Nilus Lawrence Willkom

Nilus Willkom passed away at his home on Dec. 22, 2022, at the age of 96 years old.

He was born on June 30, 1926, in Boyd, Wis., to Lawrence and Catherine Willkom. 

He graduated from Boyd High School in 1944. 

Following high school, he was proud to serve in World War II in the U. S. Army from October 1944 until August 1946. Working his way to the rank of staff sergeant, he was awarded the following medals and honors: Combat Infantry Badge, European Theater Ribbon  with Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal and Army of Occupation Medal (Germany).

At the age of 15, he met Bernadette Dzienkowski. They were married on Oct. 27, 1949, and were blessed with three children. 

After returning from the war, he worked at his family’s general store in Boyd, Wis. 

He then attended watch-making school in Denver, Colo. He also worked for Lorillard Tobacco in Wausau, Wis., Wolverine Shoe in Missouri and Johnston Cookie in Menomonee Falls, Wis. 

In 1953, Nilus and Bernadette moved to Grafton, Wis., where they built a home and started their family. 

In 1958, Nilus began working for the Hershey Company until he retired in 1990. During his 32-year retirement, Nilus enjoyed doing dealer trades for local car dealerships and traveling to Gulf Shores to escape winter.

He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He enjoyed taking his family on vacations, working on cars and going to auctions.

Nilus was preceded in death by his parents Lawrence and Catherine and eight siblings.

He is survived by his loving wife Bernadette, daughter Peggy (the late Fred) Bertling, daughter Patty (Jim) Loppnow and son James (Amy) Willkom; three grandchildren, Kathleen (Jason) Grube, Jonathon Loppnow and Thomas (Elizabeth) Bertling; and two great-grandchildren, Madelyn and Russell.

Services will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1619 Washington St., Grafton, Wis., on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023.  Visitation is at 11 a.m. with a Mass to follow at noon.

A military burial will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials of your choice would be appreciated.

Mueller Funeral Home Grafton is serving the family.

For more information, to view the video tribute to Nilus or send condolences to the family, please visit



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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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