Farm Animals 20

Ethan C. Emery

September 15, 1940 ~ March 28, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old


Ethan C. Emery, of Sullivan, Wisconsin died peacefully on March 28, 2023 surrounded by his family, at the age of 82.

Born to Ethan J. Emery and Agnes Wenzel at their home in Palmyra, Wisconsin on September 15, 1940, weighing only 3 ½ pounds, Ethan’s parents kept him warm by placing him in a shoebox next to the stove. Ethan grew up farming on the family’s farm, and was very active in FFA and 4H, holding numerous offices. He graduated from Palmyra High School in 1958, and later settled in Sullivan, Wisconsin. Ethan married the love of his life, Victoria Padfield, on November 14, 1964, at the Palmyra United Methodist Church. They met at the Turner Hall Ballroom in Watertown, where they both loved to dance. Ethan accidently tripped Vicki on the dance floor. After courting for ten months, they were happily married for almost 59 years.

Ethan was a member of the Wisconsin National Guard and was called up to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He spent time in Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Fort Leonardwood, Missouri (where he did his basic training), Fort Knox, Kentucky and Fort Lewis, Washington. Ethan survived a serious farming accident in 1981 that almost took his life six different times and kept him in the hospital for over nine months, including the intensive care unit for a significant portion of that time.

Ethan loved to travel, visiting Scotland, England, Africa, France, Sweden, Canada and Finland. He also saw many of the National Parks, including Sequoia, Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Custer National Park. Closer to home, he enjoyed family vacations to Door County, Bayfield, Crivitz, Wisconsin Dells, and Guttenberg, Iowa.

Ethan’s Ayrshire cattle played a huge role in his life, leading to many treasured friendships, memories, and opportunities. He loved to show his Ayrshire cattle almost as much as he loved to watch his children and grandchildren show them at numerous fairs. He taught all of his children and even some grandchildren to value agriculture and become expert showmen. Ethan and Vicki and their Valowhill cattle won numerous awards at the local, state, and national levels, including Jr. Grand Champion Female at the World Dairy Expo, and Wisconsin Distinguished Ayrshire Breeder. He produced many All-American cows during his career and was a respected Ayshire breeder not only in Wisconsin, but throughout the United States and even in other countries. He was President of the Wisconsin Ayrshire Association for several years and a lifelong member of the Association. He was especially honored in the late 1980’s when the National Ayrshire Association chose his farm to be part of the National Tour. Ethan and Vicki chaired the Wisconsin portion of the World Ayrshire tour that year.

Ethan had a love/hate relationship with the Packers, but absolutely loved the Girls State Basketball Tournament and watching NASCAR. He also loved bird watching, keeping an eye on the Rome Wildlife area, watching deer, turkeys, racoons, and other wildlife, stocking the wood stove to keep their home cozy, deer hunting, and searching for morel mushrooms. His greatest joy was spending time with his family.

Special thanks to Dr. Au and all nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, who cared for him in his final days. Also, a huge thanks to Dr. Nichols, Dr. Moritz, Dr. Williams, and Nurse Kay Wipperfurth, all from the Fort Atkinson Hospital, who saved his life 42 years ago, giving us 42 more years to love and cherish him.

Ethan is survived by: his loving wife, Victoria Emery of Sullivan, WI; his children, Nanette (Randy) Karls of Oregon, WI, Kay (Michael) Knilans of Janesville, WI, Kristine (Michael) Bauer of Juneau, WI, and Charles (Brenda Damrow) Emery of Sullivan, WI; his grandchildren, Ethan (Nikki) Karls of McFarland, WI, Alexis Karls of Madison, WI, Madelynn Knilans of Madison, WI, Morgan Knilans of Madison, WI, Jessica Bauer of Juneau, WI, Kenzie Emery of Madison, WI, Brynn Emery of Platteville, WI and Ian Emery of Sullivan, WI; his great granddaughter, Olivia Bauer; and his two sisters-in-law, Anita (the late Loren) Emery and Pat (the late Bernhard) Emery. He is also survived by a number of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

He is preceded in death by his father, Ethan, his mother, Agnes, his siblings, Loren Emery, Bernhard “Bernie” Emery, Larry Emery, Alice Emery, Wilma (Allen) Reich and Pat (Ken) Wallace.

A Celebration of Life Gathering will be held from 3:30PM until 7:00PM on Thursday, April 6, 2023, at Jansen’s Banquet Hall, 1245 Whitewater Avenue, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

Gibson Family Funeral Homes of Palmyra and Eagle, WI is serving the family. To place an online condolence, please visit

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ethan C. Emery, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life Gathering
April 6, 2023

3:30 PM to 7:00 PM
Jansen's Banquet Hall
1245 Whitewater Avenue
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538


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