Roger L. Widner
October 28, 2020
Roger L. Widner, of Avalanche, Wisconsin passed away unexpectedly Monday, October 19, 2020, from a cardiac episode. While it is never easy to say goodbye, comfort is found knowing he went home on the bank of his treasured pond.
Roger was born February 17, 1934, to William Perry and Rena Florence (Clark) Widner at their home in Avalanche. He did not enter this world alone though and his twin brother Robert was instantly a lifelike mirror. There was nothing the Widner boys did not do together. From their stint as Sun Drop distributors to being called off to the military to starting RL Widner Trucking and Excavating, their endeavors were never ending. They worked together as founding members of the West Fork Sportsman's Club to improve the trout habitat of the West Fork of the Kickapoo River, helping to develop the world-class trout stream that exists today. If there was something to be done in the valley, the boys were first in line to make sure it was done. Roger's love for the outdoors and Avalanche was evident in everything he did, and his lasting legacy will not be forgotten.
Roger was a true storyteller. One never knew if he was telling you the truth or not, but you sure got caught up in the tale. Whether it was coffee in the morning at Borgen's or later, Central Express or meeting up with him at the store in Avalanche, you could always depend on him for engaging conversation. One of his best tales was of when he met his wife Mary while she was teaching. To hear Roger tell it, it was love at first sight for both when he walked into the Avalanche school house so many years ago and said to her, "I suppose you know who I am". His confidence led to what transpired into a lifetime of love and happiness. Roger and Mary eventually turned that schoolhouse into the local store, where they raised their three children, Roger, Perry and Susan.
After their time at the store, Roger and Mary moved their family from the store to Hidden Valley. This property was their pride and joy. Roger took his love for conservation and trout stream restoration and created his own sanctuary that he worked on tirelessly right until his passing. Days of raising tobacco, fishing, and stream bank work soon transitioned to grandkids and eventually great grandchildren running afoot. The sounds of laughter from his many grandchildren were often heard echoing through the hills. It didn't matter if it was from playing in the creek or sledding down the hill, there was always something to keep the kids busy.
Roger loved his family and stayed young keeping up with them. Whether it was sharing his vast knowledge of trout fishing, instilling a strong work ethic in the kids by having them help with all of his unending projects, or simply reminiscing on the deck about time gone by, time spent with family was his most cherished activity. He was so proud of all of them, from his granddaughter who attended Yale and his grandson who followed in his footsteps in the Military, to his many multifaceted, entrepreneurial grandchildren, he certainly had reason to be. He loved being involved and helping with their many projects, most recently renovating an old bowling alley into a gymnastics training facility and premier event venue. That project was a new lease on life for him and he loved sharing his business savvy. Roger was a true patriarch and will be so deeply missed by his family and friends. Though he is gone in body, his spirit will forever fill the valley.
Roger is survived by his daughter Susan (Terry) Arentz of Rockland, Wisconsin; five granddaughters: Amanda (Nathan) Langrehr, Meghan Arentz, Kelsey (Nick) Giraud, Molly (Kyle) Peters, and Danielle Widner; three grandsons: Tyler (Amanda) Arentz, Alex Arentz, and Dylan Widner; and seven great-grandchildren: Kaden, Emma and Tessa Langrehr, Grace and Kalli Giraud, Isabella Arentz, and Evelyn Peters. He is further survived by many cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws. Survivors especially close to Roger include his twin brother & sister-in-law Robert & June Widner; their children: Marcia (Pat) Parker, Monica Klaas, Melissa (Guy) Guglielmi, and Michelle Widner; daughter-in-law Laurie Widner; Roger's nieces: Ramona (Glenn) Fromme, Meredith Ames, Cindy (Scott) Weber, Linda (Bryan) Burch and Robert (Amy) Tway.
Roger is preceded in death by his wife Mary and their two beloved sons, Roger Lee Widner and Perry James Widner; his parents; his in-laws James Bradley & Lenore Davidson Clarke; his brothers: Lester (Viva) Widner, Dorman (Lillian) Widner, Dorwin (Edith) Widner, William Widner; his sisters Mary (Lorenzo) Skundburg, Gladys (Chris) Tway and nephew Michael Widner.
A Funeral Service was held on Sunday, October 25, 2020, at 1:00 pm at the Vosseteig Funeral Home, 708 S. Main Street in Westby, Wisconsin. Visitation was at the funeral home on Saturday evening from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm and on Sunday from noon until the time of service. Due to COVID-19, the family respectfully requests that social distancing precautions are respected, and masks are worn. Online Condolences may be expressed at http://www.vossfh.com.