Carl A. Wilk

Carl A. Wilk, 86, of Leavenworth, died Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011, at Providence Medical Center.

Carl A. Wilk

He was born Sept. 10, 1924, in Leavenworth, the son of Karl G. and Mary (Miller) Wilk.

After graduation from Immaculata High School, Carl entered the military service during World War II becoming part of the 8th United States Army Air Force (USAAF), 385th Bomb Group, 548th Bomb Squadron, where he served as the ball turret gunner on the B-17 bomber depicted in the book McCallister’s Last Mission by Bernhard Rodig, the “Always Ready”. His plane was shot down over Germany during their 30th mission, a bombing run over Schleissheim, Germany, and he was captured, becoming a Prisoner of War held at Stalag VII A near Moosberg Germany. During his WWII active duty, Carl was awarded the Purple Heart, Air Medal with three bronze clusters, and the EAME ribbon with three bronze stars. He continued his service to the nation in the United States Army Reserves after discharge from the USAAF, ultimately achieving the rank of Command Sergeant Major and receiving numerous commendations and awards. On the civilian side, he went to work at Fort Leavenworth, where he first worked as a dispatcher at the transportation motor pool. He worked his way up to the maintenance facility shop foreman supervisor, and after many faithful years of government service, retired from civil service. One of Carl’s loves and enjoyments was the game of baseball. The love for the game started early as he made it to baseball’s AAA level, playing catcher. He continued his involvement with baseball through coaching at the local level from T-ball through the American Legion Leagues, ultimately coaching both his sons and winning the local American Legion Post 23 league championship in 1979.

On July 12, 1951, he married Mable Scharer in Leavenworth. She preceded him in death on Aug. 21, 2006. He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Elizabeth (Betty) Maxwell and Jean Sharp.

Carl is survived by two sons, Carl A. Wilk Jr., and Kenneth L. and wife Laurie Wilk; three grandsons, Carl III, David and Eliott Wilk all of Leavenworth; a brother, William and wife Eileen Wilk; a brother-in-law, Walter (Buster) Sharp and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing and coaching. Carl was a member of the Eagles, American Legion, VFW and the Leavenworth County Fish and Game Association. He was a past Commander of the Leavenworth VFW.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011, at the R.L. Leintz Funeral Home. A funeral service will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial with full military honors will follow at Leavenworth National Cemetery. In Lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the American Heart and Lung Association.