Lyle J Vrhovnik, age 93, found rest January 29, 2021, and was reunited with his beloved wife, Mary Ann (nee Roudebush). Cherished father of J Gregory Vrhovnik, Tamara (Frank) Infusino, and Kyla Vrhovnik.
Born June 8, 1927, Lyle was the son of Slovenian immigrants. He didn’t even know how to speak English until the 2nd grade. He spent his early years playing hockey in Eveleth, MN – the “hockey capital of the world” he used to tell everyone. This is where Lyle got his work ethic, his scrappiness, his ability to figure out or fix anything with just a rubber band and some chewing gum. He left Eveleth for the Army in 1949 where he trained to be an X-Ray technician. In 1951 he made his way to Milwaukee, WI and Old St Mike’s Hospital where he met his partner for life, the late Mary Ann, a med tech, whom he was married to for 56 years. In 1953, Lyle began a lifelong career in sales of X-Ray equipment at Bar X-Ray, Pengelly X-Ray and, finally, Siemens Medical Systems. In retirement, fiercely loyal and independent, Lyle cared for Mary Ann through her 10 year battle with Alzheimers. He thrived in his 2-story Wauwatosa home on his own until he was 91. No help. No medications. He kept his body and spirit sharp shoveling, mowing, cooking, shopping, and washing.
Perhaps it was because of his 2 years in the Army, or maybe because of his career in sales, but Lyle always was a stickler for being on time. His children were the only kids who would show up for birthday parties :20 minutes before the invitation called for.
Lyle loved to clean. He truly loved to vacuum! If it involved dusting, mopping, or sweeping, he was in hog heaven. And he always had the best groomed yard in the neighborhood.
Lyle’s army service also ingrained routines into his daily life. Fervently so. He got up at the same time, ate at the same time, went to bed at the same time. Over time, though, the schedule shifted earlier and earlier. By his 90’s, he was getting up at 4 am, and eating lunch at 9:30am- bringing new meaning to the term “early bird special”.
He was a sLOVEnian through and through. Slovenia is known as the Land of Polka - most say they invented it. Every Saturday the house was filled with polka music and Lyle singing Slovenian songs from his childhood while chores were being completed. Lyle thought everything could be made better by a gift of potica – a Slovenian dessert bread. Lyle was a selfless, giving friend and neighbor. He so loved his Siemens family, Wauwatosa neighbors, and his extended family in Eveleth. He never missed an opportunity to deliver an act of kindness. Whether it was mowing neighbor’s lawns, taking friends to medical treatments, or performing handy man fixes, Lyle was always there to deliver without even being asked. Neighbors would get up in the morning to find he had already snowplowed their drives or sidewalks. Lyle was a catholic, and he prayed every day, but his true religion was decency. “Be nice to people” was the creed he lived by. He had a booming laugh, gave great bear hugs, and always told the people in his life how much he loved them. He rarely had a bad word about anyone, and spoke graciously and with gratitude about his family, friends, career and livelihood. A real “glass-half-full” kind of guy.
His character can be summed up in his daily phone conversations with his children. Every phone call started with him asking, “Is there anything I can do for you today?” and ended with him affirming “I love you a whole bunch”. In between there was a never ending check list of all he had accomplished and cleaned that day, along with stories and memories about what a great life he had. He always said, “If I had to go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing”. That is a testament to a life well lived. We shall not see his like again.
A man who seldom rested is now at rest.
In Lyle’s memory, please let someone know today that you love them. Slovo sladki Ladislav.
A private family service will be held on February 6 at 11:00am. All are welcome to live stream the service. Please see below for the link to view the livestream.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to School Sisters of Notre Dame Retirement Fund, 13105 Watertown Plank Road, Elm Grove, WI 53122 or at https://www.ssndcentralpacific.org/give.
To watch a video of Lyle & his life, please click play below...