Gerhard (Gary) Weiler, family man, sports fan, auto buff, jokester, and music lover, died Thursday, March 4, 2021 at age 81. He is survived by his wife, Sharon; his children Cheryl (Terry) Back, Chuck (Amy) Weiler, and Mike Weiler; and grandchildren Logan (Dom Anderson) Back, Griffin Back, and Kelsey (Elliot) Marshall. He is also survived by siblings Jerome (Sally) Weiler, Ken (Jane) Weiler, Koni Krueger, Glenn Weiler, and Joan (Dave) Romens; in-laws Susie Jablonic, Val (George) Himes, Larry (Sandy) Fritz, Harry Hanson, Laurie (LaVerne Shilts), and Gary (Chris) Fritz; and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, and a few great-grand-nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, a sister-in-law, and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Gary was born in the Town of Bern near Athens, Wisconsin in 1939 to Pete and Marie Weiler and grew up on the family farm there and later in Colby, Wisconsin. After graduating from Colby High School, he entered the Army and served in the Army Reserves while starting his work career. His first adult purchase was his dream car, a ’59 Chevy Impala four-door hardtop.
One night at a local gathering he asked a sassy young woman to dance and she said no. After thinking it over, she approached him and said she’d like to dance after all, and the rest is history. During their life-long love story and partnership, Gary and Sharon raised a family, built and ran a business, and supported each other through careers, house rehabs, and adventures in Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Minnesota before retiring in Phoenix, Arizona. They would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this summer.
Over the years, Gary worked for American Motors in Kenosha, Harmony Co-op and Toelle Surge Service in Colby, and then farmed in the Town of Colby while working as a truck driver for Foremost Foods and Koch Fuels. He left farming to hold multiple positions with Koch Industries, including transportation dispatcher, district manager, and Great Lakes division manager. He later worked as a crew supervisor for a landscape company, and he finished his career as a depot supervisor for Case New Holland. After retirement, he indulged his love of large machinery by helping neighboring farmers with field work and marveling at YouTube videos of new farming technology. With the glee of a grade school boy, he continued to debate other former farmers about which tractor was better (Case all the way).
Gary excelled at dancing, driving, remodeling, innovating do-it-yourself projects, eradicating gophers from his back yard, rough-housing with German Shepherds, and pranking those he loved. He spent his early years playing city league basketball, fastpitch softball, and refereeing high school basketball games. In later years, he enjoyed watching athletics of all kinds, and he and Sharon were well-known fixtures at their grandchildren’s events and activities. And proving that a competitive spirit never fades, he often vied with neighborhood men over who could consume the most at Red Lobster’s Endless Shrimp Mondays.
He passed his love for the great outdoors, camping, and boating on to his children and grandchildren. He was a master water skier who spent hours hauling his kids and their friends around the lake on wild inner tube rides, and he considered an evening around a campfire with family and friends time well-spent. He liked to indulge in reuben sandwiches, liver and onions, butterscotch malts, black raspberry ice cream, and brandy slushes at the holidays. He also relished concocting snacks and drinks to share, including such favorites as a sandwich made entirely of apple, sharp cheddar, and sweet onion slices, and his most recent cocktail of peach schnapps, iced tea, and orange juice.
Gary is remembered as a wearer of hats, collector of farm toys, connoisseur of tools, player of cards, worker of wood, and negotiator of deals, who displayed a quiet pride in his family and was always willing to lend an ear to listen or a hand to help. Family and friends alike will miss his quick wit, big smile, ready laugh, and great bear hugs.
The family will hold a celebration of life July 24 in Wisconsin and next winter in Arizona. Memorials may be designated to the United Hospital Foundation, Heart and Vascular Clinic, 333 Smith Ave N, Suite 4650, St Paul, MN 55102 or online at https://www.allinahealth.org/united-hospital/foundation. All memorials will be dedicated to research and education.
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