John Stanley Solheim, age 85 passed away on Saturday, April 25, 2020, lovingly surrounded by his family. John was born February 25, 1935 to Oscar and Evelyn Solheim in Stoughton, Wisconsin. A sister, Mary, would soon follow. It was here that he grew up amid aunts, uncles and grandparents. But Stoughton was also the birthplace of John’s great love and passion for sports, especially baseball.
He attended Stoughton High School, graduating in 1953. John’s high school career fostered his deep love for playing baseball which he carried with him to play for the University of Wisconsin and Carroll College where he graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree. John was then drafted into the army. Upon completion of his service, John began creating the rest of his life.
It began in the fall of 1961. John found himself at Wauzeka High School teaching physical education and coaching football, basketball, track and baseball. It was here that he met Sandra Lawson, a first year Home Economics teacher. A storybook romance began. In John’s words, “When I saw her, I thought she was an angel.” They were married in Luck, Wisconsin in December 1962. Fifty-seven years of marriage and five children would be the result of their life paths crossing. Both John and Sandy would teach in Wauzeka and in Highland, Wisconsin. Their final move together would be to Schofield, Wisconsin where John would teach physical education and coach in the D.C. Everest School District from 1968 to his retirement in 1997.
John’s contributions to education and coaching were honored when he was inducted into the D.C. Everest High School Wall of Fame. For D.C. Everest, he was head baseball coach from 1969-1988. He also developed the baseball diamond currently located next to Stiehm Stadium. In 1970, John started coaching the Wausau Legion Baseball Team. He lead D.C Everest to a State Tournament appearance in 1982 and were Wisconsin Valley Conference Champions in 1985. John’s talent for teaching and coaching was also recognized in 1977 by being named Teacher of the Year. In 1984, the American Legion named John as coach for the annual American Legion Baseball All-Star Game held at Milwaukee County Stadium.
Upon retirement, John widened his passions beyond athletics to include another gift he would share with the world, his love of music. John sang in the Senior Chorus. He became a member of the River Valley Harmonizers, performing every year in churches and Christmas shows at the Grand Theatre. He was Barbershopper of the Year in 2013. John thoroughly loved every Valentine’s Day when he would deliver singing valentines with a quartet to people in the community. He also volunteered for Meals on Wheels. He would occasionally take his grandchildren with him, in hopes of exposing them to the value of helping others in need. Lastly, John’s Norwegian heritage led him to belong to the Sons of Norway where he served as President for a year.
To all of us, dad, you were our world. You taught us how to love by loving our mother. Our world feels very empty without you. We will forever be grateful for you. Our loss of you will be heaven’s gain. Until we see you again, this family will carry you in our hearts.
John Stanley Solheim, you will be missed by many. But your wife, Sandra; five children, Mary Solheim (Carol), Kathleen Kowalke, Michelle Lynch, Susan Marshall, Michael Solheim (Aimee); grandchildren, Nicoletta, Matt, Tyler, Dylan, Christian, Michelle, Jonah, Molly, Lucy, Lilly; and three great grandchildren, Tianna, Tayson and Maleah; plus all of your nieces and nephews will miss you the most. Your passion for living will undoubtedly not be forgotten by all you have touched. He is further survived by sister-in-law, Barbara Lawson; and brothers-in-law, Jim Lawson and Marty Deignan. Preceding John in death are his parents, Oscar and Evelyn; sister, Mary; father-in-law, Meredith Lawson and mother-in-law, Edna Lawson; and brother-in-law, Terry Lawson.
Our family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services. Your compassionate care of our father will remain in our hearts as a genuine extension of human kindness. We felt blessed by your presence in our home and are deeply grateful for your support through this journey.
John’s service will be live-streamed at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 1, 2020, at www.brainardfuneral.com during a private family funeral mass held at St. Therese Catholic Church, Rothschild. A public celebration of John’s life will be held at a later date. John's service will be made available for future viewing on Brainard Funeral Home’s website.
Our family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services and St. Therese Catholic Church.
Brainard Funeral Home and Cremation Center - Everest Chapel is assisting the family. Online condolences may be shared at www.brainardfuneral.com.