Wayne A. Vorpahl, age 98, of Green Bay, passed away peacefully at home while holding his wife’s hand on Friday, the 26th of February. Born in Green Bay on December 20, 1922 to Leo and Rose (Daul) Vorpahl.
Wayne had a love for sports that began at an early age when he participated and competed in sports of all kinds at the Green Bay parks. His competitive spirit was fueled when he placed first in a Marble Championship. It was just the start of many more championship wins in other competitions. While attending East High he was first string guard in basketball earning two letters and earned three letters in singles and doubles tennis. As a junior he found a new sport that he would continue playing until he was 96- Golf. After high school, the love of sports continued when he went on to win five City Tennis Championships and in 1984 he was inducted into the Brown County Tennis Hall of Fame. To further hone his golf skills, he joined Shorewood Golf Club and later became a long time, beloved member of Oneida County Club where he caddied as a young man and later played in and won many club championships. He was especially proud when he and Sue won the 1990 Mr. & Mrs. Tournament at eight under par.
Wayne served as a Sergeant in the United States Army and served in World War II as a member of the 451st Bomb Group. During WWII he was drafted and became a Radio Operator for the Army Air Corp stationed in Italy where he flew 27 missions before he was honorably discharged.
In 1947 he married Blanche Smith and together they raised a family of five children until her death in 1976.
In 1950 Wayne became an entrepreneur and started his own company, W.A. Vorpahl. For five years he sold and serviced fire extinguishers from his home. His brother Marv was his first salesman. Over the years safety equipment became the major focus. In the 1990’s after seeing his company expand to 30 employees and be a successful family owned business serving the entire state of Wisconsin with fire and safety products, he decided to retire and move on to the next chapter.
He and Sue wintered in Florida and traveled throughout the States visiting their children in Seattle, Arizona and California. They visited every state except Maine and Alaska. He truly enjoyed visiting Linda and Ernie in Monterey because he was able to golf the courses on the Monterey Peninsula especially Pebble Beach.
Wayne had a special place in his heart for his hometown of Green Bay. He was active in the community and belonged to numerous organizations including the Elks Club, Optimist Club and Knights of Columbus.
In later years he enjoyed crossword puzzles, Sodoku, reminiscing and telling stories of his childhood, golfing, watching all sports on TV especially the Cubs, Blackhawks and Green Bay Packers.
Wayne always greeted you with a warm smile and an exceptional hug. He had such a positive presence and was truly a warm and gentle man. He will be missed by all that love him and by the many lives that he touched.
Survivors include his wife, Sue; her children: Jodi (Kurt) Semandel, Stacey Koch (Tom Stolzenburg) and Nathan (Joanne) Koch; grandchildren: Luc, Alec and Jacques Semandel, Ernst and Flora Stolzenburg, Moriah and Grayson Koch; great-grandchildren: Marina and Cedric. He is furthered survived by his children: Linda (Ernie) Paulowski, Craig (Mary) Vorpahl, Kent Vorpahl, Brian (Lisa) Vorpahl, and Jill (Mark) Schumacher; grandchildren: Kevin Blaney, Kerry (Mike) Meinel, Moira (Ed) Rossi, Erin (James) McDonald, Collette (Mike) Moriarity, Jason Vorpahl, Chris Vorpahl, Kristin Vorpahl, Nick Vorpahl (special friend Brittany Escobar), Maureen (Nate) Wery, Stephen Schumacher (special friend Andrea Russell), Anna (Frank) Tanner, Lily Schumacher and Lisa Paulowski; great-grandchildren: Isabelle, Ethan, Autumn, Lauren, Madison, Natalie, Gavin, Emi, Micaela, Olivia, Ella, Everett, Quinn, and Vera. In addition, Wayne is survived by his nephew and godson Brad Vorpahl.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Marv, sister-in-law Dorothy and first wife, Blanche.
A private service for his family will be held at St. Matthew’s Catholic Community with Fr. Bob Kabat and Ann Froelich.