Earl Wilmer Schoen, a member of the Greatest Generation who proudly served his country during World War II, passed away Saturday, July 3. He was 94, a month shy of celebrating his 95th birthday.
Earl was born Aug. 7, 1926, on a farm in Humboldt, Wis., to the late George and Josephine Horkman Schoen. As a teenager, he often told his parents, “I am going to be in this war!” Earl’s father took him to enlist in the US Marine Corps in 1943. He was 17.
A lanky 120 pounds, Earl proudly told the story of how he ate enough bananas to quickly gain five pounds to meet Marine Corps weight requirements. He served in the South Pacific for two and a half years on Palau Island.
He returned from battle and secured a low-interest loan through the G.I. Bill to build a house on the east side of Green Bay. He married the love of his life, Evelyn Woitula Schoen, on Feb. 23, 1952, at St. Philip the Apostle church.
The couple raised their four children and numerous foster children in the home he built. It was Earl’s home until he died. For years, he had a giant garden in the backyard, sharing produce with family and friends.
Earl sang with his wife in the St. Philip choir for many years. He enjoyed his log cabin in Thunder Mountain where he spent many years hunting and trout fishing with his family. He started his career as an optician with Bausch & Lomb Optical before retiring from WOS Optical in 1990.
He spent his retirement playing the penny slots at Oneida Casino, watching westerns and Gunsmoke, spending Sundays at family cookouts and playing cards nightly with his wife.
Survivors include his wife and best friend, Evelyn Schoen; daughter Vicki and Dan VanEgeren; son James Schoen; daughter-in-law Marion (Dolly) Schoen; six grandchildren Jessica VanEgeren (Andrew Manis), Clint VanEgeren (Julia Bach), Ashley VanEgeren, Blake VanEgeren, Travis (Brianna) and Autumn Schoen; great-granddaughters Lola; great-grandsons Matthew, Mason and Madden; foster children Rhonda Schmit, Kristen Thirion and Ronald Reiter; foster granddaughter Kristy Thirion; and foster great-granddaughter Willow.
He was preceded in death by his son David Schoen, daughter Valerie (Michael) Schaefer and foster son, Ronald Vincent.
The youngest of seven children, Earl also was preceded in death by his siblings and their spouses. This includes: George (Lila) Schoen, Lawrence (Germaine) Schoen, Robert (Dorothy) Schoen, Antone (Clara Schmidt) Schoen, Marvin (Norma) Schoen and Gladys (Frank “Duke” ) Whipp; brothers- and sisters-in-law: Joseph (Peggy) Woitula, Irene (Richard) Zolper, Ray (Carol) Woitula, Richard (Jeanne) Woitula, Carl Woitula; and nephews and nieces Scott Zolper, Rick Zolper, Monica Woitula, Kim Woitula, Shirley Whipp, Bonnie Whipp Tremel, David Schoen, Russell Whipp and Bill Whipp.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 8, 2021 at St. Philip the Apostle Parish from 9 am to 11 am with a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 with full military honors to follow. Earl will be laid to rest at Nicolet Memorial Gardens.
The family is grateful and would like to thank Unity Hospice for the quality care Earl received at the end of his life. He died peacefully in his sleep, with family by his side.