82 years ago on November 13, 1935 an icon was born. Peter Alan David Adler of Durand, formerly of Eau Claire, died at home surrounded by family, November 25, 2017 from complications due to heart surgery at Luther Mayo.
Peter was the son of Ann Margaret (Tusken) and Peter John Adler. He was preceeded in death by sisters and brothers, Helen, John (Sadie), Dorothy (Fred Lindner), and Jim.
The legend starts in the “Bloody Ninth Ward” of Eau Claire, WI where he attended Sacred Heart, St. Patrick’s, and Regis High School. He was a football star for the Regis Ramblers and was later inducted into the Hall of Fame at Regis.
He spent many sunny summer days honing his swimming skills at Half Moon Beach. These skills would later aide him in vying to beat his children and grandchildren in pool races.
He attended UWEC, “The School of Excellence”, where he studied Social Studies. He was part of the championship football team and was inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame. He continued his education there and received his Master’s Degree in Broad Field Social Studies with his Thesis entitled, “Steamboat Navigation on the Chippewa River”.
Pete was part of the National Guard and was called up with the 32nd Division during the Berlin Crisis. He served time at Fort Lewis Washington.
He met the love of his life, Ellen Christina Diller, in Adler’s Bar when she stopped in for a quick beer after work at Luther Hospital. He told her on their first date that he planned on marrying her and the rest is history. On June 3, 1961, Pete and Ellen were married at St. Patrick’s Church in Eau Claire and from this union they were blessed with 6 children; Margaret (Jeff Hartung), Katie (Maria Timiraos) Adler, Ann (Dan Borgenheimer), Peter (Terri Pendergast) Adler, Jane (Greg Corning), Tom (Mark Byrum) Adler. He was always very proud of his children and taught them the values of respect, honesty, hard work, education, and strength in always doing what was right – these were values he modeled everyday.
In 1985, he became known as Papa when Brianne (Nathan Maier) Hartung was born. He was the very best Papa to her and Jordan (Megan Roughen) Corning, Jeffrey (Lauren Flinn) Hartung, Alex Hartung, Austin Goodrich, Abbie (Sam Livingston) Hartung, Makenzie Corning, Peter Adler, Hunter Adler, Kali Goodrich, Camryn Corning, Libby Adler and Robert, Ella, and Lily Borgenheimer. He was their biggest fan (next to Nana), attending almost all of their sporting events. He even came out of football coaching retirement to coach 6 winning seasons at Plum City High School with his two grandsons Jeffrey and Alex Hartung. He also trained the grandkids to bike, ski, and kayak. They went on many camping adventures and he taught them valuable life skills like pretending to take your finger off! Papa was always their hero and they were always his joy!
Anyone who has ever heard of Pete knows of his greatness as the Head Coach of the Durand Panthers. He was one of the most winning coaches in the state of Wisconsin, coaching his sons Peter and Tom. He was later inducted into the Coaches Hall of Fame in Madison, Wisconsin and his picture can be found at Camp Randall and in the atrium at Lambeau Field. He touched many lives on the field instilling sportsmanship, hard work, and passion for the game. He also coached basketball and golf and was a force on the court refereeing with Al Parker for 25 years.
When he wasn’t on the field you could find him in the classroom instilling knowledge of history, in the hopes of not repeating it. He loved being a part of helping his students grow academically. He spent 35 years at Durand High School. He always felt he had the best job working with kids and seeing them grow into successful young adults. Along with his love of teaching he spent almost 20 years proctoring the Advanced Placement Exam at Eau Claire Memorial.
Later in life he became politically involved with Pepin County government. He was on the Pepin County Board for 32 years and was chairman for many of those years. He worked hard to make sure he had a balanced budget which was equitable for all and he worked hard being open-minded to all ideas. He retired from the board in 2016.
Pete loved to take his annual winter trips to warmer places with Ellen and friends Deloyd and Arlyn Stertz. These trips did not include sitting on the beach but biking nearly 25 miles daily. They pulled their camper and camped in some of the most beautiful state parks. There were many heated games of pfeffer at the end of the night. Pete and Ellen also liked to cross country ski and kayak. They spent many Friday nights with friends Don, Leatrice, Deloyd, Arlyn, Marshall and Carol, looking for great fish fries.
Of course, he was a big Badger’s and Packer’s Fan and maybe a little unknown fact, a Patriot’s Fan. He was more a fan of Bill Belechick’s coaching abilities and Tom Brady’s quarterback skills. His number one quarterback though will always be Tom Bauer of the Durand Panthers.
He was also a strong member of his community both civic and religious. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Durand and was a member of the choir and distributed communion. He also became active in the financial literacy program at the Pepin County Jail, volunteering to help inmates gain skills to help them once they were released.
We would like to thank the staff at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire. The nurses and doctors went well above the grade in knowledge, skill, and compassion. His number one nurse though was his granddaughter, Mackenzie Corning, who was invaluable in helping family understand all the medical information and fight to get Papa the best care possible.
Pete will be honored in a celebration of life at the Durand High School Gym on Friday, December 1, 2017 from 5-9 pm and one hour before services at the church on Saturday. Student athletes can honor Pete by wearing their jerseys, letter jackets, or school colors. A funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at St. Mary’s Church Durand, WI at 10:00 AM. In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations in honor of Pete Adler to the Durand Education Foundation.
Rhiel Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Durand, is serving the family.