Obituary: Roderick J. Schlise

March 20, 1935 ~ March 21, 2023

Roderick Joseph Schlise, of Sturgeon Bay, died on March 21st, 2023, the day after his 88th birthday, in the excellent care of Door County Hospital, Dr. Richard Hogan and Unity Hospice.  On March 20, 1935, Rod  was born to Joseph and Hattie (Stoeger) Schlise of Forestville, WI, the oldest of three children, at a time and in a place outfitted with hand pumps and outdoor privies for water and sanitation–features of central significance to his later life. 

After learning the plumbing trade in his Uncle Mark Schlise’s business in Forestville and a single year of business school at Marquette University, Rod and his extremely handy father set off to form Rod Schlise Plumbing and Heating in nearby Maplewood in 1962.  They collaborated successfully with many local contractors and were fortunate to employ a talented labor force drawn largely from local farms and shipyards to bring the convenience of plumbing to homes and businesses all over Door and Kewaunee counties.  Though it sometimes meant going out in the middle of a winter night to fix a furnace or get water flowing to a farmer’s dairy herd, he drew great satisfaction from his work and was very grateful for the loyal patronage of his many customers.  His business endured for 56 years – through economic ups & downs, evolution of plumbing and heating technologies, and the departure of several apprentices who, while working for him, became master plumbers themselves – until a stroke forced Rod into an early retirement at age 83.

In 1964, Rod married Marian Stroh at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Maplewood.  They moved to Sturgeon Bay and raised four sons:  Bill, also a master plumber, Paul, Tom, and Chuck who all worked in the family business in their teen and college years.

Rod was an active member of Corpus Christi Catholic Church, serving on the parish council, helping with fundraising and sharing his expertise in the building trades to help maintain and improve the buildings and grounds of both church and school.  He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Master Gardeners Association, and served as Plumbing instructor at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.  He and Marian were avid fans and long-time supporters of many Door County cultural institutions including the Peninsula Players, Birch Creek, Northern Sky Theater, Peninsula Music Festival, Ridges Sanctuary, Maritime Museum, Friends of Potawatomi Park, Crossroads at Big Creek, YMCA, Little League baseball teams and the Door County Advocate.  Rod and Marian worked many happy years together, both in their own gardens and helping to build and tend the gardens of Potawatomi Park and the Garden Door of the UW-Peninsular Research Station.  While he arm-chair quarterbacked the Packers to a number of successful seasons, he preferred drives around Sturgeon Bay and Door County, observing their change and growth through the years and recounting the many projects and the people that enriched his long and useful life. 

Rod is survived by his wife Marian,  four sons and grandchildren, Bill and Karen Schlise and their children, Kelley and Joe; Paul and Krystee Schlise and their children, Jake and Zoe; Tom Schlise; Chuck and Tina Schlise and their children and their sons Nick and Nate; his sister Kathy and numerous nieces and nephews on both sides of the family.  He was preceded in death by his sister Donna.

A memorial mass will be conducted at Corpus Christi Church at 11:00 am on Saturday, June 17, 2023, with a luncheon to follow.  Friends may call at the church on Saturday from 10:00 am until the time of service.  Forbes Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.  Memorials may be directed to any of the organizations that Rod and Marian were involved with.