Roger J. VanderLeest, 77, passed away peacefully on October 19, 2020 at his residence. Roger was born on August 15, 1943 at home in Green Bay, son of the late John and Florence (Wellens) VanderLeest.
Throughout his life, Roger was very industrious, hardworking, and achieved many accomplishments. He attended St. Joseph and St. Agnes grade schools where he was a Mass server. Roger graduated from West High School in 1961. He was awarded varsity letters in track, wrestling, and music. Roger always had very fond memories of playing in the West High Symphony and Marching Bands.
After High School, he attended the two-year program at UWGB. He then transferred to UW Oshkosh, earning a bachelor’s degree. Roger also held a master’s degree. He was awarded varsity letters for Golf from UWGB and UW Oshkosh.
Roger worked his way through high school and college. He started peddling newspaper when he was 11 years old. At the same time, he started working at the Oneida Golf and Riding Club as a bus boy. Roger also worked many years as a locker room attendant, shining shoes and serving drinks. When the golf course closed for the winter, he worked at the Elk’s Club as a bus boy. Roger ended his tenure at Oneida Golf working as the night bartender and he also catered private parties.
Having worked many years at a golf course, Roger naturally started playing golf. Although never taking a lesson, he won many championships including the Brown County Amateur and numerous club championships. Roger was also the qualifying champion for the 1990 US Senior Amateur. He was the state of Wisconsin Super Senior net player of the year three years in a row. Roger recorded one hole-in-one.
After graduating from college, Roger enlisted in the US Army, serving three years during the Vietnam Conflict. In addition to numerous recognitions, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. Roger was very proud of his military service.
Following an honorable discharge from the service, he embarked on numerous projects and goals. Roger earned a Wisconsin Real Estate Brokers license and started, his own company, VanderLeest Realty. He also served as the Federal HUD Real Estate Broker for the Northeastern Wisconsin Territory. In addition, he went to work with his father in the construction business. With his father and his brother John, they completed many projects both commercial and residential. Their biggest accomplishment was single handedly building the Vernon Court Business Center on the west side of Green Bay.
Always interested in politics, Roger ran for the Green Bay City Council and Brown County Board in 1980. He won both elections and proceeded to serve on both for the next 20 years before retiring from public office. His last six years in office he was also elected the Green Bay City Council President. Roger was always very grateful for the support he received from the voters in his district.
Roger enjoyed taking many trips to Biloxi, Myrtle Beach, Graceland, and Branson. He was accompanied on those trips by his most precious friend, Catherine (Kitty) VandenAvond.
He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Florence VanderLeest; and one brother, Harold VanderLeest. Roger is survived by three brothers, Robert (Bonnie), John (Virginia), and Vernon (Laurie) VanderLeest; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends also survive.
Visitation for Roger will be held at Lyndahl Funeral Home, 1350 Lombardi Ave, on Friday, October 23, 2020 from 5:00 PM until the time of service at 7:00 PM. Officiating at the service will be his nephew, Rev. Alvin VanderLeest. Entombment will take place at Allouez Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Brown County Humane Society. Expressions of sympathy, memories and photos may be shared with Roger’s family on his tribute page at www.lyndahl.com.
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