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Berton G. McEathron, 84, of Grey Cloud Island, passed away on June 28th, 2020, in St. Paul, MN. He was born February 12, 1936 in Holcombe, WI to Gayle and Anna (Luethi) McEathron.
One of eight children on the family farm, Bert was inventive, playful and mischievous growing up - then and always. After graduating from Holcombe High School in 1954, Bert served in the US Army as a Medical Specialist, stationed in Alaska. With an honorable discharge he attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, graduating with a degree in Mathematics and Physical Science. Soon afterward he began working at St. Paul Companies/Western Life Insurance Company, first as an underwriter and later in building management. It was there that he met the love of his life, Elisabeth Wille. They married in 1963 and were together for 57 years. Their dream property on Grey Cloud Island (on the Mississippi River) was the perfect location to raise a family, plant gardens, build a speedboat, create ice-skating rinks, take pontoon rides, tinker on contraptions, hold large family gatherings, and tee-off on one of three golf greens that dad maintained. We will always hold Grey Cloud in our hearts as a special place of adventure, exploration, and cherished family time.
Every summer there was a two-week road-trip to somewhere in the US, with journals and photos kept of every detail. One notable journey took us to sites mentioned in Bert’s great-grandfather’s Civil War memoirs. Our dad was (in)famous for rigging up “interesting” sleeping quarters in our travel vans and trailers (i.e. sketchy hammocks hanging from vehicle ceilings), which we found equally fascinating and terrifying. The bribe was that we each got to pick out a box of sugar cereal to bring along, a very rare treat. After retirement our parents enjoyed traveling to the Southern part of the US during the winter months, as well as taking trips to the Caribbean, Scotland and Alaska. Many additional happy memories were made spending time at the family cabin in Holcombe.
Bert was a founding member of the S.A.V.E. (Save A Valued Environment) Grey Cloud Association and served for years on the Grey Cloud Island Township Board. He was a dedicated and active member of All Saints Lutheran Church. His greatest joy after retirement was spending time with family, especially his two grandsons. Favorite pastimes were bowling and golfing, as well as building wooden toys and carving Santas.
If you've spent any time with the McEathron family, you know them to be great story-tellers. At gatherings you’ll always find the siblings sitting together sharing stories, usually about their childhood. This always leads to great outbursts of laughter, whether heard for the first or one hundredth time. We delight in these moments and look forward to hearing more about our dad’s exploits…and continuing to share our own stories of him. It is worth noting how close our dad and his siblings have always been to one another. They set the bar on integrity and honoring family with respect, and is something that we hold in very high regard.
Bert is survived by daughter Julie; son and daughter-in-law Peter and Mary Jane; grandsons Kylin and Kennan; siblings Jack (Nan) McEathron, Ruby Getting, Shirley Sillman, Jerry (Pat) McEathron, Paul (Ginny) McEathron; sister-in-law Dorothy McEathron; brother-in-law Ken Perdew; loving in-laws on Elisabeth's side; and many cherished cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents; wife Elisabeth; brother Lloyd; sister Betty; and brother-in-law Lee Getting.
The family will be forever grateful to the staff at Rakhma Joy House and Our Lady of Peace Hospice for their loving care and support of our dad (and mom too). We are heartbroken at the loss of both parents within months of each other, but are comforted knowing they are together now in Eternal Peace.
Service to be held at a later date. Memorials preferred to Rakhma Joy House.