LaStofka, David Allen
David was born March 3, 1923 to Ben and Bertina (Severson) LaStofka at his grandparents’ home in rural Ogdensburg and was the oldest of three children. He attended rural grade school at Dow Corners, followed by high school in Iola. He helped his parents on the family farm east of Iola until 1944, when he enlisted in the Army for 2 ½ years, with two tours of duty in the South Pacific, becoming a supply Staff Sergeant in the 325th AAA Searchlight Battalion. Before enlisting, Dave met his true love, Irene Larson, at a roller skating rink in Scandinavia. He often reflected that she wasn’t the best skater, but she was the best looking. While in the service, they exchanged over 400 letters, which she has lovingly kept and upon his discharge from the Army, they became engaged to be married on June 21, 1947. Irene was to complete two more years of nursing school in Milwaukee before they were united in marriage on Oct. 15, 1949 at the Scandinavia Lutheran Church.
After Dave’s military discharge, he became a business partner with his father, who was starting a mink ranch venture, called Wau-Wis Fur Farm. Later, when his brother Robert and brother-in-law Jack Halverson were discharged from the military, they joined the partnership. During the next 25 years, the fur ranch became well known throughout the Midwest for their prized winnings in live mink shows and for mink pelts at auctions. Unfortunately, as fur prices declined in the late 1960s, the family business closed. Dave then became a substitute mail carrier and also started in the saw sharpening business which his daughter Linda is carrying on to this day. After many years in the mink business, he became the first man hired at a new manufacturing company, Millcraft Housing Corporation in Waupaca and worked there as a plumber for 16 years. Dave was a “jack of all trades” and always had a helping hand for anyone in need of remodeling assistance of any kind. He was also a 4-H leader, was involved in Luther League activities and was on the church council at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. Along with his wife, he delivered meals in the Iola area for over 25 years and was a proud 30-year member of the Sons of Norway. Dave had many hobbies, including carpentry, plumbing, wood carving and making whirl-a-gigs and bird houses of all shapes and sizes. He also wrote family history stories and dozens of poems.
Dave loved the country life and one of his most treasured accomplishments was to dig a large pond with an island, including a renovated cabin for hunters, family gatherings and sleepovers. Over many years, he made it like a park with a full-size windmill, wishing well, stone fireplace, playground equipment, large water slide, arched bridge to the island and an inviting sandy beach. The pond was used for swimming, fishing and skating, providing friends and family with many fond memories throughout the years. Dave, along with his wife were fortunate to have traveled to almost every state, including Hawaii and many parts of Canada. Most recently, in recognition of his service in WWII, Dave was honored to be part of an Old Glory Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. and was always very proud to wear his military insignia cap and jacket from the event.
David is survived by his wife Irene of Iola; children: Larry (Leslie) LaStofka of Millbrae, CA, Linda LaStofka of Iola, Karen (Scott) Grignon of Appleton and Steven (Debra) LaStofka of Greenville. He is further survived by a brother Robert LaStofka of Kalispell, MT; a sister Ruth Halverson of Iola; in-laws, Norman (Elva) Larson of Waupaca and Nancy Larson of Elton. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and five step-great-grandchildren. David was preceded in death by his parents, Ben and Bertina LaStofka; his father and mother-in-law, Clarence and Ruth Larson; in-laws, Arne and Madelyn Larson, Clifford and Maretta Larson, David Larson and Mary Lou LaStofka; granddaughter Amy (LaStofka) Gross and nephews, Scott Halverson and Chuck Larson. David was fortunate to have experienced a very long life and his memories will live on, but he will be deeply missed by his family and friends.
The funeral service for David LaStofka will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 7, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Iola with Pastor Alyssa Weaver, officiating. Visitation will take place from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service at 11:00 a.m. After the service, military honors will be presented, followed by burial in the parish cemetery. The Voie Funeral Home of Iola is assisting with arrangements.