A legend has sadly passed away. Virgil W. Westphal, 81, always the life of the party, died at home unexpectedly Monday, Aug. 26, 2019.
He was born March 29, 1938, in Paullina, Iowa, the son of George and Elsie (Appledorn) Westphal. If you knew Virgil, you heard one, two or three (or more) of his inappropriate jokes. The first joke he usually started with was, “How good is your memory?” And if you really knew Virgil, you would be raising your hand to indicate you already heard that joke many, many times.
Virgil served in the U.S. Air Force as an air traffic controller from 1958-61. He married Jeanette Uebersetzig in 1961. She preceded him in death in 2017. Virgil worked for the Madison Street Department starting in 1961. In 1965, he went to work for the Madison Fire Department. Virgil moved up the ranks and retired in 1993 as a division chief. His most memorable call during his time on the department was the famous “Butter Fire” in 1991.
Virgil had many talents. One of them was auctioneering. He and Jeanette started Westphal Auction Service. They led many of their own auctions and also assisted Earl Culp Auction Service and George Auction Service. During one of these auctions, Jeanette managed to buy (without Virgil’s knowledge) one of his favorite possessions, a 1958 Buick Special. Virgil also prided himself on helping to raise money by auctioning items off at various fundraisers. Over the years, Virgil and Jeanette bought, managed and sold several rental properties, as well as owning a small hobby farm where they raised everything from pigs, steers, rabbits, chickens, geese, goats and sheep.
Virgil was a pilot and served as president for several flying clubs. He was a member of McFarland Ducks Unlimited and led their annual fundraiser for years. He was a member of AmVets Post No. 151, Vintage Car Club and served as a member and chaplain for the American Legion Post No. 248. He was also a former member of Hope Rod and Gun Club.
Virgil is survived by his children, Sandy (Steve) Kresz, Vicki (Mark) Kampmeier, Denise Westphal (Larry Mesch) and Scott (Mindy) Westphal; grandchildren, Chad (Emily) Helgeson, Jackie Helgeson, Kyle (Ashley) Kampmeier, Kane Kampmeier, Austin Leopold, Sydney Leopold, and Kaden, Parker and Carter Westphal; great-grandchildren, Christopher, Miranda and Michael Jr.; sister, Arlene Ross; and other relatives and countless friends. He was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Jeanette; his parents; and two sisters.
A funeral service will be held at Gunderson East Funeral and Cremation Care, 5203 Monona Drive, Monona, at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Entombment with military honors will be held after the service at Roselawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 10 a.m. until the time of the service Wednesday. A luncheon will immediately follow the entombment at American Legion Post No. 534, 4911 Burma Road, McFarland.
Virgil loved to buy people dinner and a drink. So, please come have one last meal and drink on Virg. Angelo’s will cater the event, as he loved the owners and the people he knew and met there over the years.
Memorials may be made to the family to be designated to Virgil’s favorite charities. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
McFarland won’t be the same as the legend goes home to be with Mom. God, I hope you are ready!