David Paul Wilhelm
David Paul Wilhelm, age 84, of Shell Knob, Missouri, passed away on Saturday, 11 April 2020.
David was born on 10 June 1935 in Baden, St. Louis, Missouri, the second son to Carl and Helen (Schmidt) Wilhelm. His family sold their retail business in St. Louis when David was 17 and moved to Black River Falls, Wisconsin to run a dairy farm. At this same age, he enlisted in the United States Army National Guard. While living in Black River Falls, David met and married the love of his life Annabelle Ripp. They were married in Alma Center, Wisconsin on October 19th, 1957. In 1961, he was activated for duty during the Berlin Crisis. After the family’s return from Germany in 1966, they settled in Hatfield, Wisconsin and purchased the Palm’s Supper Club. David and Annabelle owned and operated the restaurant for 9 years. At this point, David returned to school and obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Master’s degree from Ball State University. He was also a graduate of the United States Army War College. David thrived on learning and always pushed to be his best.
David spent the majority of his adult life in public service. He served 37 years in the Army National Guard, which included 20 years of active service and a tour in Vietnam. David was the recipient of 3 Purple Hearts, 3 Meritorious Service Medals and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, along with countless others. He also held numerous positions within the community, to include the BRF School Board, several county boards, Stone County 911, and 30 years of service to the Central Crossing Fire Protection District.
After retiring as a Colonel from the Wisconsin National Guard, David and Annabelle moved to their final home in Shell Knob, Missouri in 1989. David’s many interests included camping, fishing, woodworking and reading. Faith and family were always his priority. He loved travelling with Annabelle in their various motorhomes to visit with family and friends, regardless of the location or weather conditions. He always made sure Annabelle and his family were well taken care of.
David is preceded in death by his wife Annabelle (Ripp) Wilhelm and his daughter Pamela (Wilhelm) Beisner. David is survived by his daughters, Paula Wilhelm, Pauline (Wilhelm) Lehman and husband Douglas, Patrice (Wilhelm) Thompson and husband Scott, his son-in-law Bruce Beisner, his grandchildren Brett (Thompson) Machamer, Brooks and Bailey Thompson, Paige and Kelsey Lehman, and Kim Beisner, and his siblings Carl Wilhelm and wife Shirley, Edward Wilhelm and wife Janet, Evelyn (Wilhelm) Sandvick and husband RC, and James Wilhelm and wife Nancy.
David always stated that the two best decisions he made in his life were to join the National Guard and to marry Annabelle. He will be immensely missed by his family, who he loved and cared for so dearly.
A memorial service for David will be planned at a later date. Arrangements are under direction of Fohn Funeral Home in Shell Knob. Contributions may be made in memory of David to Central Crossing Fire District, P.O. Box 86, Shell Knob, MO 64757.
Visit www.fohnfuneralhome.com for online obituaries, guestbook and private condolences.