Atty. Owen F. Monfils, 91, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 with family by his side. Owen was born to the late Fred Monfils and Margaret (Hogan) Dillon in Green Bay, on September 1, 1926. He attended Norwood Grade School, Franklin Junior High, and was a 1944 West High graduate. He was on West High’s football team and competed in wrestling and track & field. He was also a very involved Eagle Scout.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force after graduation and attended St Norbert College until he was called to active duty from 1945-1946. He was stationed in Shanghai, China, and served in the Air Transport Command as a flight engineer in four-engined Douglas C-54 Skymaster aircraft flying routes in Asia and the Pacific. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserves and honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant in 1960. Owen also worked on the railroad as a brakeman.
Owen then attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the GI Bill and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1950 and a law degree in 1952. He went into private law practice in 1953, specializing in family, estate, traffic and criminal law, as well as taking many cases from the Public Defender’s office. He was a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and achieved honorary Emeritus status in his later years. He ran for district attorney in 1954 and was the Democratic nominee for congress from the Eighth Congressional District in 1962.
Owen headed up the Wisconsin campaign for John F. Kennedy in Brown County and became a friend in Wisconsin to the Kennedy family, accompanying RFK to a Packers’ game and hosting Ted Kennedy on numerous occasions over the years. He even picked up Jackie Kennedy from the airport on one occasion. In 1963, Owen was appointed Civil Defense Director of Wisconsin by Gov. John Reynolds, a position he held until 1965.
Owen is survived by his children: Michael (Julie) Monfils, Michaela Monfils, Owen J. (Ann Marie Rybak) Monfils, and Marya (Rich) Otradovec. Grandchildren: Clayton and Cody Monfils; Alex (Carol Chow) Mineau, Jade Mineau, Carly Gerarden; Josh (Jamie) Rybak; and Maggie and Joe Otradovec. Great grandchildren: Kendalin, Nevellie and Kabela. And many other relatives and friends.
Owen is preceded in death by his parents, step-father James H. Dillion, beloved sister Verona Heyrman and brother-in-law Robert Heyrman and other relatives.
We would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to O.J. and Ann for living with and caring for dad these last few years. Also, thank you to the Milo C. Huempfner VA Clinic and Cardiology Associates for their care for Owen. A special thanks to all the caring and compassionate people at Unity Hospice, namely Justin, Ashley, Khang, Jackie and Dr. Amy James. And, of course, we cannot forget the past and present owners of Al’s Hamburger for always catering and delivering meals to Owen while he was sitting at his desk at the “Law Building”! Thank you!
Anyone who has walked the halls of the “Law Building” has been privy to the substantial collection of images and artifacts of personal and historical interest and will tell you that Owen had amazing experiences, friendships and associations in his lifetime. We all were privileged to be a part of them.
Owen would often throw random parties with friends and family, so we are going to continue that tradition in his honor with a Celebration of Life on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 4:00 pm with a memorial service at 7:00 pm at the Rock Garden, 1951 Bond Street.
In lieu of flowers, donations will be used for memorials in Owen’s name.