Robert Jorgenson, age 97, died peacefully on June 1, 2017, at Homestead Living, Waunakee. Bob was the 3rd of 8 children born in La Crosse on November 8, 1919 and grew up across the street from his Norwegian immigrant grandparents. His family had a plumbing business and for more income during the Great Depression, a greenhouse.
Bob graduated from La Crosse Logan in 1938 and entered the Army in November of 1941, a month before Pearl Harbor was bombed. He served as a company clerk in the 818th Engineer Aviation Battalion. He was in Paris the day after it was liberated and again on the day the war ended. Bob never forgot about walking down the Champs-Élysées.
After the war, he attended UW-Madison on the GI Bill. While at UW, he and Shirley-Dawn Frey of Beaver Dam met playing bridge in the Paul Bunyan Room of the Memorial Union. They married in 1947 and in 1949 Bob graduated as an accountant and later became a CPA. Bob was hired by the Arthur Overgaard road construction firm in Elroy, eventually becoming a partner. Bob and Shirley-Dawn raised their children and hosted two AFS exchange students, including Heidi Anrig.
While in Mauston, he was a member of the City Council, hospital board, Masonic Lodge and Park Commission. Bob, Shirley-Dawn and Holly went on a Peace and Reconciliation trip to the Soviet Union and later helped establish a peace scholarship for Mauston High students which still exists. Madison became home in 1987.
Bob was taught to give back part of what he earned and he was generous with his time and money. He was active in the Presbyterian Church and with local and global community initiatives, especially those benefitting youth and education. He was a contributor to the East Side Neighborhood Center, donating 2750 holiday turkeys over the past 25 years.
Bob enjoyed traveling and was a wonderful gardener. He was a great husband, father and friend. Grandpa J. fell in love with Florida in recent years when he attended his grandchildren’s weddings and met his great-grandchildren. He relished sitting on the beach, watching the waves and feeling the Gulf breeze.
Bob is survived by his sister, Helen "Sis" (Bill) Walsh, 95, of Larksville, PA; three children all of Madison, Reid Jorgenson (Debbie Greene), Wendy Weber, Holly Jorgenson (Jerry Anderson) and AFS daughter Heidi Anrig (Felix Staub), Zurich, Switzerland; two grandchildren, Rachel (Kevin) Kisellus of Parrish, FL and their son, Orion; Jesse (Nicole Pfleger) Weber of Marietta, GA and their children, Lily Drew and Luke.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Julian and Bertha (Dellenbach) Jorgenson and six siblings, Elmer (LaFerne) Jorgenson, George (Idonis) Jorgenson, Genevieve (Bob) Blanchard, Julian (Arlene) Jorgenson, Mildred (Ron) Olsen, and Lillian (Duane) Wohlers.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 24, 2017, at 12 p.m. at DALE HEIGHTS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 5501 University Ave, Madison. A luncheon follows. Visitation begins at 11 a.m. His ashes will be buried in the church Memorial Garden.
In lieu of plants and flowers, you are welcome to join Bob in donating to the UW Odyssey Project, the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, Dale Heights Presbyterian Church, the Mauston Peace Scholarship or a non-profit of your choice.
We deeply appreciate the care, love and humor shown to Dad by the staff of Homestead Living in Waunakee and the team from Agrace HospiceCare in Madison. As Bob would say, “Thank you!”