ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Gilbert W. Melcher Sr

1903 - 1962


Melcher, Gilbert W., b. May 24, 1903, d. Jan 2, 1962


OBIT  -  3 Jan 1962  Watertown Daily Times


Gilbert W. Melcher, one of the leading progressive farmers in this community, was stricken with a heart attack last night and died in his wife's arms on the living room floor of their home in R3, town of Watertown.


Mr. Melcher had been outside to check on some livestock after spending the evening at home, came back into the house and complained that his breathing was becoming difficult.  He again stepped outside to get some air, then returned and said the difficulty was growing more pronounced.  His wife summoned the fire department squad to administer oxygen but this proved fruitless and he died after collapsing on the floor.


Mr. Melcher had been active in rural and township affairs, with a special interest in 4-H club work.  He had served as chairman of the Agricultural Stabilization Committee of the town of Watertown and was also a tractor leader in 4-H circles. 


He was extremely interested in young people and in the promotion of club work.  He possessed a faculty for making friends wherever he went and was well liked and held in high esteem.


Mr. Melcher was born in the town of Ixonia on 24 May 1903, a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Otto Melcher.  He spent his entire life in agriculture, growing to manhood in the town of Ixonia where he attended St. Paul's Lutheran School.  After his marriage to Miss Eva Hilker in 1928 they went to reside in the town of Watertown and had since farmed in R3.


Survivors are his wife, two daughters, Judy, now Mrs. Earl Reu, R2, Fort Atkinson, Miss Susan Melcher, at home and one son, Gilbert Dean Melcher, R3.  Other survivors are two brothers, Armund, Ixonia, and Martin, R1, Ixonia, as well as one sister, Mrs. Alli Mallow, R1, Ixonia.


Mr. Melcher was a director of Pure Milk Products.  He was a member of St Mark's Lutheran Church in Watertown.


Funeral services will be at the church on Friday at 2 p.m., the Rev James Fricke officiating. 


Interment will be in Oak Hill Cemetery.


Eva L. Melcher

1906 - 2008


FORT ATKINSON - Eva L. Melcher, formerly of Watertown, passed away Monday, Dec. 29, 2008, at the age of 102.


The former Eva Hilker was born on Dec. 27, 1906, in the town of Watertown, daughter of Herman and Minnie (Deegan) Hilker.  She was raised on the family homestead and continued to live there after her marriage to Gilbert Melcher at St. Paul's Church in the town of Ixonia in 1928.


Eva and Gilbert farmed the Hilker homestead in the town of Watertown until his death in 1962.  Eva remained on the farm with her son, Dean, until 1969 when she made her home with her eldest daughter, Judith, and her husband, Earl Reu, in the Hebron area.


Eva had been a member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Watertown and then a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Fort Atkinson.  She was a 1922 graduate of Watertown High School, attended Hoffman's Business College in Milwaukee, and was a graduate of Whitewater Normal School, now the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  She had been a one room school teacher for many years and is still fondly remembered by former pupils.


Eva was a founding member of the Pipersville Home-makers, past chairman of the town of Watertown Cancer Drive, and a longtime 4-H leader in the Farmington All-Stars 4-H Club and in Jefferson County, including past president of the Jefferson County 4-H Leaders' Association.  She was also a member of the Bark River Woods Historical Society, Fort Atkinson Historical Society where her family's restored cutter is displayed, Jefferson County Retired Educators, AARP Chapter No. 1682, and SHHH at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.


Eva loved her award winning flower gardens, and presented many of her handmade quilled wedding invitation gifts to newly married couples.  Eva was very proud of her heritage and had a remarkable memory of people and events that she readily shared with her family and friends.  Despite her profound deafness for most of her adult life, she kept well informed by reading and closed captioned TV, with a keen interest in people, places and events.


She is survived by three children, Judith (Earl) Reu of Fort Atkinson, G. Dean Melcher of the town of Watertown and Susan (Larry) Schultz of Watertown; six grandchildren, James (Maribel) Reu, and Laureen (Allan) Reu-Liu, and Greg (Kristie) Melcher, Gary (Kris) Melcher, Grant (Carole) Melcher and Greta Melcher; 11 great-grandchildren, Marie (Peter) Stoker, Matthew (Heather) Reu, Aria and Marcus Liu, Tyler, Luke and Ryan Melcher, Lyndsey, Stephanie and Nicole Melcher and Ashley Melcher; numerous nieces and nephews, including Russell Hilker of Safety Harbor, Fla.; great-nieces and -nephews; a sister-in-law, Velma Melcher of Watertown; and special friend, Lucille Hoge Redman of Fond du Lac.


Eva was preceded in death by her husband, Gilbert; her sister, Carrie Hamann; and her daughter-in-law, Kathleen Melcher.


Relatives and friends may call on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Fort Atkinson.


Funeral services will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Watertown, with visitation from 9 a.m. until the time of service.  Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery, Watertown.


Those wishing to express condolences through donations may direct them to St. Paul's Lutheran Church Stained Glass Window Fund, St. Mark's Hearing Assistance Fund or Lakeside Lutheran High School in Lake Mills.


A special thank you is extended to the staff at Fairhaven Retirement Community in Whitewater for the compassionate care extended to Eva these past four years.


The Nitardy Funeral Home in Fort Atkinson is assisting the family,


Nitardy Funeral Home 1008 Madison St. Fort Atkinson




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin