Obituary of Wayne P. Hochmuth

Wayne P. Hochmuth, 87, of Wisconsin Rapids, died peacefully on Friday, May 10, 2019 at The Waterford of Wisconsin Rapids.

As per his wishes, there will be a private family service, with a public celebration of his life at a later date. Herman-Taylor Funeral Home is honored to be assisting the family. Online condolences may be expressed at www.taylorfuneralhome.net.

Our father subscribed to the belief that you lead by example. His dedication as a business executive drove him to do his best to support and mentor employees, for whom he was truly grateful. His zest for sports fueled an active and engaged life, with the family participating in tennis, skiing, racquetball and canoeing. His commitment to the community led him to ongoing involvement in many central Wisconsin civic and business organizations, including the YMCA Board of Directors, the McMillan Library Board, the Chamber of Commerce, the UW-Stevens Point Foundation, Bull’s Eye Country Club tennis committee, the Heart of Wisconsin Ski Club, and the Packs & Paddles canoeing and kayaking club, which he co-founded. At home, he was an avid reader, loved discussing politics and economics, grilled perfectly charred steaks, and enjoyed listening to his vast library of music. In his later years, he taught himself to use a computer, which dovetailed nicely with his new hobby of photography.

Born November 24, 1931, in Chicago, the son of Alfred M. and Mildred (Cadman) Hochmuth, Wayne lived his early years in a multi-generational home of German immigrants. In a StoryCorps recording, he reminisced about his younger years on the streets of Chicago. As many Chicago families did during the summer, his escaped the heat of the big city by living in northern Wisconsin. His fond memories of summers in Lakewood led him to own a home in Biron on the Wisconsin River for many years.

Wayne graduated as a cadet officer from St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, WI in June of 1950. He then attended the University of Illinois, Drake University, and Northwestern University.  In 1952, he married Lou Wadsworth of Evanston, IL, with whom he raised four children over their 30-year marriage.

Like many in his generation, his years of education were interrupted by service during the Korean conflict. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from March of 1954 to March of 1956, participating in Operation Sagebrush, the largest stateside maneuver since World War II. Following his service, he earned an MBA in finance in 1959, having been awarded the first U.S. Steel Foundation Fellowship at Northwestern. Following graduation, he pursued post-graduate work in economics.

Wayne was born into a family-owned construction company, so he learned the building trade, especially bricklaying. Those skills helped support his educational efforts and family responsibilities and resulted in a lifelong appreciation of a good day’s hard work. During later college years, he served as a research assistant, writing case studies for Northwestern’s Business School. Following graduation, he worked for several consulting firms, including extensive work for the space technology division of NASA during the early phase of the man-on-the-moon project. He was honored to be at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL during one of the early rocket launches.

In 1966, he moved his family to Wisconsin Rapids to join Consolidated Papers, Inc. as Manager of Corporate Planning. He ultimately became the General Manager and Vice President of Consoweld Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of CPI. He was also named President of Consoweld Distributors, Inc., a national distributor of decorative laminates and other building materials. Upon his retirement in 1986, he returned to consulting, establishing his own firm. He also became President of Primewood Inc., of Wahpeton, ND, and later, manager of the Wisconsin Rapids Area Business Incubator, Inc. He also was an instructor at MSTC.

Wayne is survived by his two daughters: Patricia (Ken) Bice of Verona, WI and Cheryl (Steve) Ylvisaker, of Minneapolis, MN; his two sons: Alfred (Nancy) Hochmuth of Germantown, WI and Marc Hochmuth of Chicago, IL; his former wife, Lou Crosby of Montreal, WI; and his brother, Alfred (Pam) Hochmuth of Colorado Springs, CO; his six grandchildren: Kevin Bice of Verona, WI; Kinsey Bice of Seattle, WA; Heidi Ylvisaker of Minneapolis, MN; Gabriele (Tom) Salfer of Thiensville, WI; and Samantha Hochmuth and Hunter Hochmuth of Germantown, WI; he is further survived by many cousins, nieces, and nephews. In addition to his parents, Wayne is preceded in death by numerous aunts and uncles.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wisconsin Rapids Family Center, the South Wood County YMCA, or Heartland Hospice of Stevens Point.