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Leslie “Les” Francis Stumpf, of Kaukauna, WI passed away on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 after reaching the age of 92 years old. Les died peacefully after a short illness caused by pneumonia in Sarasota, FL, with his beloved wife of 36 years (Dar) by his side.
Les was born on May 12, 1926 in Sherwood, WI to John and Margaret Stumpf. Les was a kind and humble man, known for his strong work ethic. He was proud to have been born and raised in Wisconsin and loved to tell stories of his life growing up in Sherwood, playing the trumpet (a life-long love), fishing in Canada over the summer, and spending time outdoors on his tractors.
As a young man, Les’ passion for work and country was characteristic of his generation. After graduating St. Mary’s High School in Menasha in 1944, he enrolled at Lawrence College. Les’ time at Lawrence was cut short when he enlisted in the army to serve in WWII. During his time in the military, Les met and roomed with Doc Severinsen, who is best known for being Johnny Carson’s band leader on the Tonight Show. Together, Les, Doc, and several other military members, performed in an army band.
After leaving the army, Les leveraged his strong work ethic as an entrepreneur. Les was a gifted businessman and was incredibly passionate about his family’s work: selling and servicing cars. On December 13, 1921, Les’ father and business partner opened Calumet Motor Company in Sherwood. Les took on the Ford Franchise and renamed his father’s business Les Stumpf Ford in 1956. In 1969, seeing the end coming of small town dealerships, he built a new store in Kaukauna. Only three years later he purchased the dealership in Appleton.
With Les leading the way, the business focused on providing total customer satisfaction through employees who provided reliable, courteous, and ethical service to its customers--a vision that is still carried out today. Les stayed on as Chairman of the business until his passing. Today, Les Stumpf Ford is proud to have third and fourth generation family members working within the business.
Beyond Les’ impressive career, Les will be remembered by his wife, children, grandchildren, and loved ones as a fierce and sparkling light who brightened, inspired, and guided his family. His infectious smile and subtle yet side-splitting humor lit up the darkest of rooms. Les taught everyone he met the importance of finding your passion in life. As a husband, father, grandfather, and mentor he taught us the motto that when you find what you love it doesn’t feel like work.
Les is preceded in death by his parents, John and Margaret Stumpf, late wife, Lucia (Eloise) Rock, and daughter, Mary Stumpf. He is survived by his wife, Dar; sister, Lorraine Rogalska; sons, Jon (Amy), Corey (Kristy); stepson, Paul (Karen); 10 grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members.
To celebrate Les’ life and the impact he made on the community, a visitation will be held on Friday, April 26, 2019, from 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at SACRED HEART CATHOLIC CHURCH, N369 Military Road, Sherwood. Visitation will continue on Saturday, April 27, 2019, at ST. KATHARINE DREXEL PARISH – ST. MARY CHURCH, 119 W. 7th Street, Kaukauna, from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the service at 12:00 noon. A luncheon will be held following the Mass at Liberty Hall, 800 Eisenhower Drive, Kimberly. For online condolences, please visit www.verkuilenfh.com. In lieu of flowers, and to honor Les’ desire to help people locally, contributions may be directed to the Les and Dar Stumpf Family Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. https://donor.cffoxvalley.org/Make-A-Gift
To all that knew, loved and respected Les, we ask that you remember him with, “Work is love made visible.”
There's still time to send flowers to the Visitation at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM on April 26, 2019.
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