THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
The family of Melvin Chopper Draeger, 93, of Oconto received family and friends at Gallagher Funeral Home, Oconto on Monday, April 22 from 10 a.m. until time of the funeral service at noon. Military rites were conducted by Jones Modrow Young American Legion Post #74. He passed away on Friday, April 19 at Sun Valley Homes II, Oconto.
Born in Oconto on Nov. 14, 1919, he attended Oconto schools graduating in 1937. The following year he joined the Company C of the Wisconsin National Guard 127th Infantry, 32nd Division.
Drafted into World War II on Dec. 7, 1942 in the 106th Cavalry Regiment, he served as regimental bugler. He was later transferred to 343rd Military Police Company and served in the Pacific Theater for 28 months, stationed on New Caldonia, Guadalcanal, New Guinea, Luzon and Japan. He served 39 months without furlough, for a total of four years before his discharge. Following service he was Commander of the VFW Post in Oconto, was a member of Post 74 of the American Legion and a life member of Cloverland Post of the Disabled American Veterans.
He married Rosemary Carriveau on Feb. 8, 1955 and worked for the Oconto Milling Company for 41 years, 28 of those as manager, secretary and treasurer. Active in local affairs, he served on the Oconto City Council, chaired the Board of Public Works and was president of the City Parks Board and the City Health Officer. After retirement in 1978, he moved to Tipler with his wife, Rosemary, where he served as Town Chair for one term and worked part-time in various positions for Town of Tipler. After 18 years the couple returned to Oconto.
He played trumpet in many area dance bands, besides playing Taps for civic programs and military funerals for many decades. He loved to tinker, fish and hunt. A longtime Packer season holder and avid fan, he attended games since the age of 12. His friends and family will remember his exceptional memory and fascinating stories of the people and places of Ocontos past.
Surviving are four children, Carolyn (Don) Walsh of Green Bay, Mary (Bruce Mommaerts) Lade of Oconto, Jim (Cindy) Draeger of Monona and Susan (Curt) Coker of Cleveland, Oh. and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Preceding him in death were his parents, father, William C. Draeger and mothers, Inez Toole and Mildred Leda; a son, Sigurd Charles Fornell of Appleton and siblings, H.J. Jim Draeger and Lois (Draeger) Melody Fulton.