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Kenneth “Ken or Kenny” Dibelius, age 62, of Princeton, passed away due to medical complications on Saturday, October 14, 2023, at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, WI. He was born on March 22, 1961, in Waupun, WI, a son of Ernest and Isabel (Soda) Dibelius.
Ken graduated from Princeton High School in 1979. He received two Associates degrees from Wausau Technical College and Marine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac. He had worked for many years as a general contractor for multiple commercial building companies. He loved to build – whether it be with Legos when his children were younger, or with wood making tables, shelves, bookcases, cabinets and other projects. When asked, he happily jumped right into making several volleyball “banger” boards for several of his nieces to practice on, or heirloom benches or furniture pieces for family members. His sanctuary in many respects was the workshop and garage; he could tinker for hours at a time and not realize how much time had elapsed.
Ken enjoyed outdoor activities of many kinds, but he specifically loved to go deer hunting, camping with family and friends, and going on snowmobile trips. When not working on a project, Ken enjoyed going to tractor pulls, watching NASCAR on the TV or attending local races at the WIR racetrack.
Ken was passionate about sports as well. When his son was younger, he stepped up to coach his t-ball teams and loved every minute of it. Ken loved watching basketball and football; he was a huge fan of the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. On occasion he’d show up to support others he loved by attending wrestling tournaments and volleyball matches, and an occasional track meet.
Ken lived life in a big way and loved to laugh; he was hard to miss when he walked into a room. Chances are if he knew you for any period of time, at some point you would be given a nickname by him that would end up sticking for years. It could be often said that Ken never knew a stranger. He could and would talk to anyone to make them feel included. By the end of a conversation, those people thought they had known him for years. He had a soft and big heart for so many.
But his number one pride and joy in life came with the birth of his two children, Ericka and Mitchel. Within the first few minutes of any conversation with Ken, it wasn’t uncommon for him to share the latest happenings in his children’s lives. He lived for his children and seeing their happiness was incredibly important to him.
Mitchel would tell you that his dad loved to work with his hands and he loved being a father. Ken passed down his hard work ethic to his children. He did all that he could to share his knowledge and craftsmanship with every kind of tool possible with both of his kids. His son is a diesel mechanic and learned much from his dad while turning wrenches on many engines over the years. He was a constant support and sounding board to turn to for Mitchel. Ken also taught his daughter many creative tips with home renovation so that she and her husband could work on the house they bought shortly before they were married. Ericka would tell you that her dad wanted her to be fearlessly independent; he saw that play out as she accomplished much when she left home to pursue her many degrees before she settled down in the La Crosse area. Ken’s children were both excited that he was moving closer to be near them and their spouses. Although that time was short, they were able to be near him when it mattered most.
Those Ken leaves behind to cherish his memory are his two children, Ericka (Travis) Check of La Crosse, Mitchel (Rachel) Dibelius of La Crosse; sister, Jenelle (Myron) Giffey of Eldorado; brother, Kevin (Shelly) Dibelius of Neenah; stepsisters Kathy (John) Plautz of Rhinelander; Ellen (Jim) Kirschbaum of Montello; nephews, Joshua (Jessica) Giffey, Zachary (Jolene) Giffey, niece Kaitlin Dibelius, step nieces, Emily Ehlers, Susanna Ehlers, and Tara (Brian) Seiler; step nephews, Brent (Tanya) Vogelsang and Aaron (Jana) Vogelsang; the mother of his children and extended family of Brenda Faucett of Berlin; father-in-law, Arden Patchett of Green Lake; sister-in-law, Bonnie (Mark) Schumacher of Green Lake; brother-in-law, Keith (Stacie) Patchett of Appleton; nieces, Kristin (Justen) Stracy, Cassandra Patchett, Annalise Patchett, Ava Patchett, Alaina Patchett; and many other beloved family members and treasured friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Isabel Dibelius; stepfather, Robert Golz; stepsister, Susan Glunn; mother-in-law, Jean Ann Patchett; and niece Nicole Schumacher.
The family would like to thank the medical staff at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, WI, for the exceptional kind and compassionate care Ken received in his final days. Thanks to them, his children and other family members were able to spend time by his side, holding his hand, laughing, and sharing cherished memories together.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Ken Dibelius will be held on Friday, October 20, 2023, at 11:30 a.m. with visitation beginning at 9:30 a.m., at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 1211 W. Main St. in Princeton. Father Dale Grubba will officiate. Ken will be laid to rest next to his parents in the St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Princeton following the service. Please visit our website www.wachholzandsons.com to send a condolence or to share a memory of Ken with his family.
Wachholz and Sons Funeral Home
Sunset Cremation Center in Princeton
Serving the Family, 920-295-6631