John Evans Kassner Jr. obituary

John Evans Kassner Jr., 97, of Green Bay, WI, passed away peacefully on Thursday, September 29, 2022 from a very short illness after 97 years of a long, healthy and fulfilling life. John was born on June 6, 1925 in Oakland, California, the second son of John C. Kassner and his wife Elsie (Burkart). When he was very young, the family moved to Manitowoc, WI. John grew up in a family of 13 with three brothers and nine sisters. A born athlete, John became quarterback on the varsity football team during his junior year at Manitowoc High School and excelled in all aspects of life during his youth, including being a proud member of the high school dance club LOL. When World War II broke out in his senior year, John answered his call to service and enlisted in the US Army. He volunteered and became a paratrooper in the announced 101st Airborne Division. A member of the elite “Screaming Eagles” division within the 101st, his natural ability to excel both athletically and as an excellent marksman made him one of their brave paratroopers, aka the Ranger. John’s role included participating in dangerous reconnaissance missions. In the dark of night, on the eve of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, John and his brave comrades parachuted behind German lines into France to secure strategic positions ahead of the Allied invasion of the following day, June 6, 1944 , to secure. That day was actually his 19th birthday. John also fought valiantly in other battles during the war to defeat Germany, including the infamous Siege of Bastogne. During the war, John was wounded multiple times and received the Purple Heart for his courageous service to our nation’s freedom. However, it turned out that not everything was bad during the war. Towards the end of the war, while recovering medically from one of his wounds in London, England, John met a very young and beautiful English girl named “Lillian Joan Brown” whom he knew at first sight to be the only one would love of his life. He somehow convinced her to leave her family and homeland to become his war bride before being sent back to the States. All alone, as an eighteen-year-old young bride who was very scared but also very much in love, she traveled to the United States to be with the man she knew would make her life complete and fulfilling. Like most young couples after the war ended, both John and Joan wanted to start a family immediately. Since John grew up in a family of 13 and Joan in a family of 11, they also wanted to have a good sized family. Their first of five children was a son named “John Allen”, naturally named after his father and grandfather, followed by three other sons and a daughter. Named in order as James Michael, Steven William, Kathleen Ann and Craig Albert. John and Joan were incredible parents and put in great personal effort and sacrifice to ensure their children grow up in a close and loving family atmosphere. Her greatest joy came from knowing that all of her children grew up to succeed in their personal lives and remain a close-knit family. Born with a twinkle in his baby blue eyes, John had the gift of making everyone he had ever met happy to have known him. Always outgoing and never without a smile on his face, he really was a born salesman. He started his sales career selling vacuum cleaners door to door. John eventually obtained his real estate license and within a few years started his own real estate brokerage business. In the mid 1960’s he also created land for housing developments and ventured into the development of numerous large multi-family housing projects throughout the state. With his success came an awareness in the local construction industry that he was not only successful but also an insightful leader who was always willing to share his business acumen and forward thinking ideas with his many colleagues. Shortly after deciding to join the Brown County Home Builders Association, he was elected local president in the mid-1970s. As his involvement with the association grew, he became more involved in industry legislation and was elected state president of the Wisconsin Home Builders Association in 1977. He was also elected Director of the National Home Builders Association, eventually retiring as Senior Life Director in 2015. John is survived by his five children, John A. Kassner (Victoria) and their children: Jesse Kathryn Kassner, Matthew Kassner (Carrie Ann) and their children: Page, London, Bryce, and Brittany; James Kassner and his children: Jameson Kassner and Chastity Kassner; Steven Kassner (Julie) and her children: Allison (Scott) Fortney and her children: Brianne, Audrey, Lauren and Samantha; Ashley (Corey) Smith and her children: Natalie and Jackson; Kathleen Kassner and her son: John (Lina) Ingold and her children: Wally and Louie; Craig Kassner (Patricia) and her children: Chandler (Olivia) Kassner and her children: Sullivan and Cordelia; Austin (Emelia) Kassner and her children: Adeline and Wilson; and Dayton Kassner. He is further survived by his sisters Lois (Harold) Anderson and Norma Kappel. John was preceded in death by his wife Joan on September 1, 2003; and his siblings Joseph Kassner, Clara Bownan, Arthur Kassner, Edith Jarosinski, Betty Grace, Alice Skadeland, Gladys Litwin, Anita Larson, Alon Kassner, and Myra Hanson. John will be fondly remembered not only for his bravery as a soldier, his dedication to his loving wife and family, and leadership in his industry, but also for the unending kindness and caring he showed to everyone who was fortunate enough to have him known. He will never be forgotten in our hearts and minds for his smile and that special sparkle in those baby blue eyes!! We love YOU now and always, Dad. Friends and family can attend Newcomer Cremations, Funerals, Receptions, 340 S. Monroe Ave Green Bay on Sunday, October 9, 2022 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with a funeral service with military honors beginning at 4:00 p.m clock follows . The private burial will take place at Fort Howard Memorial Park. To leave an online condolence, please visit

Posted October 05, 2022

Published in the Green Bay Press Gazette

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