William “Bill” J. Grode, 92, of La Crosse died Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, surrounded by his family.
Bill was born in Menasha, Wis., March 28, 1926. In his younger years, he could always be found on the tennis court. He captivated the attention of all those who loved the game. After graduating from high school, Bill joined the Air Force and after completing his duties he attended what is now the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. His athletic abilities and talents were once again able to shine and he excelled in tennis and football. On Jan. 1, 1951, the La Crosse Football Team competed in the Cigar Bowl in Tampa, Fla., winning the game 47 to 14, quite an honor in those days. After completing college and getting his master’s degree, he went on to teach. His teaching career continued until the early 70s. It was time for a change and business it was. In 1973, Bill opened the Onalaska Country Kitchen. He owned and operated the restaurant until 1985, at which time he retired. He remained very active substitute teaching and perfecting his golf game. As the years went on, it was always a good day when he shot his age. There was never a time out in public where either a former student, patron, employee, or friend would not acknowledge Bill. His quick wit and dry sense of humor were remembered by all those who knew him. Bill loved his family, sports and baking homemade bread.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Mary (McLoone); his three children, Jim (Karen) Grode, Barb (John) Young and Chris (Gloria) Grode; his five grandchildren, Jennifer Grode-Kiela (Gary), Sarah Young (Jake), John Young (Kylie), Sam Grode, Max Grode; along with his two great-grandchildren, Afton Sophia and Gwenivere Jo Young; and his faithful canine companion, Lucy.
Private family services will be held, as per Bill’s wishes.
Should friends desire, donations may be made to the Coulee Region Humane Society, or the Boys & Girls Club of Greater La Crosse.
The Schumacher-Kish Funeral & Cremation Services of La Crosse are assisting the family. Online guestbook is available at www.schumacher-kish.com.