Cover photo for Bob Wicka's Obituary
Bob Wicka Profile Photo

Bob Wicka

June 20, 1924 — February 22, 2016

MY LIFE HISTORY BY ROBERT C. WICKA -Born 06-20-1924 in St. Charles, MN -When I was around 5 years old, we moved to Fountain City, WI. During the move, we rode in a Model T car and chased our cows as we went. For three days Ed and Hank Wicka rode our horses across the Winona Bridge and to our new farm. - When I was 6 years old, I contracted polio and became very sick with a high fever. I thought I was going to die! As a result of the illness, I was left deaf in one ear and a bum left leg which affected me the rest of my life. -Working at the creamery, I filled the stockers with coal for .25 cents. One time Mr. Shaffner didn't have .25 cents to pay me, so another guy said he would give me . 50 cents to take the coal BACK OUT - so I did! -I started hunting and trapping at an early age and shot my first deer at 11 years old. I sold rattlesnakes for a .50 cent bounty and skunk skins for a $3.50 cent bounty. In 8th grade, one morning I trapped a skunk right before I went into school and was sent home by the teacher for smelling bad. That was my last day of school (EVER) -At age 14, I received my driver's license from Hank Tire, who was the only police officer in Trempealeau County. We filled out the paperwork in the bar and bought each other drinks. Sometimes Hank would get drunk and run himself off the road -At age 19, I planned on going to Alaska to work on the highway but was drafted into the Army. -While in training at Camp Alice, I was assigned to a truck because of my limp from polio. -I boarded a boat for a 15-day ride to Scotland then traveled to England by train for additional training. While in England we built a 750 bed hospital for the wounded. We also made cement slabs in the woods to store bombs that would later be used in Germany. - December 1944, I participated in the Battle of the Bulge, transporting troops to the front line. I froze both my feet and hand which affected me the rest of my life. -For the invasion, I helped load airplanes for the first army paratroopers. The jumpmaster forgot something and came running down the gang plank and stumbled. He along with 11 others died because he had a lot of hand grenades with him when he fell. We had to pick up the body parts and bury them in a cemetery. -The Germans were destroying many bridges and hampered our troop movement. Our division was responsible for rebuilding many of the bridges . -One day in Germany we found a cave where they stored barrels of wine. No one knew how to get the barrels open, so taking action, I took a pick ax and opened them! We filled our water containers with wine. My friend fell off the jeep so I backed up to pick him up and backed right over him, luckily he was laying between the tires and didn't get hurt. -We landed in the Philippines to get ready for the invasion of Japan. If the "bomb" wouldn't have been - dropped, I would have been in the first wave to storm the island, and most likely would not have survived the invasion. Japan surrendered and our division went by the ship where the peace agreement was signed. The Japanese soldiers bowed to us and said, "So sorry, big mistake." They were really friendly. -After the war, I came back to the U.S. (Washington State) and took the train through the mountains to Fort McCoy - 10-day ride. The U.S. government gave me $300 to start a new life! -I stayed with Martin and Eleanor Peplinski while I worked for Madison Silo where I managed to fall off a 35 foot silo when the scaffolding gave away and hit my head on the way down. I had to spend the next 13 weeks in a full body cast at the "old" Arcadia hospital recovering. -The highlight of my hospital stay was meeting my wife Marian Rumple in the hospital. My brother Ed was married to Margaret Rumple, who just had a baby, and was at the hospital visiting his wife. Ed decided to visit Robert, and Marian was along for the visit ... and as they say, the rest is history. -Madison Silo gave me another job and paid my hospital bill. I stayed in Winona for a while and started dating Marian. Later we would marry. -We lived in Milwaukee for about a year where I had a job operating a crane and Marian worked in a store. This was my only experience of living in an apartment. Unfortunately, I was laid off from my job. -We should have moved to California because we would have had better jobs and it would have been warm! We moved back to Pine Creek to farm and we both had an additional job also. I hauled "heavy" milk cans and Marian worked in a store in Arcadia. Our daughter Linda was born in Pine Creek. -Marian and I moved to Traverse Valley in Independence and farmed there until retirement. In 1965, I got caught in a silo unloader and Donnie Wolfe carried me down the silo. Once again off to the hospital for recovery. To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bob Wicka, please visit our flower store.


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