WHITEWATER — Carl J. Kienbaum, 90, of Whitewater, died peacefully at Hearthstone Memory Care with his family by his side on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.
He was born on Nov. 24, 1929, the second youngest of nine children of Carl and Bessie (Doud) Kienbaum in Whitewater.
Carl married Lila June Reich on Oct. 10, 1953, in Dubuque, Iowa.
He left the family farm at the age of 17 to join the United Sates Air Force where he proudly served as a weatherman.
Carl returned to Whitewater to pursue greater ambitions, never being satisfied as a man of one hat. He drove a milk route, delivered fuel oil, and owned a used car lot, taxicab company and service station.
Ever forward-looking, Carl eventually went into the auto and scrap industry, where he found his true calling and would make his mark, creating a pillar for the community which exists to this day. For nearly 60 years, “Take it to Kienbaum’s” has been a part of the city’s vernacular.
It was through Kienbaum Iron and Metal that many would come to know Carl. Where many would gain their first impressions, as well as their lasting impressions. It is said that a man is judged by the company he keeps. We hope for Carl’s sake this is not true; Carl kept everyone.
A truly generous spirit, Carl’s door or table always was open to anyone, regardless. The kind of person who when asked to make change for a dollar would give you five quarters, or better yet, in his words: “Charge it to the dust and let the rain settle it.”
He never lost his love for the family farm and went back to farming as a hobby in the late ’80s. Carl set yet another first by being the first in Walworth County to raise tobacco. Everyone who knew Carl, knew he loved a good party. Ask any supper club owner in a 50-mile radius and they will attest to this with a smile.
Carl was a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
He is survived by eight children, April Furman of Whitewater, Linda (Ron) Bohlender of Roscoe, Ill., Cherie (John) Ells of Fort Atkinson, Carl (Brenda) Kienbaum of North Fond du Lac, Dawn D. Kienbaum of Whitewater, Sterling (Rhonda) Kienbaum of Oshkosh, Ben (Dawn) Kienbaum of Sussex and Rommel Kienbaum of Whitewater.
Carl was blessed with 12 loving grandchildren, Robert Ardelt, Nicole (Greg) Leason, Ross (Anette) Ardelt, JC (Michaun) Ells, Nolan (Emily) Ells, Carl Jr. Kienbaum, Chelsea Kienbaum, Jenna Kienbaum, Derek Kienbaum, Jared Kienbaum, Bryce Kienbaum and Lexie Kienbaum; and five great-grandchildren, Cash, Cooper, Elizabeth, Bentley and Harrison.
He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings; his lovely wife of over 50 years, June (Reich) Kienbaum; a beloved daughter, Mariann Kienbaum; and son in-law, George Furman.
The Kienbaum family would like to express their sincere gratitude both to Hearthstone Memory Care and Agrace Hospice staff for their comforting professional care they provided to Carl during his final days with us.
Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a memorial gift to First English Lutheran Church or Hearthstone Memory Care, both of Whitewater.
Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at Nitardy Funeral Home, 550 N. Newcomb St., Whitewater.
Visitation will be held at the funeral home on Friday, Sept. 11, from 4 to 7 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until the time of service.
Burial will follow at Hillside Cemetery.
Carl’s life was well lived, and he was well loved. We were honored to have been able to “shake the hand that shook the world” and to know, “it takes a big dog to weigh a ton” … See you in a round trip, Dad. We will miss you!