Chef Herman H. Leis

Oct. 11, 1912 - Aug. 5, 2006

Herman H. Leis, 93, of Oconomowoc, died Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006, surrounded by his immediate family.

He was born Oct. 11, 1912, in Milwaukee, the son of John and Petronella Leis.

He married Gladys Walker on May 15, 1938 in Milwaukee. She preceded him in death.

Chef Leis had a very long and distinguished career in the food service industry, including numerous local, national and international accomplishments. In 1965, he received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Lakeland College in Sheboygan for his many humanitarian contributions, including his close work with the late Dr. Albert Schweitzer at his mission hospital in Lambarene, Africa.

Herman owned and operated restaurants, including Stockyards Cafeteria in Milwaukee. He was a member of the Wisconsin Branch Food Service Executives Association, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association, the Chef’s and Cook’s Culinary Club, The Order of the Golden Toque and many more organizations. After his retirement at age 84, he remained active with his church and with volunteer work.

His generosity, integrity and good works touched innumerable lives, and he was a role model for more people than he ever realized, ranging from his close-knit family to people all over the world.

He is survived by his children, Jane (Robert) Simmelink of Bella Vista, Ark., Ruth Mellberg of Colorado Springs, Colo., and John (Karen) Leis of Oconomowoc; his sisters-in-law, Lola Fechner of Oconomowoc and Dorothy (Warren) Rademacher of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; grandchildren, Robert (Mary Lou) Simmelink, Karen (David) Anderson, Leisa and Ann Mellberg, Ken (Barbara) Leis, Barry (Jennie) Leis, Melissa, John-Andrew, Matthew and Emily Leis; and great-grandchildren, Brynn and Rylie Anderson and Tyler, Courtney and Brandon Leis.

In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Elizabeth (Charles) Erasmus and Helen (Edward) Weckmueller.

Family and friends celebrated his life Friday, Aug. 11, in a memorial service held at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 815 Concord Road, Oconomowoc. The Rev. Stephen Welch officiated.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated to the church, the Albert Schweitzer Institute for the Humanities or the Herman Leis Culinary Scholarship Fund.

Schmidt & Bartelt Notbohm-Kreutzmann Funeral Home, 567-4459, is serving the family.