputation of being a quiet, unpretentious, hardworking family man with a straight moral compass and a wicked euchre game.
He married the love of his life, Marian Ann Weisensel, on September 24, 1952; their happiness and devotion lasted more than 69 years. Together they raised six wonderful children. In their retirement, Fred and Marian enjoyed travelling the continent. Their favorite destination was Alaska, which they visited many times.
Fred spent his retirement years working with wood: building clocks, headboards, bookcases, games, countless picture frames, and more. He also volunteered as a truck driver for the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Lake Mills.
Fred was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Victor Gmeinder, Edwin (Emma) Gmeinder, Norbert (Sally) Gmeinder, and Bernard (Angela) Gmeinder; sisters Helen (Harold) Morrow, Catherine (Willis) Trapp, Margaret (Clarence) Tuschen, and brother-in-law Gordon Stich. He is survived by his wife; his children Marilyn (Grant) Majerus, Steven (Patty) Gmeinder, Annette (Barry) Witkowski, Nancy (Tim) Schroedl, Linda Barrett, and Julie (Jon) Holubowicz; his 100-year-old sister Marian Stich; ten grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Visitation will be held 11:30 am on Saturday, December 4, 2021 at St. Mary of the Nativity/Holy Family Catholic Church in Marshall, and the funeral will follow at 1:30 pm. Face masks are required in Dane County. Afterward, military honors and burial ceremony will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
The family wishes to extend a heartfelt thanks to the caring staff at Caring Made Easy, Agrace Hospice and the Sun Prairie Health Care Center.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to either St. Mary’s (Marshall) campus of the Holy Family Catholic Church, or Agrace Hospice.
Rest in peace, good and faithful servant.
Schmutzler-Vick Funeral Home is caring for the family. To place an online condolence please visit www.sv-fh.com.