Aaron Alexander McIlheran, 81, of Burlington, died peacefully on Monday, May 7, 2018, among family at the Aurora Zilber Family Hospice in Wauwatosa.

Aaron, known to his sister as Alec and to most others as Alex, was born March 4, 1937, in Wichita Falls, Texas, to Aaron A. McIlheran and Dorothy (nee Bretherton) McIlheran. He grew up attending and serving as an altar boy at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Wichita Falls, and he graduated from Wichita Falls High School in 1955. He earned in 1959 a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets.

He then moved to West Allis to work for Allis-Chalmers as a mechanical engineer. While there, he met and fell in love with a young woman living in the house next to his apartment building. He and Florence Lydia Puschnig married at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church on April 27, 1963, and moved to College Station, Texas, where Alex earned his master’s degree in engineering.

After living a while in Minneapolis and West Allis, they moved to 10 acres of land west of Rochester, where they built a house, planted several acres of gardens, and raised sheep, chickens, ducks, rabbits, pigs, goats, a pony, a horse, the occasional steer — and nine children.

With children came community service, including turns as a Cubmaster for the Cub Scout pack at St. Thomas Aquinas School in Waterford and on the board of Catholic Central High School in Burlington. He also was a member of the Southeastern Wisconsin Sheep Association and the Burlington Historical Society.

Alex built constantly — cabinets, furniture, playhouses on stilts, fences, henhouses, barns, including a classic gambrel-roofed stone barn. He remained active in operating the farm until as recently as this past winter, when illness kept him from using the skill he acquired in recent years, that of shearing sheep. For many years, this was in addition to his full-time work as an engineer for the company known as Waukesha Electric when he retired in 2013, a company he’d worked for since 1970.

Alex is survived by his wife, Florence; his children, Patrick (Janine) McIlheran of Stafford, Va., David (Shana) McIlheran of De Pere, Paul (Kathryn) McIlheran of Brookfield, Adam (Roberta) McIlheran of West Allis, Carl (Renee) McIlheran of Channahon, Ill., Phillip (Jessica) McIlheran of Avalon, Emily (Dan) Pinto of Wauwatosa, Marlene McIlheran of Wauwatosa, and Joseph (Jamie) McIlheran of Saukville; his sister, Dorothy Mae Eason of Wichita Falls, Texas; his brother- and sister-in-law, Ronald (Sandra) Puschnig of Monroe, Tenn.; 21 grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews, and numerous friends at the Catholic parishes of St. Thomas Aquinas in Waterford and St. Charles Borromeo in Burlington.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:00 Noon on Friday, May 11, 2018, at St. Charles Borromeo, 440 Kendall St., Burlington. Burial will follow at St. Charles Cemetery. Visitation for family and friends will be Thursday, May 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Schuette-Daniels Funeral Home.

In reflection of his generous spirit, the family suggests memorials to Catholic Central High School in Burlington or to the American Cancer Society.

Well-wishers may visit www.danielsfamilyfuneral.com

 

 

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