Past Grand Master Perry A. Risberg, 93, of Hayward, Wis, passed to the Lodge Eternal on Tuesday, November 23, 2010, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota.
Bro. Perry was born on August 21, 1917, in Whitehall, Wis., to Walter and Dora (Brandon) Risberg. His family moved to Hayward when he was in high school and he graduated from Hayward High School. He then attended and graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison, with accounting and law degrees. After receiving his law degree, his first job was as an insurance claims adjuster. Later he moved back to Hayward and with his father, started a real estate business. Hayward has been his home ever since.
On March 5, 1949, he married Genevieve Johnson of Hayward. Their extended honeymoon took them to the Western and Southern U.S. and into Mexico. He was a wonderful father to their daughter, Martha, and warmly welcomed his son-in-law into the family when Martha married Jon Heisel. When his grandsons, David and Matt, were born, it was a true highlight in his life.
Bro. Perry had many diverse interests. He was active in the recreational real estate field, developing lakeshore land and building many cabins. He was instrumental in the planting of thousands of pine trees in the Hayward area, knowing future generations would enjoy them. He had an active faith life and was pleased that he had the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the building committee for First Lutheran Church in Hayward. He also accepted various area and state leadership positions, including serving as a Trustee of Northland College, a Director of Lake Superior District Power Company, and a Director of the Peoples National Bank. An important part of Perry’s life was his involvement in the Masonic fraternity, and again he took leadership roles, including serving as Grand Master of all Masons in Wisconsin.
Bro. Risberg served Freemasonry for over 60 years. He was raised in Keystone Lodge No. 263 on Sept. 24, 1950. He was Master of his Lodge in 1955 and served the Masons of Wisconsin as Grand Master in 1968-69. He also served as Grand Secretary in 1970-71. During his term as Grand Master major revisions of the “Masonic Code of Wisconsin” were completed. Under his direction the Grand Lodge published a pamphlet. “What is Freemasonry?”. Bro. Risberg is an Honorary Past Grand Master of Minnesota. In 1984 he helped found the Chippewa Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine. Bro. Risberg was a member of York Rite, an Honorary 33˚ member of Scottish Rite and a member of Shrine.
Bro. Perry and his family enjoyed travel, especially in their Airstream trailer, and made many trips in it throughout the U.S. and even to Mexico and Guatemala. They also visited other parts of the world, always playing the role of goodwill ambassadors, inviting people to come and visit in Hayward. They spent many winters in Arizona and although they enjoyed all their travels, Hayward was always home.
Bro. Perry is survived by his daughter, Martha Heisel, and her husband, Jon, of Burnsville, Minn.; grandson David Heisel and his wife, Tiffany, and great-grandson Kai of Savage, Minn.; and grandson Matthew “Matt” Heisel, of New York, N.Y. He is also survived by nephews Michael McCoy, Gregory (Diane) Johnson, and Charles Smerick, and other extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, Genevieve; his parents; his sister, Marie Risberg McCoy Taylor; and his niece, Debra Johnson Smerick.
Bro. Risberg’s funeral service was held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, December 3, at First Lutheran Church in Hayward. Interment was in the Greenwood Cemetery in Hayward. Memorials can be made to either First Lutheran Church or the church or charity of your choice. Anderson-Nathan-Koerpel Funeral Home assisted the family.