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Wilbur "Wil" Joseph Mueller

November 21, 1930 February 5, 2018
Wilbur "Wil" Joseph Mueller
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Obituary for Wilbur "Wil" Joseph Mueller

Wil Mueller age 87
Our dad grew up on a family farm in the small town of Delphos, Ohio. From what little he told me of it, I knew it was not an easy life. He was the oldest of 5 children. He had 3 brothers, Tom, Dave, and Dan and one sister, Mary Ellen. He was raised in Catholic schools in Delphos until enlisting in the Air Force during the Korean War. Dad was stationed in Germany and it was there he met and married my mother, Inge.

After the war, they returned to Ohio; my mom to get used to the American way of life, my dad to attend the University of Toledo and begin the long, hard struggle of supporting a family. For a time they lived in a tiny apartment above a Chinese restaurant. My dad sold Encyclopedia Britannica’s door to door to make ends meet. Dad originally intended to become a dentist like his Uncle Doc, but he told me the first time he saw Uncle Doc pull a tooth he knew he wasn’t cut out for that, and so he decided to become a businessman instead.

Our father did graduate from the University of Toledo with a degree in Business Administration and for as long as I can remember worked for either Blue Cross Blue Shield or Phoenix Mutual Insurance. I have some very early and quite wonderful memories of our time in Ohio with my dad’s family. I remember helping Aunt Mary Ellen make ice cream and bake cookies in her great big kitchen. I remember going to the bank with Uncle Jim. I thought he was incredibly smart. The barbeques at Uncle Tom and Carolyn’s house were so much fun. I was always a little afraid of Tom because he had a deep, gruff voice. I loved Carolyn. Like me, she was a caregiver. I remember how she took such good care of Grandma Marcy. I can vividly recall every room in Grandma Marcy’s red brick house in Delphos and that she always had Honeycomb cereal in the cupboard.

When the 3 of us were very young – in grade school, I think – my dad was transferred to Denver. And here we all are – back here today.

I can’t imagine a man who worked harder or took better care of his family than our dad. Professionally, he became an accomplished businessman with Phoenix Mutual earning the prestigious CLU designation and was the top producer nationwide as a group insurance executive for 3 consecutive years. Dad was organized and meticulous down to the smallest detail, which no doubt contributed to his professional success. It was a trait he definitely passed down.

But in my mind what made our dad so special was his dedication to us, his children. He was not one to hand out hugs and kisses, and until the last 5 years or so, he rarely even said ‘I love you’. But there was never any doubt how much he loved us. It showed in everything he did.

When Greg had a paper route and it rained or snowed, Dad would get up at 4 am and drive him. On his first job as a busboy downtown, Dad would take him each day and then pick him up after work late at night. During Greg’s basketball career, Dad never missed a game in either high school or college— he even attended practices in high school until they finally kicked him out. He put in endless hours coaching his grade school basketball team. Dad had tremendous pride in his son.

Julie recalls that her friends were always scared of Dad because he was very tall, stern looking, and a man of few words. Most people would be surprised to learn that our mom was the disciplinarian in the family. Actually, Dad was a very cool dad, even once buying Julie 4 kegs of beer for a high school ‘kegger’ at our old house on Fillmore St. Today he certainly would have been arrested for this, but it was a different time then. In the Mueller house, drinking beer was a tradition (after all, we are German) and Dad supervised and certainly taught us how to drink responsibly.

As for me, dad taught me everything I needed to know to get by in this world. Before I left for college, he made me jack up the car and rotate every single tire. He showed me how to balance my checkbook. And to this day, I still do it the exact same way! And if it’s a penny off, I usually find it. He taught me how not to be taken advantage of in business. Since I’ve been alone in my home for a number of years, he showed me how to do many things, like drain the sprinkler system. In fact, I still have the piece of paper with his hand-written step-by-step directions that I pull out every year. For my birthday one year, he bought me a gas-powered trimmer so I didn’t have to drag the cord around when I trimmed my lawn. He was nothing, if not practical. On nights the temperature was going to dip below 0, Dad would always call on the phone to remind me to leave my cabinet door slightly ajar and the faucet at a trickle. This is how my dad loved, cared for, and protected me and showed his undying love.

Our dad would fix anything, for anyone of us, anytime we needed it. All we had to do is mention something wasn’t working right and he would show up the next day with his toolbox in hand. When a windstorm blew down my fence, he had my son, Eric, out there the very next day pounding metal stakes into the ground to brace it and get it standing upright again.
From what I could tell, my dad had two things he really loved to do. Golf and fishing with his brothers. He looked forward to those epic fishing trips with Dave and Dan on the lake in Minnesota. My brother said he went along once and couldn’t begin to keep up with them – in either the drinking or fishing category! Dad would bring home these huge packages of crappies. Mom made her famous German potato salad and we’d all get together for a big fish fry.

After he retired, Dad still liked to work to keep busy. He worked for a time at Home Depot. Later, he took a part-time job at South Suburban Golf Course as a golf ranger. When my oldest son, Ryan, was 14 he helped him get a job at the golf course, too. They would play a round, putt, or sometimes hit balls together. Dad finally had to give up golf due to his severely arthritic back.

Our parents had given us everything we ever needed: a great education, love, support and involvement in every stage of our lives and our children’s lives, always there for us when we needed advice or perspective or a little extra money. As they got older, it was now our privilege to take care of them.

Our mom became frail more quickly than Dad. He took care of her the best he could for many years, making sure she ate and took her pills while also trying to maintain the upkeep on their home. Finally, it became clear they must move. It was a difficult transition at first, but strangely they seemed incredibly happy. I think for the first time they truly realized how much they loved and depended on one another. It was like they had joined forces to fight off the ravages of age. Mom and Dad were married for 61 years, but from the outside looking in, these seemed, to me, to be the happiest years of their lives.

Our mom passed away 2 ½ years ago after suffering back-to-back strokes. Dad was lost and lonely ever since. It was hard for him to interact with people due to his extreme hearing loss. Mom used to do the talking for him. Once when I was on the phone with her, I asked her to ask Dad a question for me. She did, but she screamed it at him. I said, “Mom, please don’t yell at Dad!” She answered me back, “I have to scream at him, Susie, he’s deaf!” That’s not really true, she just liked yelling at him.

We visited Dad every week. Julie took him out to lunch when he was still able to go and helped him with insurance and other business matters. I had supper with him every Saturday evening, did laundry, and managed most of his medical needs. Greg frequently took him to get his hearing aids adjusted and we all shared in doing the shopping and taking him to and from his doctors’ appointments.

I looked forward to Saturdays and spending time with Dad. I never really talked to him or knew him until we had these afternoons together. One time when I was sewing a button on a pair of pants for him he asked me how often I thought of Mom. I started to cry and answered, “All the time.” I asked him the same question and he said, “I think about your Mom every single day.”

Dad would take a nap after lunch so I would always show up around 3. He would usually still be asleep in his bedroom, so I would start the laundry then take off my shoes and lay on the sofa to rest. When he would awaken he would look around the corner to see if I was there and then he’d get this big smile on his face. God, how I loved that. Every Saturday, he’d do the same thing again. I couldn’t wait to see that smile. No matter how weak or sick he got, I always felt safe and protected when I was with Dad, like I was home again.
So, in closing, I’d like to share my version of a prayer with you.

Dad, we thank God your suffering is now over. May you be happily reunited with Mom in Heaven. Perhaps you two can go paragliding again or take another canoe trip down the Amazon. Dad, you have taught us well, provided for us well, and loved us well. Please know how deeply we loved and appreciated you. We recognize the worry and sacrifices you made for us. We are sorry for any heartache we may have caused. We know that you were proud of us, but know that we were twice as proud of you. You were our pillar of strength, a presence among men. We will treasure and keep the Mueller name strong, proud, and true – in your honor. You were a good man, a good son, a good brother, a good husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. You led a good life. There is nothing more to worry about, Dad. We’ll take it from here, just like you taught us. We will remember you always. It’s now time to rest. You deserve it. May you rest in peace, my dear sweet Daddy. Rest in peace. Amen.

-Written with by Susie (Mueller) Mitchell
-Personal anecdotes provided by Greg Mueller & Julie Mueller Perla

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Previous Events

Service

Thursday

22

Feb

11:00 AM 2/22/2018 11:00:00 AM - 12:00 PM 2/22/2018 12:00:00 PM
St. Thomas More Catholic Church

8035 South Quebec Street
Centennial, CO 80112

Funeral Mass with reception following in the Padre.

St. Thomas More Catholic Church
8035 South Quebec Street Centennial 80112 CO
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Chapel Hill Cemetery Final Resting Place

6601 South Colorado Boulevard
Centennial, CO 80121

6601 South Colorado Boulevard Centennial 80121 CO
United States
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