Harley Janssen, 97, Wausau, formerly of Speedway, Indiana, passed away peacefully on November 9, 2022, at Mountain Terrace under the care of Compassus Hospice.
He was born on August 16, 1925, in Chillicothe, IL to John and Caroline (Melz) Janssen.
Harley grew up in the Peoria, IL area and enlisted in the Navy in 1943 where he served in the Pacific during WWII. He was a landing craft coxswain and a signalman with the Beachmaster. Harley had many stories to tell about the landing and subsequent fighting at Iwo Jima. He also spent some time in Japan after the war ended.
Upon discharge from the Navy in 1946, he returned to Peoria and finished his high school education. He worked a number of different jobs until he found his fit as a phone company lineman. Harley worked for several different phone companies in central and northern Illinois and central Indiana in different capacities, ultimately retiring as the General Manager of Clay County Rural Telephone Company (now Endeavor Communications) in Cloverdale, IN.
On May 20, 1950, he married Betty (Elizabeth) Lawless at St. John’s Catholic Church in Peoria. He and Betty lived in Pekin, Lacon, Dixon, and Sycamore, Illinois as he earned promotions. They welcomed a daughter, Coleen, in 1972. They enjoyed many happy years together before Betty passed away in Sycamore, IL, in 1978.
On September 14, 1985, he married Dorothy (Montgomery) Klein at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Greencastle, IN. They briefly lived in Stoughton, WI, before returning to Cloverdale, IN. In 1993, they moved to Speedway, IN. Harley and Dorothy had many happy years together and welcomed 5 grandchildren before Dorothy passed away in Indianapolis in 2009.
In 2010, Harley met Joanne Perkins at a hospice bereavement group. They became good friends and companions for several years until her death in 2019.
In addition to his work, Harley was active in the community. While living in Lacon, he was a founding member of the Jaycees and was a sheriff’s deputy. In Cloverdale, he was the Town Board president and was active in school board meetings as well.
Harley loved fishing. His favorite spot was Lake Gordon, in Gordon, WI. He went there to Tuverson’s Resort at least twice every year, despite the 12 hour trip. On days when no one else on the lake could catch a fish, he could find them. He spent many happy hours fly-fishing or casting his beetle-spins, looking for bluegill and crappie. Harley was also a great “Mr. Fix-It”. He could fix almost anything, and largely built his own house in Lacon.
Harley is survived by his daughter, Coleen (Matt) Krasowski of Wausau, WI; sons Jeff (Monica) Klein of Plainfield, IN; Mark Klein of IN, Karl (Carrie) Klein of Aurora, CO; grandchildren Sam and Mike Krasowski of Wausau, WI, Parker and Morgan Klein of Plainfield, IN, and Jack Klein of Aurora, CO, as well as numerous nieces and nephews across the country.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by 9 siblings; Myrtle Miller, Glen Janssen,
Violet Bart, Harold Janssen, LeRoy Janssen, Rosalie Hamm, Marjorie Janssen, Bernie Janssen, and Kenneth Janssen.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 3:00 pm on Friday, November 18, 2022 at St. Michael’s Church, 615 Stark Street in Wausau. The Rev. Eric Mashak will preside. Internment will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Peoria. Graveside services will be held there on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at 10:00 am.