BLACK RIVER FALLS — Louis “Lou” J. Musser, 80, passed away peacefully Thursday, May 18, 2017, at his home in Black River Falls.
Lou was born Feb. 10, 1937, at La Crosse Hospital to John and Carrie (Dokken) Musser, the last of nine children and the only one born in a hospital.
He attended various elementary schools in the Holmen and Melrose areas, graduating eighth grade from Red School, rural Melrose, and Melrose High School in 1955.
In 1954, Lou helped establish and was a member of the very first football team at Melrose High School.
On July 20, 1955, Lou enlisted in the U.S. Navy for four years, attended basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Base, and went on to radio communications school in San Diego, Calif., with additional security group training in Imperial Beach, Calif.
His first assignment was for two years in Bremerhaven, Germany, followed by an assignment on Kwajalein Island, as part of the communications security group. Lou was honorably discharged as a Second Class Petty Officer May 27, 1959, receiving numerous medals including a Good Conduct Medal.
On May 28, 1960, Louis married Nyla Bock at St. Paul’s Evangelical and Reformed Church in Malone, Wis., and then moved to Black River Falls.
Lou worked at a number of area businesses and enjoyed farming with his wife. At the age of 13, he worked as a farm hand for two brothers-in-law. Later he hauled cattle for his brother, Millard and Carl Stein; was a parts manager for Millis Ford; owned and operated Lou’s Tire Shop in Black River Falls; and was a store assistant at the Federation Co-op. He also worked for Bible Construction, Bible Cranberry Marsh, and the town of Irving.
In 1976, Lou and Nyla bought a farm in the town of Irving, where they milked cows, and he did custom round baling for area farmers. After retiring from farming, they moved to Black River Falls and bought and sold antiques.
He learned to fly, co-owned several Cessna airplanes, and was a shareholding member of the Wazee Flying Club. Lou enjoyed hunting, fishing, and sports, including bowling as a member of the Millis Transfer Team.
Community and volunteerism were an important part of his life. He served a number of years as president of Jackson Little League, helping to expand the league to more than 12 teams involving more than 160 players. Lou acted in a number of Falls Players productions and is most remembered as “Winnie the Pooh.” He was a volunteer for Jackson County Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, Friends Sharing Food, a member of the Jaycees, Friends of Skyline, Friends of Black River, and Jackson County Farm Bureau. He is a past recipient of the “Friend of Extension Homemakers” award.
As a member of Evangelical Lutheran Church, he served on the church council as president, a member of the Gifts and Memorials Committee, Sunday school teacher, Luther League advisor, and was co-chair of the 2002 “Build on Faith” church addition and remodeling project. He always strived to claim the good news by providing outreach ministry for summer worshipers in Hatfield. Lou also served on the ELCA’s Northwest Synod Council and assisted in planning synod assemblies. He was a member of the Dairyland ELCA Conference and represented the synod as a voting delegate at the National ELCA Convention.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Carrie; great-granddaughter, Stacy Lea Ashen; brothers, John, Earl, Millard, and Victor; sisters, Mildred (Russell) Mahlum and Margaret (Lyle) Rommel; and mother-in-law and father-in-law, Elmer and Esther Bock.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nyla; a special “son,” Tony Hart of Holmen; daughter, Greta Gerrard of Australia; grandsons, Garet, Marcus and Jordan Gerrard; and granddaughter, Natasha (Gerrard) Ashen; great-grandchildren, Freya Rose Ashen and Dakodah Kimberly Gerrard all of Australia; sisters, Marian (Chet) Brown of Melrose and Mary Lou (Bill) Young of Black River Falls; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Kenneth and Arlyss Bock of Calumetville, Wis.; numerous nieces, nephews, and special friends.
Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 25, from Evangelical Lutheran Church, Black River Falls. Pastor Erik Bakken will officiate. Interment will be in Lakeside Cemetery, Calumetville, at a later date. Family and friends may call from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and for one hour prior to services Thursday, both at Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Lou enjoyed the rural setting, living nearly all his life within five miles of the Black River, was a steward of the land, a hard-worker, an avid gardener and enjoyed doing yard work, caring for his flowers, birds and squirrels.