Our sweet, gentle dad, grandfather and great grandfather, Clayton Victor Meyer, knowing he would be reunited with the love of his life, our mom, Mary Ann, passed away very peacefully, on Sunday morning, Feb. 6, 2022 at Paradise Estates in Kewaunee. His age was 91, but as dad would have put it, “I'll be 92 in August", always looking ahead to his next birthday. Kathy and Tony were at his side when he passed, and he was surrounded by all of his special memories and all the love of his family who spent special time with him in recent weeks/days.
Dad was born on Aug. 28,1930 on the Meyer family farm on Kassner Road in the town of Franklin, the second of four children, and only son, to Charles and Rose (Smidel) Meyer. Dad was the last remaining member of his generation of the Meyer family. When he was 6 years old, his family moved to Thornapple Creek Dairy Farm on Co. J in Carlton. He attended Thornapple Creek Grade School, a one room school, next door to their farm, and graduated from Kewaunee High School In 1948 where he played trumpet and baritone In the high school band
Dad met the love of his life, Mary Ann Schlies, daughter of Jacob and Emily (Mleziva) Schlies, at a wedding dance in Kellnersville, and on a beautiful fall day, Oct. 10, 1951, they were married at All Saints Catholic Church in Denmark. Shortly after their wedding, Dad was drafted and left with the U.S. Army during the Korean War, being stationed in Germany as an operator of a Sherman tank retriever. Following his discharge in March 1954, he and mom raised their family and worked hard on their beautiful family farm for 42 years. They were blessed with four children and 68 years of marriage, when our mom passed on April 21, 2020. Dad also worked a few years at Frank Hamachek Machine Company in Kewaunee and, after selling the farm in 1994, he worked in the automotive department at Fleet Farm East for 5 years.
Dad was very proud of keeping their farm and home a showplace and worked hard with Mom to keep things always looking their best. He also loved to tinker around In his garage workshop and could fix "almost anything WITH almost anything". Dad spent some of his happiest times at family gatherings/picnics out on his little piece of heaven, his retirement property, near his farm. He often said that from there, he could sit and look at his mother's birthplace just across the fields. Dad got to see a lot of changes in his lifetime, including being a young boy helping his dad work those fields with a team of horses, now watching big modern farm machinery working those same fields.
He and Mom loved entertaining family and friends and their home was usually "the place to be" to have fun. They also loved traveling, seeing most of the National Parks, Florida Keys, Mexico, Caribbean cruises, polka festivals in Nebraska & Texas, 20 years of Hodag Festivals in Rhinelander, many years of attending the lndy 500 races; Europe (including a visit to see his 1952-1954 army base in Germany and to the Czech Republic, where they visited the area of their ancestry). They made over 10,000 miles on snowmobiles, including snowmobile trips to Yellowstone, Quebec, most of the UP and northern Wisconsin. Dad once even led the way for their group of snowmobilers crossing the Bay of Green Bay from Little Sturgeon to Oconto and back. And let's not forget the 20 plus years of Thornapple Creek Estates tree hopping with the gang In Carlton.
After mom passed, dad filled his days reminiscing and looking through their large collection of photo albums and 8,000 slides; listening to Czech music, watching country music on the Circle channel, praying the rosary daily, staying in shape and doing his 3 long walks each day, and whenever possible sitting outside in the sun, even on cold days in his snowmobile jacket, behind the wind enjoying God's beauty and taking a "Sunsetter", as he put It. We were blessed to have had Dad in our lives for so long and having the chance to ask him lots of questions of times past. I think he enjoyed that as much as we did. Dad also enjoyed his visits to Our Lady of Good Help Chapel in Champion and to the Curran Spirituality Center, and just going for rides to see what was going on in Carlton and Stangelville.
Dad belonged to several organizations over the years including being a member of St. Isidore the Farmer Parish/St. Joseph’s in Norman serving as past trustee and as a member of the Tisch Mills Holy Name Mens' Choir; Carlton Legion, Holy Name Society, Moonriders Snowmobile Club, and being very proud of his Czech heritage, he belonged to the Czechs of Norman and participated in many of the "Bohemian Days" outdoor Masses and parades at Norman.
Clayton is survived by his 4 children, Kathy (Tony) Ratajczak of DePere; Russ Meyer (Debbie Loots) of Hudson; Rick (Renee) Meyer of Stangelville; Jacki Meyer (Scott Barker) of Dunbar. Also survived by 9 Grandchildren, Kari (Dan) Champeau; Kaci Ratajczak; Matt (Jenny) Meyer; Melanie Becker (Kevin); Markki Meyer (Tyler); Alyssa (Derek) Willems; Rachel (Cal) Shanle; Jacob Meyer (Amber) and Tiffany Goetsch, along with 16 Great-Grandchildren: Blake Champeau (Alexis); Garrett Champeau (Kate); Mackenna Pribek (Jordan); Hunter Pribek (Chloe); Sawyer Pribek and Haley Reckelberg; Megan, Kiersten, Erin, and Leighton Meyer; Jayson Eads; Jade, Edye and Grant Willems; Madeline Couillard and Caleb Goetsch. Further survived by brother-in-law Russell Schlies; Godchildren: Gregg Vanness, Darlene Wltcpalek, Gail Kimball, Peggy Ledvina and Scott Kassner and numerous nieces and nephews. Also survived by members of the Joe Selner family: Diane Zimmer, Don & Mary Selner and Dennis and JoAnne Selner.
Greeting him at heaven's gates will be his wife Mary Ann; his parents Charles & Rose (Smidel) Meyer, sisters Lorraine (Bob) Eesley, Janet (Don) Parkos and Carol (Bob) Ledvina, parents-in-law Jacob & Emily (Mleziva) Schlies, sisters-in-Iaw/brother-In-law Lucille Schlies, Patricia (Clarence) Vanness and step father-in-law, Joseph Selner and step brother in law, Leon Zimmer and daughter-in-law, Jeanne Scheler.
Visitation will be Friday, February 11 after 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at Buchanan Funeral Home, Kewaunee. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Fr. Dennis Drury, assisted by Christal Wavrunek at 12:00 noon at St. Lawrence Church, Stangelville (where dad was baptised in 1930).
Jacki and Russ would like to give special thanks to Kathy and Rick for taking such good care of our mom and dad. Kathy and Tony for their many visits and for having dad for overnight visits at their home, getting groceries, taking care of finances, scheduling and driving to appointments, and whatever else he needed. Dad never had to worry about a thing. Rick, thanks for helping around the apartment and property, fixing anything for dad that needed fixing (a trait you inherited from dad), for helping dad cheer on the Packers on TV, and lots of visits with fresh cheese curds and metunke!
Thank you to Fr. Dennis Drury and Christal Wavrunek for your many thoughtful visits, letters, prayers/blessings.
Thank you to Unity Hospice for keeping dad at home and comfortable, and for supporting us in dad's final days.
Special thanks to all of the girls at Paradise Estates where dad made his home for the past 7 years. The special care you gave dad, treating him like he was your own grandfather, will be remembered forever.
We have never known two other people, who together, enjoyed life to the fullest each day, as you and mom did..whether with family, friends home or away. So many happy memories of you two. We are so blessed that God chose you to be our parents.
Dad, we will miss your big smile always greeting us with "Welcome to Paradise" when we visited you. Now, it is OUR turn to say to you... Welcome to Paradise, Dad.
Love you and miss you forever.