William Joseph “Bill” Fishenich, 92, of Ellsworth, Effie and Bigfork, died Saturday, April 6, 2019, at the Bigfork Valley Communities in Bigfork.
A funeral service was Tuesday, April 9, at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Luverne. Burial with full military honors provided by the Ellsworth American Legion was in the St. Mary Cemetery in Ellsworth.
William Fischenich was born on Feb. 11, 1927, to Nerres and Ethel (Rowe) Fischenich in Ellsworth, the last of six children. He attended St. Mary Catholic School in Ellsworth until he was drafted to serve in the military during World War II. After re-enlisting in the Army, he served in Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Bill attained the rank of PFC and received various awards including the World War II Victory Medal and Army of Occupation of Germany Medal.
Upon discharge in 1947, Bill returned home to Ellsworth and learned the carpentry and construction trade. He became an independent contractor and employed other workers. Eventually he took a position as foreman for the Great Plains Lumber Company. It was said that he and his workers either built or repaired most of the homes in Ellsworth at one time or another. He also built his own lakeshore home in northern Minnesota, to which he retired in the early 1980s.
Bill was an avid sportsman. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, boating, snowmobiling, motorcycling and camping, particularly in Minnesota’s North Woods. Later in life, he enjoyed cooking, gardening, wood-carving and going to the casino. He shared his interests and lakeshore home with family, often serving as stepdad for nieces and nephews or stepgranddad for their children.
Bill is survived by 24 nieces and nephews and their children.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his stepfather, John Neyens; three brothers, Ray, Ed and Cecil Fischenich; and two sisters, Anastasia (Fischenich) Engel and Marian (Fischenich) Palmer.
Memorials are preferred to St. Mary’s Cemetery in care of St. Catherine’s Church in Luverne, Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Bigfork, or Bigfork Valley Communities in Bigfork.
Arrangements were provided by Dingmann Funeral Home of Luverne, www.dingmannandsons.com.