April 5, 2013 — Caldwell, WI
I am proud to say that Mike Hensgen was my father. He was an honest, kind, hardworking, and quiet man. One of 10 children, my father struck out on his own early in life, working on farms and road construction. He lived on his own after completing 8th grade. When WWII began he enlisted in the US Army reaching the rank of staff sargent. Mike served time on the European front as a truck driver & chauffeur for officers and other dignitaries (I heard he once chauffeured Joe Lewis , the boxer). After the war he married Janet Johncox, together they had four children. They remodeled an old farm house in a quiet stable little unincorporated town of Caldwell, WI (some 25 miles SW of Milwaukee). He worked 37 years at the Allis Chalmers tractor plant in West Allis, WI. He worked in the very hot & dusty brass foundry making molds for motor blocks. I remember dad leaving for work very early in the morning and coming home with sours on his arms and legs from hot molten bass hitting his skin. He never complained and I don't remember dad ever taking a day off. His work ethic was second to none...what a great role model. Dad always liked to help others in the community..he would mow lawns, share produce, and help anyone in need. He grow vegetables with mom's Uncle Gene - selling & sharing them with the community. He was in charge of mowing the town cemetry and church parsonage. He never missed any of my (or my brothers & sister's) sporting events from little league through high school. He was never one of those loud obnoxious parents at sporting events but just showed pride in watching this children compete. I always loved that quiet but supportive quality. Dad was a member & past president of the Mukwonago American Legion, Tichigan/Caldwell Volunteer Fireman, and member of the United Methodist Church. Upon retiring from Allis Chalmers, he went to have his hip replaced but never made it out of the hospital. He died of pneumonia at age 60 as a result of complications from a rare neurological disease (JCD). This quiet, hardworking man never really got to enjoy retirement or watch his grandchildren grow up. I wish I could show him his legacy of the two successful grandchildren and 4 (some to be five) beautiful great grandchildren he produced. I wish I could tell him how much I love and appreciate everything he did for me. I wish I could tell him that I am proud to be his son.