Salute to the community – friends and leaders lost

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A tough week for West Bend as the community lost a number of leaders who left definite legacies.


Last Saturday, March 5, R. Douglas Ziegler died at the age of 89; Virginia O’Meara passed the same day. Jan Petri died last Friday,

Bill Lutz died Monday, March 7. The West Bend Fire Department raised a huge flag in his honor outside St. John’s Lutheran Church prior to the service on Friday.

And on Friday, March 10 former Dick’s Pizza owner Dave Wolf died.


Jeffrey S Szukalski wrote, “The City of West Bend has taken a huge hit this week. Doug Ziegler, Virginia O’Meara and Dave Wolf along with Mr. Lutz just to name a few. What they meant to us and how they quietly made our town better. Dave Wolf never wanted any credit for what he did in Rotary, parades, church or anything else he donated to. Dave loved West Bend and his friends in town. Dave helped West Bend be one of the best towns in the world to live.”


So now the question – who in this community is stepping up to be part of the next wave of leaders?

“It’s not a question of money” – which someone said during visitation at one of the funerals this week, “It’s people giving back with their time and talents.”


Kevin Steiner said he moved to West Bend with his wife in 1994 and the first organization he joined was United Way. “Immediately I found out about Doug Ziegler,” Steiner said. “From that point forward every organization I touched had a stamp of Doug or Sharon Ziegler on it,” he said listing off the West Bend School Board, Riveredge, the Volunteer Center.  “The passion he had for this community was just amazing.”


During Virginia O’Meara’s funeral, her son Kevin O’Meara talked during the eulogy about the lessons learned from his mom.

“Virginia was a woman of faith and a woman who believed things would work out,” said Kevin.
“She was sneaky the way she taught lessons. She always took the opportunity to point out the people in our lives and in the community that were good examples of how to live. This included people from all backgrounds – instilling that success had more to do with living the Golden Rule than status or wealth. She taught us to give our time to volunteer and promoted giving to charity.
“She always stressed you can do it. Virginia was encouraging – told those she loved to feel good. She was a life coach and a mentor before you paid for it.

“Respect others, treat them fairly and judge them by merit.
“Poverty does not equate to ignorance and wealth should not be confused with virtue.”


I remember during Claudia Trzebiatowski’s funeral, her son gave the eulogy. “On your headstone you will find two dates, the day you were born and the day you die and in between there’s a dash – – and that’s your life. What are you going to do with it?”


So the question… who will step up and be our next community leaders – because we sure did lose a lot of good examples this week.

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