ONALASKA — Kenneth William Gilster, 87, of Onalaska passed away Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, at his home in Onalaska, after a long illness.
He was born Aug. 23, 1930, in La Crosse, to Alfred D. and Helen L. (Woehlke) Gilster. He was raised on the family farm in Onalaska and attended Fauver Hill Elementary School. He graduated from Logan High School, in La Crosse in 1948 and Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in 1952. He majored in biology and German, with plans to become a teacher. He played baseball, football and basketball all of his life. He served in the Army in France, from 1952 to 1954. In 1954, he returned home and was hired at The Trane Company as a laboratory technician and then became a service technician. He traveled the world for Trane Company and retired in 1997. He enjoyed sports, fishing and hunting. He was a member of English Lutheran Church in La Crosse and the American Legion Post 52.
He married DeLaney M. (Hall) Saltz April 19, 1958, in La Crosse.
He is survived by his wife, DeLaney; his son, Joel K. Gilster of West Salem; his daughter, Ellen L. (Anthony) Sletten of Holmen; and his stepdaughter, Gail M. Saltz of Onalaska; granddaughter, Kendra Mae Gilster of New Mexico; his grand-puppy, Harley; four stepgrandchildren and stepgreat-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his brother, David Gilster of Holmen; and his sister, Margery F. (Dale) May of Virginia.
He is preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Elaine R. (Clifford Jr.) Fossum, in 2014; his brother, Philip C. (Lynn) Gilster, in 2011; his stepgranddaughter; and several in-laws and cousins.
A celebration of life will be held by the family at a later date.
The family wishes to thank the hospice system of Gundersen Health System, our wonderful friends and neighbors, and the Coulee Region Cremation Group.