Allen Gantner


Allen Gantner of Belgium was a farmer, but he had the heart of a mechanic.

Mr. Gantner had a natural talent for mechanics and developed it throughout his life, his daughter Tracii Risch said.

“That’s just how his mind worked,” she said. “When he was a kid, he would putz with the lawn mower. He was always tinkering with something.”

When he was 20, she said, her father built a go-cart using a car engine. Later, he maintained his farm equipment, his family said, noting that his mind was at home with his hands on an engine.

Mr. Gantner’s mind for machines wasn’t limited to vehicles, however.

He listened to classic country music on a custom-built sound system in his Belgium home, and he had a home theater that was second to none, his daughter said, adding he loved to research and buy the latest in video and audio equipment.

“The sound was unbelievable,” she said. “In the early 1980s, he was the guy who had the video camera and VCR. He loved that kind of thing.”

While mechanics were his passion, Mr. Gantner’s greatest joy came in sharing a good meal with good company. He went to his daughter’s house for dinner every Sunday, where he watched his grandson Austin Risch grow up and shared his knowledge with him, his daughter said, noting her son is also mechanically inclined.

“They would trade ideas,” she said, noting her son was recently working on an electric car and “he had grandpa’s ideas in there.”

Mr. Gantner, who lived in Belgium all his life, died of congestive heart failure at Sharon Richardson Hospice in Sheboygan Falls on Thursday, Aug. 22. He was 64.

Mr. Gantner was born at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Port Washington on Dec. 20, 1954, to Raymond and Beatrice Gall Gantner.

A graduate of Cedar Grove High School, he worked on the Gantner family dairy farm for most of his life. He was also employed at Lakeside Foods in Random Lake from the spring of 2007 until his death.

When he was young, his daughter said, he was “a little wild.” He owned a motorcycle and would take off for a couple months at a time, traveling throughout the country from Maine to California.

But once he settled into life on the farm, she said, he was dedicated to it.

“He was a very simple guy,” his daughter said. “He didn’t want any frills.”

 His two cats were his close companions, she noted.

Mr. Gantner is survived by his daughter Tracii (Andrew) Risch of Cedarburg; grandson Austin Risch; and siblings Gerald of Belgium, Jim (Monica) of Grafton, John (Monica) of Belgium, Mary Kay (Roger) Kaland of Sun Prairie and Nancy (Mike) Burton of Minneapolis.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister-in-law Vivian Gantner.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, at Divine Savior Parish, Holy Cross Chapel. Father Gideon Buya will officiate.

Visitation will be at the church from 4 p.m. Monday until the Mass.

Burial will be at St. Mary’s Parish Cemetery in Lake Church.

Mr. Gantner didn’t take much joy in flowers, but he loved his two cats, so in lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the Ozaukee Humane Society.

Funeral arrangements are being handled through Eernisse Funeral Home, Belgium.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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