POTOSI, Wis. — Harlan J. “Rink” Emler, age 93, passed away on Thursday, June 6, 2019, on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, at Orchard Manor Nursing Home in rural Lancaster, Wis.
He was born on September 6, 1925, in Lynn Hollow in rural Potosi, and was the only child of Harold and Ella (Cammack) Emler. He helped on the family farm with his parents until he enlisted in the Navy in September 1943, at the age of 18.
After his basic training at Great Lakes Naval Base in Illinois and a brief assignment in New Orleans, Rink was assigned to the liberty ship, S.S. Earl Layman, which brought supplies to the theaters in both the Pacific and Europe. The first trip Rink took was part of one of the largest operations of the war, a fleet of thousands of ships bringing supplies for the upcoming Normandy invasion. While on the ship, Rink’s job was to help man the big guns. After several trips back and forth over the Atlantic, Rink was assigned to the Pacific campaign right as World War II ended. After time in Manila in the Philippines, Rink was honorably discharged in April of 1946.
Upon his return to Potosi, Rink met the love of his life, Betty Richardson. Rink and Betty were married on May 24, 1947, and were married for over 71 years until Betty passed away on March 17, 2019. During their marriage, Rink worked on the family farm and held many assorted jobs, but can be remembered by most in Potosi for working at the Sportsman Shack after his retirement. He always had a smile and his familiar “Hello Partner” greeting to all he would meet. He shared his love of the Chicago Cubs with his family. Rink was a kind and gentle man who loved his family immensely, and he enjoyed playing cards and cribbage at family get-togethers. His stories were legendary, and everyone enjoyed hearing him tell them.
He was a longtime member of the Potosi Fire Department and the Potosi Village Board, and a lifetime member of the Potosi VFW Post #5276 and the American Legion Post #473, in which he served as Commander. His was a big man with an even bigger heart. We were blessed to have him as our Dad and Grandpa. He will be dearly missed and was so loved!
Survivors include his sons, Alan “Sam” (Bernie) Emler and Rocky (Roseann) Emler; son-in-law, Jim Berntgen; brother and sister-in-law, Leroy “Slick” (Marge) Richardson; five grandchildren, Troy (Cheri) Berntgen, Lisa (Eric “Benny”) Gotzinger, Chad (Missy) Emler, Heather (Marcus Groom) Emler and Ryne (Heidi) Emler; and nine great-grandchildren, Katie (Justin) Roling, Megan Berntgen, Kalynn Vosberg, Cooper, Addie, Connor, Wyatt, his namesake Tucker Harlan and Vera Emler. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, and other relatives and friends.
In addition to his parents and his wife, Rink was preceded in death by his mother and father-in-law, Floyd and Edna Richardson; a daughter, Barbara Berntgen; a great-grandson, Kyle Vosberg; and two brothers and sisters-in-law, Edward (Lois) Richardson and Harvey (Sharon) Richardson.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at Orchard Manor Nursing Home Chapel in Lancaster, with Reverend Pamela Strakeljahn officiating. Family and friends may call from 9 a.m. until time of services on Tuesday at the chapel. Burial with military honors will take place in Hillside Cemetery in Lancaster.
In lieu of plants and flowers, a Harlan J. Emler Memorial Fund has been established.
Martin Schwartz Funeral Home and Crematory in Lancaster is serving the family. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.martinschwartzfuneralhomes.com.