Philip Arthur LeClaire, age 82, of Oak Creek died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at Creek Side Manor in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He was born on March 16, 1931 in Tomahawk and graduated from Rhinelander High School in 1949. After graduating from high school, Phil obtained professional accounting training and then as he put it, “drove his car around the state looking for a job”. He eventually landed in Sauk City where he met Sauk City native Jenette “Janet” Marie Dresen on the dance floor. They eventually married on February 25, 1952. He had been drafted into US Army and they took a trip to Dubuque, Iowa to get married, and family lore has it he was AWOL reporting for his enlistment! Phil served in the US Army and US Army Reserve for eight years including active duty as an ordinance corporal in Korea from 1952 to 1954 where he was awarded the Korean Service Ribbon with 3 Bronze Service Stars, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. Per Phil, “Police action? Heck, we called it a war!”
After his military service, Phil returned to Sauk City, and he and Jan, both life-long jitterbug dancers, often appeared with dance bands as featured dancers and demonstrators, including trips to California and Canada.
In 1959, he answered an ad in the newspaper and was hired by Northwest Airlines. He and Jan moved to Milwaukee and then bought a home in Oak Creek. Phil worked for Northwest Airlines for 33 years and retired in 1992. Phil and Jan loved going to Las Vegas several times each year, with Circus-Circus as one of their favorite destinations. The two of them also liked to travel abroad including visits to England, Norway, Sweden, France, Spain and Germany. Jan passed away on February 27, 2003. They had been married for 51 years.
In his later years, Phil was a resident of Francis House in South Milwaukee and then Creek Side Manor in Oak Creek. Phil was always an engaging conversationalist and loved to tell well-embellished stories about his life experiences, particularly about the trips he Jan and took to Las Vegas.
Phil was preceded in death by his parents Arthur and Clara LeClaire, his dear wife Jenette “Janet” Marie Dresen, a sister-in-law Lillian Diederich, and his sister Reta Smith.
He is survived by 2 nieces and 3 nephews.
Per his wishes, Phil will be buried next to Jan in the Sauk City Cemetery in Sauk City, Wisconsin following a private family service. Memorials may be made to the humane society of the donor’s choice.