STEVENS POINT, Wis. — Charles A. Kranz, 76, of the rural Stevens Point area, formerly of Darlington, passed away Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, at Portage County Health Care Center in Stevens Point.
He was born March 28, 1943, in Richmond, Ill., to Rev. Francis E. Kranz and Elizabeth (Huffman) Kranz. Within a few years, the family moved to Lancaster, Wis., and Charles graduated from Lancaster High School in 1961. He attended UW-Platteville and secured a Root-Tilden scholarship to New York University Law School where in 1967 he completed a law degree.
He and Carol J. Sultzman met when both were in the marching band at UW-Platteville. They married Aug. 12, 1967, at First Presbyterian Church in Richland Center with Charles’ father serving as co-officiant.
After marriage, Charles and Carol resided in Shorewood and Charles worked briefly as an attorney for Northwest Mutual Life Insurance Company in Milwaukee. He served as a federal law clerk for Judge Thomas Fairchild of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, Ill., and then took a position as an attorney at Gibbs, Roper and Fifield in Milwaukee.
In 1973 Charles and Carol moved to Darlington. Charles entered into a partnership with established attorney Ervin Johnson, and they were joined a few years later by attorney William McDaniel to form the law firm of Johnson, Kranz and McDaniel. Charles continued with the firm until his passing.
Elected to the Darlington school district’s Board of Education in 1978, Charles served on the school board for 24 years, 21 of those years as board president from 1981-2002. He served on the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Foundation Board from 1996-2010. He served on the board of Citizens National Bank of Darlington. In 2003 he was nominated to the Darlington Mutual Insurance Co. Board of Directors; he was elected board vice president in 2005 continued in that role for more than a decade.
As a youth, Charles was active in the Boy Scouts of America and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He worked on the staff at Canyon Camp BSA in the late 1950s and early 1960s, where he formed abiding friendships with fellow staff members and developed an appreciation for the spirit of the camp. He also participated in national jamborees and other Scouting activities. He received the Vigil Honor from the Order of the Arrow recognizing selfless service to others.
An interest in horses led from occasional horseback riding with family and friends to more concentrated pursuit of horse-drawn carriage driving in the second half of his life. Charles became a member of the Dairyland Driving Club and the Carriage Association of America. He competed in and attended driving events in Wisconsin and around the Midwest.
He and Carol raised sheep for about 40 years on their farm a couple miles east of Darlington. They took an interest in raising the registered polled Dorset breed, had membership in the Wisconsin Dorset Association and for several years encouraged their children to show at county and state fairs and other livestock shows.
Charles enjoyed sailing and golf outings with friends. He also enjoyed spending time with his family, getting together at home for holidays and projects and also at a lakeside cabin up north.
Charles was preceded in death by his brother, James F. Kranz, of Beloit, and his father, Francis. He was also preceded in death by father-in-law Lawrence Sultzman and mother-in-law Winifred Jean (Johnson) Sultzman, both of Richland Center.
He is survived by his wife, Carol; two sons, David (Erin Hoy), of La Crosse, and Andrew (Sasha Case), of Winona, Minn.; and four grandchildren: Ethan, Theodore, Asa, and Margo. His mother, Elizabeth, also survives him, having celebrated her 100th birthday this year. He is also survived by sister-in-law Sue Kranz, of Saukville; nephew, Trent Mitchell, and fiancee Tracy Mickelson, of Gulf Shores, Ala.; nephew, Barry Mitchell, and spouse Jenni and their children Ben and Jack, of Saukville; as well as sister-in-law, Patricia Nebel, and spouse Gary, of Sarasota, Fla.; and nephew, Steve Veloff, and spouse Jennifer, of Littleton, Colo.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church (15691 County Road K, Darlington) with Rev. Nick J. McElrath officiating. A visitation will be held Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Erickson Funeral Home (508 Main St., Darlington) and on Saturday from noon until 12:45 p.m. at the church. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.ericksonfuneralhome.com.
For those who prefer, a memorial fund has been established in Charles’ name.