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Obituary: Vernon V. “Vern” Knoespel

Vernon V. “Vern” Knoespel, age 81, of Chilton, died on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at Willowdale Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Holstein. He was born June 21, 1941 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, son of the late Eldred & Aurelia (Hahn) Knoespel.



Vern was a 1959 graduate of Brillion High School and began working at Thiel Milk Products in St. John. He married Edith M. Jensen on May 4, 1963 in Malone, and while the happy couple were on their honeymoon, Vern proposed the notion of starting a distribution business to his new bride.


Upon their return and without hesitation, Vern’s Cheese became a reality on March 1, 1964. The early years while being established next to a church led to many wonderful and colorful stories. As the business grew, Vern’s Cheese moved to Twain Road to accommodate the additional space needed and eventually transitioned back to Chilton where Vern’s life and business continued to grow.


He was a member of Ebenezer United Church of Christ where he served on the council and the president of the congregation twice. He was also an avid member of the Forest Junction and Ebenezer II dartball teams for over 50 years. He was also a member of the Jaycee’s and proudly belonged to the Chilton Chamber of Commerce and was named Citizen of the Year in 2010 along with his wife, Edith. With a mindset toward his community, Vern’s Cheese sponsored numerous softball teams throughout the area since the early 70’s and served on the Wisconsin Cheese & Specialty Food Association where he was honored as Member of the Year in1992. He served on the Community Bank & Trust board, was an active member of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, Wisconsin Grocer’s Association, & the Wisconsin Tavern League and helped serve for the New Hope Center both on their Board of Directors and as their president.


For all of his accomplishments in his life, nothing brought Vern more joy and happiness than being with his friends, and especially his family. He was always willing to share a good story, offer a hearty laugh, or sell cheese to anyone who had the smallest amount of time to listen. Trips up north with his family and those he loved brought joy to his life and memories for everyone who would join him.


Survivors include his wife: Edith; his children: Kelly (Wayne) Kress, Kurt (Madelynn) Knoespel, Kari (Mark) Meyers, Kristi (Randy) Schnell; 5 grandchildren and 1 step grandchild: Jarrid (Shannon) Kress, Jordan Kress and his fiancée, Kaylie Sorenson, Tiffany Knoespel, Tyler See and his special friend, Lindsey Kohlman, Samantha Meyers, Ryan Schnell; 4 great grandchildren and 1 step great grandchild: Evelyn & Easton Kress, Henrik Halverson, Oliver & Wyatt Porsche; a sister: Germaine Zahn; a sister-in-law: Elaine Hessil; and a nephew and Godson: Brian Zahn. He is further survived by other relatives and friends.


Vern was preceded in death by his parents; his in-laws: Arno & Mildred Jensen; a step grandson: Christopher; a brother: Floyd Knoespel; and his brothers-in-law: Randy Zahn & Jim Hessil.


Funeral service will be at 11:30 am on Saturday, January 14, 2023 at Ebenezer United Church of Christ (44 W. Washington) in Chilton. Burial will follow in the Hillside Cemetery in Chilton. Friends may call at the Wieting Family Funeral Home (411 W. Main St.) in Chilton from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm on Friday, January 13, 2023 and on Saturday at the church from 10:00 am until 11:15 am. Those wishing to watch a livestream or archived recording of the service, view a memorial video or see flowers and gifts given to the family may do so by visiting wietingfuneralhome.com and follow the links.


A memorial fund has been established in the name of Vernon V. “Vern” Knoespel.


The family would also like to thank the staff at Willowdale Health and Rehabilitation Center and Calumet County Hospice for their love and kindness while taking care of Vern.

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