John Van Wie, 74, Wisconsin Dells

John Van Wie, 74, Wisconsin Dells

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WISCONSIN DELLS—John C. Van Wie, age 74, of Wisconsin Dells, Wis., passed from this earthly world into the hands of God on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at 11:00 a.m., at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, in Wisconsin Dells, with Father Eric Sternberg celebrating. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery, with full Military Honors provided by the American Legion Post #187 of Wisconsin Dells. Visitation will be held at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church on Friday, Jan. 24, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with Moments of Remembrance to be shared at 6:30 p.m. An additional visitation will be held on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service at 11:00 a.m.

John was born to Jack and Dorothy Van Wie on April 3, 1945 and lived his entire life in Wisconsin Dells. In July of 1967, John married the love of his life and soulmate, Joanne Amend of Portage, Wis. John was a man who cared deeply about his family, his faith, and his community and wholeheartedly dedicated his life to all three. He took to heart the phrase, “In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17 NIV.

The depth of John’s character and faith was inspired by his parents. John put his faith into action by helping those in need within and outside his community. John was a lifetime member of St. Cecilia Parish and was a leader there his entire adult life. He was a dedicated catechist for 35 years, and he served as an usher for 54 years. Among his many leadership roles, John served as the Chairman and Co-Chairman, for over 12 years, on the committee to develop the new St. Cecilia Catholic Church. He was also a leader throughout the Diocese of Madison serving as a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council. He and his wife Joanne were dear friends to all priests who served St. Cecilia and a special friend of the late Bishop Robert Morlino.

For 32 years, John owned and operated Dells Lumber & Construction with his wife Joanne. He also owned Del-Co Metal Buildings, as well as, Ace Hardware stores in Wisconsin Dells and Portage. Furthermore, John was founder and owner of Barrington Assisted Living in Wisconsin Dells.

Upon returning home from Vietnam, John began a transformational time of devotion to helping others and to numerous veteran, civic, and charitable causes important to him. He was passionate about his involvement in Easter Seals Wisconsin, where he served as Chairman of the Board, the Greg Van Wie Foundation, where he served as Trustee, and the American Legion Post #187, where he served as Commander. He was an active member of the Wisconsin Dells Rotary Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #9387, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 221, 4th Degree, and Past Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus, Columbia County Veterans Service Commission and the Portage Elks Club.

John truly exemplified what it means to be a leader putting one’s faith into action. Mary Uhler, editor of the Catholic Herald, wrote of him, “John has made and continues to make a difference in the lives of so many people in his community, his parish and the state. He exemplifies Catholic values of compassion and respect for all persons. He has served his country and is concerned with helping other veterans. He has a strong faith and is committed to sharing it with others in his parish and the community.”

John is survived by his beloved wife of 53 years, Joanne (Amend) Van Wie; four children, Suzi (Jeff) Ellington, Jeff (Ann Fornes) Van Wie, John B. (Melissa Cichy) Van Wie, and Joseph (Audra McKay) Van Wie; ten beloved grandchildren; his brother, Robert (Evelyn) Van Wie; his sisters, Elizabeth Wolfram and Mary Van Wie; and his sister-in-law, Paula Van Wie. He is also survived by many, many very dear nieces, nephews, godchildren, and countless friends. John was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, David and William; father-in-law, BJ Amend; mother-in-law, Jane Amend; brothers-in-law, Bill Amend, BJ Amend, and Clifford Wolfram; and sister-in-law, Sue Amend.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Legion Post #187 or St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church.

The Picha Funeral Home and Crematory of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin assisted the family with arrangements. For online condolences and information, go to

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