Raymond Rex Whisler, age 74, died suddenly and peacefully at home on Monday, May 28 with his children by his side. Ray was born in the quiet town of Elkhart Indiana, first born to Caroline (Harp) and George, Ray’s father George died in World War II at the beaches of Iwo Jima where he received the honor of the Purple Heart medal, a story that Ray proudly shared with many. After George’s passing Caroline went on to marry Dallas Wheeler, George’s best friend and soldier comrade. At George’s requests to take care of Caroline if anything should happen, Dallas later married Caroline, grew their family with Candice Coleen and David and Dallas raised Ray as his own. Ray grew up on the Wheeler homestead in Janesville Where he actively participated in many activities such as FFA, football and Homecoming where he won many awards. He graduated Edgerton High school in 1962 and went on to play football for UWL until an injury ended that dream with the Eagles. Upon moving back to Edgerton he worked for J&R Implementing and met the love of his life Alice Tellefson, whom he cared deeply for, so much which as Alice’s Alzheimer’s progressed over the last 10 years he continued to care for her at home until he physically no longer could. Ray and Alice had three loving and ambitious children Todd, Kathy and Nicole all of which he was so proud of. In 1977 Ray and Alice moved their family to Vernon County where Ray knew the kids would prosper in the beauty and peace of Newton Valley. Ray loved fishing, camping and being with his family. There they farmed and raised tobacco until buying and bringing life to the Romance Tavern. Ray was best known for his firework shows, beach parties, softball tournaments, target shoots and his most famous fish fry that no one has replicated to this day. It was never a surprise to see a hat or a T-shirt screen printed for one of these events as Ray held as he also enjoyed creating and designing these. Ray was in his glory working beside his family in Romance and doing what he did best by taking care of others and making people laugh.
Ray was not only a successful intelligent businessman but also a family man with his definite pride being his seven grandchildren Nugster, Grubbo, Grouter, Buggie, Bonehead 1 & 2 and Bunko and his great granddaughter Ovlive- he loved them dearly and thrived on giving them advice on their endeavors. He didn’t realize while he was teaching them about life they were making memories. He was always trying to figure out how to get them to the next level so much so that on his last day with a phone call to advise on how to get his grandsons success at fishing to compete in nationals since fishing was a hobby he held dear to him his whole life. He was so proud of all of them and their friends for all they have done. In his later years of life Ray took a loving to old cars always searching for a deal to restore and resell or every so often keep one to cruise around with Alice by his side. Ray and Alice together most recently did one thing to continue his compassion of giving and joined Middle Coon Valley Lutheran church. He jokes he never thought he would do that even though he was always a believer, he found peace in his home visits from Pastor Meg. Ray should be remembered by his sharp mind, business savvy attitude, his jokes, his ability to make anyone laugh, and bringing people together with a great meal. He was a firm but understanding individual and loving friend to all.
Ray is survived by his wife of 53 years, Alice currently residing at the Bothne House Coon Valley; three children, Todd Whisler of Genoa, Kathy (Kevin) Kilmer of Viroqua, and Nicki (Brian) Dayton of Westby; seven grandchildren, Gracie Whisler, Kallie Kilmer, Taylor( Britany) Hermeier, Mackenzi (Jonah) Hermeier, Grant, Carter, and Cole Dayton; a great-granddaughter, Olive; “adopted daughter”, Carrie Jo; sisters, Candice (Jim) Nicholson of Janesville, Coleen (Dooney) Miller of Janesville; brother, David (Monica) Wheeler of Janesville. Which all of whom he loved whole heartedly. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews and in-laws, special friends new and old and his companion Puker Sue, his dog Bella. His children’s and grandchildren’s friends also became his family sharing love as they were his own.
He is proceeded in death by his father, George Whisler and parents, Dallas and Caroline Wheeler.
A celebration of Ray’s life will be held on Saturday, June 2nd at 11 a.m. at the Thorson Funeral Home in Viroqua with Pastor Meg Hoversten officiating. Visitation will be held after the service until 2 p.m. The family then invites you to a celebration at the Whisler Farm Shop (E3801 State Highway 56, Genoa). Online condolences may be left for the family at www.thorsonfuneralhome.com. The family would like to thank everyone for their love and support over the years, the Bethel Home, Bothne House, and VMH Home Health for all their care of both, Alice and Ray.
The Thorson Funeral Home of Viroqua is proudly serving the family.