Eugene Ewig

Eugene W. Ewig was born into a commercial fishing family, and he fostered the family business through his lifetime in Port Washington.

Mr. Ewig was the third generation of fishmongers who operated Ewig Bros., the last remnant of Port’s once thriving commercial fishing industry.

He wasn’t a commercial fisherman but ran the business side of the operation, his son Jeff said.

“It really fit his persona, being around people, talking to them, cooking for them,” his son said. “He was such a sociable guy.”

But it wasn’t just fishing that defined Mr. Ewig’s life. He believed in giving back to the community, and spent more than 40 years on the Port Washington Parks and Recreation Board.

“If you drive around this city of 30-some parks, you can’t go far without being in one he had a hand in,” his son said.

Mr. Ewig also served on the city’s Plan Commission, the Chamber of Commerce and the Port Washington Kiwanis. He was president of the Kiwanis Club for a time.

Mr. Ewig, who was best known as Gene, died Thursday, May 10, at Lincoln Village in Port Washington, where he lived for the past year.

He was born in Port on Dec. 21, 1929, the son of Elmer and Antonia Walus Ewig.

His family moved the fishing operation to Sheboygan in 1935 because Port’s harbor was considered unsafe for the fishing boats, returning only after the harbor was dredged and it was deemed safe for the fishing tugs.

Mr. Ewig learned the fishing business by living it, working on weekends and during the summers.

After graduation from high school, Mr. Ewig joined the U.S. Army, serving from 1952 through 1953, during the Korean War. He achieved the rank of corporal.

After completing his service, Mr. Ewig married Delores “Dorie” Stoelb of Sheboygan at Holy Name Catholic Church in Sheboygan.

The couple lived in West Allis before moving to Port Washington in 1962.

Mr. Ewig earned a degree in business from the University of Wisconsin, then took a job with JC Penney in Sheboygan.

He didn’t stay with the retailer for long, instead opting to return to the family fishing business.

“There really is nothing like working for yourself,” his son said. “It’s a lot of work, but he was a good businessman. He did a lot of juggling, between the business, family, his work with the city and civic groups.”

Mr. Ewig expanded the fishing business, building a delicatessen next to the Ewig Bros. smokehouse on the west slip. Featured on the menu were fresh, fried and smoked fish — particularly the chubs that were a specialty of the family business.

The business remained in place through the 1970s, until a fire destroyed the original smokehouse. The family then built a new one on the west side of South Wisconsin Street, where Ewig Bros. is housed today and operated by Mr. Ewig’s son Jeff and grandson Matt.

As a member of one of the city’s fishing families, Mr. Ewig took particular joy in Fish Day, serving on the Fish Day Committee and as the festival’s grand marshal one year.

Mr. Ewig had a passion for sports, his son said. He loved going to Wisconsin Badger, Green Bay Packer and Milwaukee Brewer games, and was an avid bowler, participating in leagues around Ozaukee County for more than 30 years.

But he especially loved playing golf, his son said, often playing three rounds a week with his wife and friends, including Roger and Jimmy Berger and Duffy Spiro.

Mr. Ewig also enjoyed spending vacations at a cottage on Maiden Lake near Townsend, where his extended family would gather in summer.

Mr. Ewig is survived by his sons Jeffrey (Debra) of Port Washington, Michael (Kimberly) of Virginia Beach, Va., and James (Susan) of Superior, Colo.; grandchildren Leah Pinkowsky, Matt, Andrew (Alesha), Jack and Erin Ewig and Rachel Sneed; and three great-grandchildren.

He is further survived by his companion Madelyn Meyer of Holy Cross; sisters Betty (Russell) Anderson of Menomonee Falls and Donna Suscha of Sheboygan; and sisters-in-law Corrine Ewig of Florida and Carol Ewig of Cedarburg.

In addition to his wife Dorie, who died on Oct. 19, 2007, Mr. Ewig was preceded in death by his daughter Barbara Pinkowsky; sisters Virgil Leonard, Dorothy Hoell and Shirley Hickman; brothers Elmer Ewig and Frank Ewig; and brothers-in-law Paul Leonard, Al Hoell and Jerry Hickman.

A Mass of Christian burial for Mr. Ewig will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at St. John XXIII Parish, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in Port Washington. Father Patrick Wendt will officiate.

Visitation will be at the church Thursday from 3 p.m. until the service.

Interment with military honors will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Port Washington.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Poole Funeral Home, Port Washington.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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