At 91, Wayne Phillip Boshka, of Washington Island, WI, died peacefully, Saturday afternoon, January 21, 2023, in Madison, WI at the Blu Grotto Memory Care, assisted by Fox Rehabilitation and Brighton Hospice.
He was born in Sturgeon Bay, WI on August 28, 1931, the son of Lucien Nels Boshka and Gladys Constance Anderson. He grew up as a fifth-generation resident of Washington Island. While he lived much of his life in Hoffman Estates, IL, Washington Island was deeply ingrained into who Wayne was and how he lived his life. Washington Island cedars surrounded his Chicago, IL home, and a small patio pool was shaped like Washington Island. Psalm 23 tells us, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures”; if those pastures need mowing, Wayne is trying to take care of them with his beloved riding mower! “He leads me beside the still waters” however, would not be applicable to Death’s Door between Lake Michigan and Green Bay!
Wayne graduated in a class of seven from Washington Island Schools in 1949 and was offered a scholarship to Lawrence College in Appleton where he majored in Economics. At Lawrence, he pledged Beta Theta Pi and used his famously great legs to run cross country. He also spent many seasons playing outfielder for the W.I. Islanders ball team. After graduation from Lawrence, Wayne enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. The recruiter signed him up while they stood in a potato field Wayne had been plowing. After basic training, he was offered to be the chaplain’s assistant but chose communications instead and soon became Crypto Chief. At the end of his tour of duty, he was selected for officer training or Chaplain. He chose civilian life. He credited the military with his maturation and learning the meaning of true camaraderie. He served two years and left military service with a love for the corps and a serious dislike for wearing hats and the smell of garlic.
After serving his country, Wayne moved to Chicago and began his professional sales career with Proctor and Gamble. On Wayne's first day, he wanted to know what the sales record was. He then broke the record his first week on the job. When they began requiring that he wear a hat on sales calls, Wayne knew it was time to move on. After joining All American Life Insurance, he retired in 1993 as Vice President of Mass Marketing, following the death of his first wife, Mary Lu Elliot. On July 29, 1995, he married Elizabeth “Betsy” Adelaide Crane in the flower garden at their home on Washington Island. Soon after he became a board member of the Washington Island Town Mutual Insurance Company, where his grandfather, Niels Hansen Friis, had been a charter member. Wayne might have been busier in retirement than he was while working full-time. He served in leadership positions with the Trinity Lutheran Church Council, Lions Club, WI Art, and Nature Center, Trueblood Performing Arts Center, Washington Island Music Festival, and the American Legion, all on Washington Island.
Music was always a central focus in Wayne’s life. A lifelong saxophone player, he was able to help pay for college as a weekend band musician. The last boat he owned was named “Harmony”. He had piloted to almost every port on Lake Michigan. He was a charter saxophone member of the Washington Island Community Band. He had an amazing bass voice that was mellow with perfect pitch. He used that beautiful bass voice with the Arlingtones A Cappella Barbershop Chorus, the Trinity Lutheran choir, the annual Music Festival, the Jekyll Island Community Presbyterian choir, and to sing the Wedding Prayer to his wife on their wedding day. He coped with Alzheimer’s for about ten years, but could still remember the lyrics to his favorite songs.
Wayne will be missed by his wife, Elizabeth, to whom he was married for 28 memorable years; her sons, Mark (Jamie) Ringsmuth of Madison, WI, and Eric (Katherine) Ringsmuth of Eagle River, AK, sister, Constance Sena of Washington Island, WI; nephew, Chuck Sena (Julie) of Beaver Dam, WI; niece Kari Gordon (Rod) of Washington Island, WI, and nephew, David Sena of Green Bay, WI; beloved grandchildren; many great-nieces and great-nephews; and his Lhasa Apsa therapy dog, Sandy.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Lucien and Gladys Boshka; and his first wife, Marylu Boshka (nee Elliott).
Wayne’s life will be celebrated with a memorial service that will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church on Washington Island with Pastor Edward Baseman (of Trinity Lutheran Church) and Pastor Albert Cramer (of Jekyll Presbyterian Community Church in Jekyll Island, GA) officiating. Military honors by the Gislason Richter American Legion Post 402 will follow at the church. Weather permitting, a reception will be held in the Boshka home yard at 1688 Main Road, Washington Island, following the services at the church.
Visitations for family and friends will be held at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. until 10:50 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Wayne’s memory can be sent to Lawrence University or any of the following Washington Island organizations: Trueblood Performing Arts Center, Recreation Center, Music Festival, or charity of your choice.
"Our family would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Richard Hogan (GP), Dr. Wei-Chuan Wang (Ophthalmologist), Mr. Larry Carpenter, M.S. (Audiologist), and their respective support staff for their wonderful and compassionate care given to Wayne over the years. The Washington Island Community Health Program was particularly important in helping us reside on Washington Island for as long as we could manage."
Gunderson Funeral & Cremation Care in Madison, WI, and Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Sister Bay, WI are assisting the Boshka family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Wayne may be shared with his family through his tribute pages at www.gundersonfh.com or www.caspersonfuneralhome.com.
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