CWS U.S. Army Ret. Vilas John Kolberg (Butch), reported for duty to his
Commander-in- Chief in heaven in the pre dawn hours of Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012.
He was surrounded by his beloved Kolberg Klan.
Butch, as he was known to family and friends, was born in Appleton, Wisc., on June 27, 1936 to Ernest and Augusta (Malessa) Kolberg of Appleton. He joined the military on June 29, 1952, and retired with honors on June 30, 1973. While in the military, he earned an Associates Degree and achieved the rank of CW3 USA. Butch received several medals, badges and citations - the highest being the Bronze Star as a member of the 82nd Airborne Unit and 7th Special Forces in Ft. Bragg, N.C.
Butch was diagnosed with lung cancer on Mar. 16, 2012, linked to Agent Orange exposure during his tours served in Korea and Viet Nam.
Upon retiring, the Kolberg family moved to Two Harbors, Minn., where Butch worked at Reserve Mining in Silver Bay, Minn., for 10 years and then for the City of Two Harbors, as manager of the Lakeview National Golf Clubhouse and the Burlington Bay Campground.
On Oct. 8, 1955 while stationed at Ft. Carson, Colo., he met Elsie Saaristo Kolberg. They were married in Raton, N.M., and would have celebrated 57 years of togetherness on Oct. 8, 2012. Their union presented the world with “The Kolberg Kids” beginning on Mar. 29 , 1958 with Jolynn Detlefsen(Michael) followed by Nancy Flynn (Tim) on May 1, 1959, Wendy Aro (Dave) on Aug. 9, 1960, and Theodore Kolberg (Jeanne)on Nov. 23, 1961. Grandchildren arrived with Sylas (Tina) Walker on July 6, 1980, Clayton, Brittany (Billy), Anna Detlefsen, Dustin (Amy )Aro, Christopher Aro, Kelsie (Jim) Karna, Sarah and Nicholas Flynn, with Conner and Evan Kolberg, as the finale.
Great-grand- children are Alden Beck, David Puent, Emma and Olivia Walker, Liam Karna, and Layten and Gabrielle Burhans.
Butch was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, the VFW, the American Legion, the Minnesota Disabled Veterans group, Fortitude Lodge, Emera Chapter of Two Harbors and the Retired Officers Association.
He loved golf, bowling and in his earlier years’ boxing and men’s softball-- where he took several awards in each sport. Hunting was Butch’s passion throughout life. His shelf of trophies and deer racks marked his skill (and competitive nature).
Butch was preceded in death by an infant son Tim, his parents, his mother and father-in-law, Edwin and Edna Saaristo, his brother Merlin Kolberg and son-in-law, Tim Flynn. He is survived by his loving wife Elsie Eleanor, his children and their families, four brothers and four sisters.
A graveside family service was held on Wednesday complete with military Honor Guard at the Lakeview Cemetery. Butch’s celebration of life for family and friends will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. at the Grace Baptist Church with a luncheon following the service at the Lakeview National Golf Course from 1-3 p.m. To sign the online guestbook, please visit www.cavallinfuneralhome.com