Alfred Marvin Zien
Alfred Marvin Zien had his heart stop in an ambulance on the way to Luther Hospital from Oakwood Villa/Altoona, on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. Alfred was born Dec. 19, 1935, at the home farm, to Albert and Ella (Mau) Zien. He contracted Rheumatic Fever at age three. He persevered through lifelong multiple medical and physical challenges. Living at Zastrows, Gilman, Fall Creek and Oakwood Villa nursing homes, he was well-liked by staff and residents. Fortunately, family members also cared for him, including Jane Toro and Rebecca Klingbeil. The past four years at Oakwood Villa were challenging and rewarding, especially with Paul, Leah, Joey and the whole staff. In past decades, the Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer, congestive heart and respiratory hurdles, never deterred his cheerfulness. Just five days before his passing, he was diagnosed with coronavirus, but had no symptoms until his last few hours. Albert was a machine gunner on the front lines in French trench warfare, which included serious exposure to mustard gas. He served with 2,350 fellow Chippewa County veterans, who mostly joined the famed U.S. Army 32nd Division. Among the 160 plus World War I vets just from Cadott, were Harry Arneson, Otto Arneson, Lawrence Bourget, Edward G. Burish, John Couey, Lawrence Dugal, Adelbert Green, Harold Gundmanson, Roy Holtz (Chippewa Falls), Martin Irwin, James Irwin, Thomas Irwin, Morris Mickelson, George Pfaff, James Rykal and Henry Wenzel. The DNA in their descendants survive strong in this region, especially today. State Hwy. 29 is the World War I Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Highway, named in honor of 122,000 plus World War I veterans and their families. Especially proud, are neighbors in Clark, Eau Claire, Rusk and Taylor counties. Alfred’s grandfather’s Lutheran-type family came to America in the 1880s – the Catholics stayed in Germany. His great uncle, a Colonel, was executed by Adolf Hitler in 1939, apparently too conservative. The hundreds of people who cared for, or resided with, Alfred over the years, describe him as simple and sweet. He was blessed with a Savant-type phenomena. Alfred demonstrated, that though physically and mentally challenged, “everyone teaches, everyone learns!” Often, those unassuming and unexpected, are the teachers. Appreciating everyone with a smile and laughing, Alfred loved Santa Claus and celebrated the Christmas multi-dimensional spirit year-round. His favorite song was, You Are My Sunshine. He looked forward to BINGO, meal time and recreational gatherings. Alfred stood vigil at the door, acknowledging visitors to the facility. Loving the Lord was obviously reciprocal. Perhaps the message conveyed by people like Alfred, who are either confined to long-term care facilities, homebound or self-quarantined – is that they be celebrated by phone call, card or letter. They/we all deserve to celebrate the Christmas spirit year-around. Battlefield/deathbed religion, bucket lists, last hurrahs, time is too short to say our thank yous and apologies. Enduring everlasting prayers, with constructive guidance, is deservingly reciprocal. When riding motorcycle with cousin, Dave, Alfred would hold both hands high, honoring the Harley Hallelujah. When asked why he was reluctant to put his hands down at high speeds and around curves, Alfred would say, “Alfred is trying to catch that wind!” Most certainly, Alfred is now, “catching that wind,” while celebrating Heaven’s majestic jubilance! He is survived by second cousins – Dale, Dave, Debra (Millar) and Jerry Zien; 11 third cousins; and 13 fourth cousins. He was preceded in death by his dad – Albert; mom – Ella; sister – Vernice; first cousins – Allen, Carl, Catherine, Genevieve, Harold, LaVerne and Raymond Zien. Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Leiser Funeral Home in Cadott, with the Rev. George Olinske Officiating. Inurnment will be in the Brooklawn Cemetery in Cadott, at a later date. Visitation will be one hour prior to the services, Thursday, at the funeral home.