Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Bay dedicates memorial to veterans

by Chris Schultz

May 30, 2013

WILLIAMS BAY — Capt. Israel Williams probably would have approved.

On Memorial Day, Williams Bay’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2373 dedicated a new memorial in Edgewater Park to village residents who served in the nation’s armed forces since World War I.

The three granite-faced steles are near the memorial stone at the base of the flag pole at Edgewater, and bear 306 names of Williams Bay veterans. Many returned from their service, some did not.

Post Commander Don Weyhrauch gave the dedication speech, extolling the virtues of the men and women who leave their civilian lives to serve overseas, protecting their nation.

The Rev. Jean Wallenfang of the United Church of Christ, Williams Bay, gave the invocation. VFW Post 2372 Senior Vice Commander Wayne Ruhlin laid the memorial wreath.

Before the ceremony, Weyhrauch said there are a few names that need to be added and few that need to have their spellings corrected, but the memorial is substantially complete.

He said about 20 or so more names need to be added to the memorial. Instead of crowding the names onto the existing stones, the post plans to add two smaller stones to either side of the three larger ones, he said.

Surrounding the flag pole and providing a walk way to the steles are pavers either 4-by-8 inches or 8-by-8 inches purchased by residents and inscribed with the names of relatives and friends who served.

Sale of the pavers helped pay for the $10,000 memorial, along with donations and contributions from local residents.

“We didn’t ask for a single taxpayer dollar,” Weyhrauch said.

The new wall is inspired by an earlier wall.

A whitewashed wooden wall, put up shortly after World War II, also stood in Edgewater Park, near the fire station.

It bore the names of all those who served in World War II and some who served in the World War I.

The wooden wall fell to time, wear and tear and lack of adequate repair.

In addition to the local donations, the Williams Bay memorial also received donations of manhours and material from area businesses, Weyhrauch said.

Jacobs Concrete Co., Lake Geneva, donated the concrete.

K&G Concrete, Williams Bay, made the forms, excavated the site and poured the concrete. Ketterhagen Memorials, Elkorn, did the granite work and Creative Brick, Sturtevant, did the engraving and installation of the pavers. One name not on the memorial is Williams’. Capt. Williams served in the War of 1812, well before World War I.

Originally from Connecticut, Williams came to Geneva Lake in 1839 and settled in what is now Williams Bay in 1838 with his family of seven sons. Williams lent his name to the bay and the village. His home was where Edgewater Park is now.

Those still wishing to donate can mail checks to the Williams Bay VFW, PO Box 964, Williams Bay, 53191.