Rudy Van Fleet

Rudy Van Fleet, 87, Columbus, passed away Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg.

Rudy was born May 25, 1931, to Duane and Gladys (Ewing) Van Fleet in the town of Forest, Richland County, Wisconsin. He graduated from the UW-Platteville and UW-Madison. He played basketball at Platteville and was later inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame as well as the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Rudy was married to Nancy Hughes on June 20, 1953. He farmed near Viola, Wisconsin, and later taught vocational agriculture at Ithaca High School and Columbus High School. Rudy spent 26 years with the University of Wisconsin Extension as a farm management agent in Columbia County. In later years, Rudy and Nancy traveled extensively around the United States and Europe. Rudy passionately took up pitching horseshoes in his retirement and became the secretary/treasurer of the Deansville Horseshoe Club. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Horseshoe Pitchers Association Hall of Fame in 2015. Even on evenings when pitching didn’t go so well, Nancy would ask, “But did you have a good time?” When Rudy would answer that he did, Nancy would reply, “Then that’s what matters.”

Survivors include his two sons, Jeffrey of Columbus, and Randy (Cara) of Muskego; his four daughters, Tracey (Rob) Riegert of West Allis, Robin (Tom) Bergan of Waterloo, Heidi (Mark) Callesen of Phoenix and Molly (Fotis) Tlas of Minneapolis; three grandchildren, Jacob (Abigail) of Waukesha, Alexandra of Milwaukee and Julia of La Crosse.

Rudy was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Nancy in 2015; one sister, Joan in 2011.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., with visitation beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Jensen Funeral & Cremation in Columbus, Chaplain Ken Heinritz will officiate. Interment will be in Hillside Cemetery in Columbus.

The family thanks the staff at Columbus Community Hospital, Palliative Care Unit at the University Hospital and Agrace Hospice for their loving care. A very special thanks to family friend Dobie Gutweiler whose help and support made the past several weeks so much easier. Memorials may be directed to Agrace Hospice Care.

Jensen Funeral & Cremation, Columbus, is serving the family. Visit

Published on the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen on January 21, 2019.