William “Bill” Edward Kastner, age 95, passed away peacefully in the Tomah VA Medical Center hospice unit on the evening of December 26, 2021. Following his passing, Bill, a WWII United States Navy Veteran, was given a beautiful and emotional Final Salute; his body was draped in Old Glory while civilians placed their hands on their hearts and Veterans gave the military salute.
Bill was born to William A. Kastner and Lillian (Firlus) Kastner on November 25, 1926 in the upstairs apartment of the Kastner Bros., Inc. automobile dealership; he was their only child. Bill was a Class of 1944 Mauston High School graduate, and he joined the United States Navy in 1945; he served on the island of Guam until the war’s end. Bill returned home to marry his sweetheart, Mildred “Millie” Sarnow on November 24, 1946 at Zion Lutheran Church in Elroy.
William E. Kastner worked all his life in the automobile business that was founded by his grandfather. The company had originally operated as a horse and buggy business, and Bill’s father and uncle eventually turned it into a Chrysler dealership. Both of Bill’s sons, Richard Kastner and Brian Kastner, also worked for Kastner Bros, Inc. until their father’s retirement.
Bill and Millie were blessed with a wonderful and long life together, many friends, and the opportunity to travel to many wonderful places, including their favorite winter retreat in Ft. Myer’s Beach, Florida.
Bill was a faithful member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Mauston where he served in many offices throughout the years, he also greatly enjoyed singing the Christian hymns with his powerful voice. Church attendance was very important to him, and he only skipped services at St. Paul’s to attend services at First Congregational Church in Hillsboro where his grandson, Pastor Isaac Fleming, was officiating.
Bill was active in the community, held office in the Chamber of Commerce, and was present for the opening of Castle Rock Lake. He even took part in the dedication ceremony for Interstate 90 “I-90” where he drove his 1907 McIntyre automobile down to Lyndon Station, picked up Wisconsin Governor John W. Reynolds, and brought him back to Mauston for the highway ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife of 74 years, Mildred “Millie” Kastner, and his son, Brian Kastner. Bill and Millie Kastner thoroughly enjoyed their three children, Rich (Pam) Kastner, Brian (Debbie) Kastner and Gail (Terry) Fleming; their wonderful grandchildren, Lisa (Fred) Rollins, Kari Langer, Cory (Tracy) Kastner, Anthony Fleming, Natasha Bouchette and Isaac (Vachelle) Fleming; and their great-grandchildren, Jessie, Kylie, Dylan, Brandon, Kaden, Kaleb, Isabella, Zion and Israel.
A Christian service for Bill’s family will be held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Mauston in the future. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the family hopes to plan an outdoor party during the warmer months for friends and family to celebrate William’s life.
The Picha Funeral Home in Elroy is assisting with arrangements.
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