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Peter A. D. Adler

Peter A. D. Adler

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.


  1. markbrommer

    I had Pete Adler as a freshman for history,on game days hed be all fired up for the nights game.His best game i remember was when Durand football Beat Mondovi in o.t in Mondovi 27-24. and the Mondovi fans booed him outta mondovi. Rest in peice Coach.

  2. Eugene Laschinger

    Hi Ellen and Family,

    Julie and I are very sorry about your loss of Peter. He really was a great person as everyone has indicated. I only played for him one year and never had Pete as teacher but I always felt he was a very approachable person and was always willing to chat. I feel that my best memories about Pete was later in life when I came back home to see my mother. During these visits, you and Pete treated my mom with the greatest respect, and I really appreciated that more than you can think. The other times when I had discussion with Pete was when I stopped at the court house to see my sister Nancy. Many times we had discussions, but one time we must have talked about politics for about 1 1/2 hours, it was very enjoyable if you can find talking politics enjoyable. I will always remember him and you. Again, sorry about your loss and you have our sympathy and prayers.

  3. Tom and Mary Jean Schiefelbein

    Dear Ellen and family: Tom and I were so sorry to read in the Courier Wedge that Pete had passed away..He was such a good person and friend..We remember the great times we have had together and also sharing the same wedding date and being Peter's godparents..May God bless all of you at this time and Ellen you are blessed to have so many of your children close by for support..Take care, Mary Jean and Tom

  4. Jami J Green Calla

    Hold your fondest memories of your husband, father, Grandpa, PaPa, and friend.
    For those are truly yours forever......

    Sincerely, Jami Callan

  5. Gary & Judi Bauer

    Thinking of you at this time Ellen and family
    Sending our sympathy to you and your family.

  6. Becky & Tommy Lisiecki

    Uncle Peter will be missed. My heart & and prayers are with you all. He is now in Jesus' arms. Please try and take comfort in that.
    Love Becky

  7. Liz Gifford Jensen

    To the Adler Family--I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of Pete. I knew him many years ago as my social studies teacher, my brother Steve's football coach and my friend Jane's dad. He always had a kind word and a laugh to remember. His commitment to his community, family and students will leave a lasting legacy. What a life! Sending a hug and holding you in my heart.

  8. Betty Tricker

    We are sorry for your loss Ellen and family. Gary and Betty Tricker

  9. Rod Spindler

    Pete was a legend! I will never forget how he taught and coached me as a student and football player at Durand High.
    Prayers for your Family god bless!
    RIP Pete

  10. Curt Kummer

    you have my deepest condolences


    So sorry Margaret and Jeff on losing your father. The way it sounds he touched many lives and you will have many memories. Keep strong during these hard days

  12. David Weissinger

    ‘Mrs. Adler’, Margaret, and the entire Adler family -

    Reflecting on the past, I realized I didn’t get to talk with ‘Mr. Adler’ since graduating from high school. However, I also realized his impact as a coach and a teacher have been with me since.

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss, but hoping your memories give you comfort in filling the emptiness left by his passing.


  13. Dave Ohlrogge

    My sincere sympathies to the entire Adler family. I am proud to say that he was my Coach. His intensity and relentless drive set a foundation for me to have a successful college career in the University of Wisconsin Marching Band. Thanks Coach

  14. Paula Smith

    MR ADLER will be missed he was truly a special person in the Durand area. he taught a lot of people some good values and made sure they followed though I will always remember him with a smile and know that he's up there ''so as far as the children and grand children you had one special grandfather and he will be there to talk to and the adults know this I will keep all of you in my prayers

    so sorry for your loss

    Paula A Smith (Menomonie WI)

  15. Paul Gilles

    Dear Adler Family,
    I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Pete. I remember coming over swimming many times while growing up, and of course seeing Pete in the halls of high school everyday. I'm sorry I can't be there for the services but I'm with you in spirit.
    Kindest regards,
    Paul Gilles

  16. Lydia Gnos

    I am so sorry for your loss, Pete was a great man.

  17. Chris Welke Parker

    Pete and Ellen are my godparents. They were fantastic friends to my parents, Ted and Peggy Welke. I am sure that they were there in Heaven to great him! I followed his career and was so very proud to be his god daughter. Rest in Peace sir, and my condolences to his family.

  18. Brock Lunderville

    Truly one of the great ones. History teacher and coach. Even after I was injured my junior season he kept me involved with the football team. An all round great guy and mentor to so many others. My sympathy goes out to the Adler family.

  19. Tim Tschumperlin

    Coach Adler was a great motivator for all us who were athletes in Durand. After all of my races, Pete would go out of the way to congratulate me with a firm handshake and a pat on the back. He was the cornerstone of the DHS Athletic program. I am lucky to have known him.

  20. Ellis Wangelin

    I'd like to be included as one of Coach Adlers' "honorary" children. From the 1st time we met; Coach was respectful, honest, not afraid to say it takes hard work to get an education. Coach taught be to be decisive; to stand by my decisions, to enjoy life-n-smile! Very sad to hear of your loss Adler Family; Coach will always be one of the good guys, in a lot of peoples hearts. Wings Up Falcons Pete - Greg...

  21. Bill and Catherine Livingston & Family

    We were blessed to get to know Peter and Ellen and their Family just over a year ago. Peter and Ellen's loving, caring, generous, fun-loving personalities are an inspiration to our Family. The memory of Peter's Smile and zest for living and love for his Family will forever be a ray of Sunshine in our Lives.

  22. Dan Pedersen

    I always admired Coach Adler's excitement and twinkle in his eye when we talked football. He was respected as a leader and his sincerity and persuasive ways got people to follow. Loved his laugh. He certainly represented the model of coaching excellence that all coaches looked up to. Pete's willingness to share information show direction for success, whether it be a team of 50 football players, a classroom of students, as a County Board Chairman, or grand kids on his knee, was his path to success. A great leader.

  23. Todd and Ann Prissel

    Our deepest sympathy to all of you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

  24. Linda and Peter Flinn

    We are so glad we got to meet Pete through the marriage of Lauren and Jeffrey. He was very obviously well respected and loved by all the family.
    Hopefully the memories he created with serve to comfort you all at this very sad time.

  25. Linda Hoff

    I remember Pete was the leader of the Cameron St. playground back in his college years. All of us children at the time really thought the world of Pete. He made a lasting impression on us. What a great human being and a mean ping pong player he was. God Bless.

  26. Erika (Fossum) Hybben

    Mr. Adler was such a wonderful teacher! He made learning history exciting! I respected him so much!

    Sending my thoughts and prayers to his family.

  27. Roxanne Strand-Keck/Joseph Keck

    Jane and Greg and Family. So sorry to hear of the loss of your father. Please know that your family is in our prayers and deepest sympathy at this difficult time.

  28. Joel Betsinger

    So sorry to hear of Pete’s death but very fortunate to have met him and all your family right across the street. I cherish those times and our family will be thinking of all of you.

  29. David J Bauer

    Mr Adler, you were my favorite teacher of all time, but an even better man. My deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers, to your family, for their loss.

  30. Ardys McNaughton Dunn

    Mr. Adler was a great history teacher and, consequentially, many of us DHS graduates have not made the same mistakes others made before us. My condolences to all of the family. It was so good to see him at our 50th high school reunion in 2014.

  31. State Rep. Warren Petryk

    Sending prayers, thoughts and sympathy to Pete's entire Family. He was a devoted Family man and Community Advocate. Rest in peace, my Friend!

  32. Jacki Hofmeister

    My heart goes out to Jeffrey and his family. May you find peace through this very devastating time. My your grandpa fly with all the beautiful angels above.

  33. jean Fredrickson

    Ellen my thoughts and prayers are with you. I will always remember the night Pete was honored Bill was in his first coaching team and Joe was at that time was on his team.
    My prayers are with you and your family

  34. Fred ohlrogge

    My prayers go out to you. May you be blessed with Gods comforting love. I will always remember "football talk" with Pete and the get together after games. Also the Durand faculty was the best. Dee and I have cherish his friendship and your continued friendship Ellen. The loss of Pete is sooooo hard to deal with, so all I can say is one day at a time. Dee passed away 2 and a half years ago. My new normal is ok but hard to get use to. God bless. Fred

  35. Doshie Grey

    Ellen and Family. My thoughts and prayers have been with you ever since we learned of Pete's Passing. My heart is with all of you through the difficult days ahead.
    Ellen, I will be in touch by phone after the funeral when things die down a little for you. Pete was such a good man and the obituary here says it all.

  36. Jim & Beckie Boigenzahn

    Pete was a very good neighbor to me and my family. May God bless him in heaven and all the angles sing with joy on his welcome!

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