Philip J. IsenbergIssue Date: October 17, 2019
Philip James Isenberg, 96, formerly of Marinette, Kansas City and Eureka Springs, Ark., passed away Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at Good Samaritan's Home in Denton, Tx.
Born June 15, 1923 in Menominee, Mi., the middle child of Walter C. Isenberg and Evelyn (Karnopp) Isenberg of Marinette, he was close to his grandparents. His grandfather, Carl Isenberg, immigrated to Wisconsin from Berndorf, Waldeck, Germany in the 1880s with two brothers.
The "Isenberg Bros." were noted Sauk County general contractors and builders for the Ringling Brothers Circus, constructing many of the Ringling mansions and circus buildings in Baraboo and Florida.
His grandfather, Lewis Karnopp, was a dedicated physician in Manitowoc County and his grandmother, Edith (Moore) Karnopp, taught him to swim and love sweets. His grandmother, Ida (Siebecker) Isenberg, was the sister of Robert Siebecker, the 9th Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and also the brother-in-law of Wisconsin politician, Robert La Follette.
He graduated from Marinette High School in 1941, where he was a scholar and athlete, winning many awards in tennis and table tennis. He went to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., for one year to be a physician, but his career was interrupted by World War II.
He enlisted in the United States Army, serving in the Medical Corps in North Africa, India, Burma and China, where he "flew over the Hump" (Himalayas). In the war, he lost three best friends (Barton Tideman, Richard Duer and Stephen "Buddy" Boren), a trauma that gave him an appreciation of life from an early age.
He then attended the University of Wisconsin, graduating with a degree in Biology and married Ruth M. Nelson of Madison after graduation. He returned to Marinette at the age of 81 to honor his "Four Musketeers" friendships, leaving a poem at each of his friends' graves.
He enjoyed tennis, golf, table tennis, competitive chess and checkers, classical music, advanced flower and vegetable gardening, writing and publishing poetry, British and American history. He also enjoyed extensive travel in England and Italy, classic British sports cars, and piloting small aircraft.
At times, he was an insurance agent, owned his own agency and with his second wife, owned State Line Greenhouses near Eureka Springs. He always had a supply of candy, cookies, German beer, salami and cheese when family visited.
Survivors include five children, Ann Elizabeth Isenberg, Bow, N.H., Mary Ellen Wheeler and Carol Evelyn Dillon, both of Overland Park, Ks., Mark Nelson Isenberg, Kansas City, Mo. and Marjorie Edith Abel, Wakefield, Ks.; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Walter Jr.; a sister, Edith (Reed) and British-born wife, Eileen (Arnold) Isenberg.
Cremation with burial will be in Coppell, Tx. Private memorials will occur later at many Wisconsin locations special to him.
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