Dr. Roy J. Habeck, born Oct. 11, 1933, to Otto and Ida Habeck of the town of Richmond, Shawano County, Wisconsin, passed away on March 1, 2021.
Born the youngest of six surviving children in his generation, he was the only one who attended high school, and eventually earned a doctorate degree in educational administration.
After graduating from Shawano High School in 1951, Roy attended what is now UW-Stevens Point, graduating with a two-year degree in rural education. While there, he met Phyllis Hazelwood, also earning a rural education degree. The couple married on Aug. 29, 1953, shortly before they began teaching at Hancock, Wis., grade school. Roy also coached basketball, leading the boys’ team to a 7-3 record. While at Hancock, both children were born.
By his second year, Roy was a 20-year-old principal, for an additional $600 annual salary. That required more college education, so by attending summer school, he eventually earned a four-year bachelor’s degree, followed by a master’s degree.
In 1957, the couple moved to Adams, Wis., where Roy became the grade school principal.
Roy became the New Glarus, Wis., elementary school principal in 1960, then was promoted to superintendent in 1964. In 1966, he left the superintendent position to pursue earning a doctoral degree, granted in 1968.
While at New Glarus, Roy was an active member of the Lions Club, including service as president, headed up the 120th anniversary parade committee for the village, and actively helped the Labor Day weekend Wilhelm Tell play production. As superintendent, he oversaw creation of a junior high addition to the high school, began a wrestling program, and started a three-day study of earth science at Wyalusing State Park for sixth-graders.
Roy accepted a challenge by moving to Woodstock, Ill., to head up a larger school district. In his first year, three districts were merged into one. During his 15 years as superintendent, the district began variable scheduling to offer more class options for students, started an Outdoors Club program, and offered classes that constructed homes for sale. Athletic teams for girls began during his 15-year term. Roy also served as Lions Club president in Woodstock.
In 1983, Roy left school administration for a second career in agriculture, returning to the Shawano, Wis., area, including the farm that he grew up on. A dairy herd was sold in 1998, with conversion to crop farming, which eventually led to renting out the land.
Roy volunteered time with the NWTC technical school agriculture program and on a citizen committee for the Shawano School District. For years, he was a board member of the Navarino Nature Center, successfully applying for funds as a grants administrator. A lifetime member of the Shawano County Agricultural Society, he had entries win ribbons at the Shawano County Fair. He helped actively maintain the St. James Lutheran Church retreat for years, before returning to his original congregation at St. Jakobi Lutheran Church.
After his public school career was completed, Roy became politically active, serving on the Shawano County Republican Party Committee. He and Phyllis were named 8th Congressional District Volunteers of the Year, in part due to his extensive duties of installing signs and writing radio advertising spots. In 2002, his efforts helped his son defeat five other qualified candidates to become a circuit court judge in a nonpartisan race.
Roy was a Green Bay Packers owner and fan who attended the Super Bowl XXXI victory over the Patriots. He also followed UW-Stevens Point athletics along with the UW Badgers. He enjoyed fishing, but was more proud of sharing 49 years of deer hunting with his son.
Roy was predeceased by his wife of 67 years, Phyllis, and her siblings Don Hazelwood of Missouri and Bill Hazelwood of West Bend, Wis. Surviving is Phyllis’ twin brother, Phil Hazelwood of California, and sister, Ann Lydon of Jackson, Wis.
Roy was also predeceased by his siblings, Agnes (Zenon) Smolarek of Racine, Wis., Harold (Adeline) Habeck of Black Creek, Wis., Milton Habeck of Shawano, Ralph (Mary Jane) Habeck of Chicago, and Ruben (Charlotte) Habeck of Nichols, Wis.
Roy is survived by his son, retired Judge James R. (Penny) Habeck of the Shawano area, and his daughter, Jean Habeck, a teacher in Denver, Colo. Many nieces and nephews survive.
Mickelson Funeral Home of Shawano is assisting the family with arrangements.
A memorial service for Roy and Phyllis, who passed away in September, will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 6, 2021, at St. Jakobi Lutheran Church, W8089 County A, Shawano, WI 54166. Visitation is possible at 10 a.m. or later. Persons entering the church should wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Persons can attend the service without entering the church by parking nearby and tuning in to 104.5 FM.
In lieu of flowers, the Habecks would prefer contributions either to St. Jakobi Lutheran Church at the above address or to Navarino Nature Center, W5646 Lindsten Road, Shiocton, WI 54170.
The family thanks the staff at Heartland Hospice and The Cottages Memory Care units for their compassionate care.