Send a Sympathy Card
Plant Memorial Trees
Friday, November 10, 2023
2:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)
Saturday, November 11, 2023
Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)
Allen Wayne Kochenderfer, 78, of Town of Belvidere passed away peacefully with his wife and children at his side on November 3, 2023 at Gundersen Medical Center, concluding his journey with Parkinsonism.
Al was born September 17, 1945 on the family farm in the Town of Belvidere in Buffalo County, WI to Hilbert and Viola (Bohlinger) Kochenderfer.
Al attended Cochrane-Fountain City High School, which is where “Cookie” enjoyed putting his athletic talent to use on the baseball, football and wrestling teams. His strong work ethic started young when he went from practice to the Standard Station in Fountain City to help his father, watching and learning, which likely started him on his way to being able to repair almost anything in life. It was also during this time that a C-FC teacher sparked his lifelong interest in world events.
Thus, after graduating in 1963 and then attending UW-Platteville for 3 years, he felt the need for adventure and to fight for basic human rights for his fellow man. Al enlisted in the US Army in 1966 and trained as a tank crewman. He attended Officer Candidate School and received his officers commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, Armor Branch in 1967. He received his Army Aviator (pilot) wings in 1968 and served as a helicopter pilot in the 7th Armored Squadron 1st Air Cavalry “Blackhawks'' in the Republic of Vietnam in 1968-69, flying 2111 combat hours. During this time, he survived being shot down seven times, left alone to his fate four of those times. As fate would have it, he survived many days alone, traveling through the jungle. He made a promise to God in 1968 that he would serve God, his country and fellow man every day for the rest of his life.This word of honor guided Al to live the rest of his life in service.
He continued his aviation career as an instructor pilot and aviation staff officer at Fort Rucker, Alabama until 1975. After leaving active duty, he became an infantry officer and served another 18 years with the Wisconsin Army National Guard in the 32nd Separate Infantry Brigade, Mechanized (Red Arrow) and the Army Reserve. After holding many positions from Company Commander to Brigade Operations Officer, he retired in 1995 as a Lieutenant Colonel with 28 years of service. His many military awards included 34 Air Medals, 2 Bronze Stars with Valor, 2 Army Commendation Medals and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.
As Al believed that one should never stop learning, he continued his education at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Studies and also did his graduate work in Airport Management. He then completed the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
After returning to his roots in Buffalo County, Al owned and operated Al’s Motor Pool for over 30 years. Always a keen observer of needs that may exist in his community, he was key in the development of a local ambulance service and went on to provide medical service on 2500 calls over 45 years of service as an EMT and Director with Scenic Valley Emergency Medical Service.
Al joined Cochrane-Buffalo City VFW Post 10406 in 1977 and remained a Legacy Life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He served with vigor in a number of roles for the organization, rising up the ranks at the local Post, District and State Deparment levels, serving as Commander of all between 1994 and 2004. Al especially enjoyed his travels to every post in the state as Wisconsin VFW State Commander. Continuing his passion for advocating on behalf of his comrades, he was elected to the VFW National Council of Administration. With his steadfast commitment, Al traveled to Washington DC annually for many years to champion for veterans rights on the Legislative Committee.
Al’s contributions to his community extended beyond his passion for the VFW and EMS.
He was a proud member of a number of organizations, some of which include Immaculate Conception Church in Fountain City, the Knights of Columbus, where he was a 4th Degree Knight, American Legion Post 0224 in Alma, Buffalo County Republican Party and the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association.
Some of his past involvements include serving on the Buffalo City Council and being instrumental in projects that would benefit the community well beyond his years, such as the building of Veterans Memorial Field in Buffalo City and the Buffalo County Veterans Memorial in Alma.
Al was the ultimate “do-it-your-selfer”, whether it was repairing or building almost anything or making his infamous bacon and sausage. While the humble servant Al would never say it himself, many of us who were blessed to know him felt that his abilities and knowledge of how to do things as well as of history and world events seemed endless. Al’s last major project was working together with his wife Kathy to build their home, Fiddler’s Green.
Al’s priorities of serving God, country and family drove his daily activities, often with a “well-loved” dog at his side. Al was also an avid deer and bear hunter and enjoyed traveling to see the country. Al will be remembered as a strong and determined leader, speaker, mentor and motivator of others to learn to do things themselves and to serve their community.
Al is survived by his wife Kathleen (Johnson) Kochenderfer, his two children Kimberly Noelle (Bart) Hottenstein and Allen William Kochenderfer (special friend Heather Knight), who were born into his 40 year marriage to Pearl (Schuttemeier), Stepchildren Lisa (Randy) Schock and Brenda (Rudy) Pronschinske, Grandchildren Brett, Benett, Parker, Kailey, Jackson, Brady, Austin and Cole, Great-grandchildren Ellie and Nolan, Sisters Lois Labs and Doris Amundsen, Nieces Kathleen (John) Consoli and their children and Michele Amundsen, Nephews David Labs (Debbie) and Robert (Rebecca) Labs and their children, and finally Al's very-loved dogs.
Al was preceded in death by his parents, infant brother Neil Kochenderfer, brothers-in-law Roy Labs and Glenn Amundsen, and his loyal dogs.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 1:00 PM at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Fountain City with Fr. Arul Doss as Celebrant. Burial, with full military honors, will follow at Buffalo City Cemetery. A luncheon and fellowship will follow the burial at the VFW, Post 10406 in Cochrane.
A visitation will be held on Friday, November 10, 2023 from 2:00 PM ending with a Rosary service at 6:00 PM at the Talbot Family Funeral Home, Cochrane Chapel and again at the church on Saturday from 11:00 AM until the hour of the Mass.
In Lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials in the name of Allen Kochenderfer be directed to either the Scenic Valley Emergency Medical Service or the VFW, Post 10406 in Cochrane.