Kenneth Edward Lindner of Merrillan, WI passed away on December 4, 2021. He was 99 years old.
Ken was born in La Crosse, WI on November 29, 1922. Although his parents, Henry B. Lindner and Cora (Ward) Lindner resided in Nelson, Wisconsin, his mother took the train to La Crosse so that he could be the first of his three siblings to be born in a hospital.
He attended Nelson grade school and graduated from Nelson High School in 1940. Following high school he worked at a steel mill in Chicago and then worked for the railroad painting bridges and depots.
In 1942, he enlisted in the army, served as a Technical Sergeant in the Signal Corps during WWII in New Guinea and was active in the invasion of Leyte and Luzon Islands, Philippines. He was among the first troops to occupy Japan, arriving in Yokohama before the Peace Treaty was signed. He was discharged at Fort McCoy on December 24, 1945 after serving over three years.
Following the war, he worked for the railroad climbing poles (a skill he had perfected during his time in the army). He then entered UW Eau Claire, graduating in 1949 with majors in Physical Science and Mathematics. He later completed his Masters and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Iowa. In addition to his PhD, he held honorary degrees of Doctor of Humanities and Doctor of Science. Ken began teaching at Alma Center and Merrillan, Wisconsin for a year, then spent 5 years at Black River High School, teaching Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. In 1956, he was appointed as Instructor of Chemistry at UW La Crosse and was later appointed Professor of Chemistry. He next served as head of Academic Affairs for the State University System in Madison. After several years in that position, Ken returned to UW La Crosse as President and Chancellor where he served for 8 years before being appointed Wisconsin Secretary of Administration in Madison. He returned to UW La Crosse for four years when the Board of Regents appointed him to the position of Distinguished Professor. After retirement from the Wisconsin State University System, he served as Provost at Texas Chiropractic College and as President of Post University in Waterbury Connecticut and later, as interim President of Marycrest University in Iowa.
Ken married Ila Jacobson in 1947 and is survived by their six children, Diane (Joe) of Cape Coral FL; Charles (Susan) of Dallas, TX; Barbara Eliott of Denver CO; Nancy Wehe of Lutherville MD; John of Daytona FL; Sara Dunn (Pat) of Phoenix AZ; and 8 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.
Ken married Marcia Lee Castek in 1990 and spent the last thirty-one plus loving and happy years with her. He loved his family and life on the lake with Marcia, reading, playing golf, fishing and doing woodworking and, of course, watching the Green Bay Packers! He is survived by his wife Marcia and her 3 children, Amy Adam (Al) of Westby WI; Amanda Haessly of Northfield WI; Anne Castek (John) of Hastings, NE; 6 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
Memorials may be sent to Black River Hospice & Home Care, 311 Hwy A, Black River Falls.
The Torgerson Funeral Home of Black River Falls (715-284-4321) is assisting the family with arrangements. On-line condolences are available at http://www.torgersonfh.com.