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Emil Picha
emil picha
Emil Picha, 1927-2015 - photo by Contributed/Picha Funeral Home

Emil Picha, age 87 years, of Hillsboro, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 at the UW Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin surrounded by his loving family.

He was born at the time of the Great Depression on Sept. 6, 1927 in Hillsboro, Wisconsin. His mother, Josephine (Bruha) Picha, died while he was a young boy in 1939 and he was raised by his brothers and sisters. Emil graduated from the Hillsboro High School in 1945; he then served in the U. S. Navy during the end of World War II in the Bikini Islands. Later, he served in the U. S. Army in Germany during the Korean War.

Emil came back to Hillsboro and operated a gas station for a short time and then decided to enter mortuary school in Milwaukee. He became a licensed funeral director in 1957, establishing the Picha Funeral Home in Hillsboro in 1962 and continued as a licensed funeral director for 58 years.

During the time he was stationed at Camp McCoy, he met his future wife, Doris Knutson, at a dance in Kendall. They were married on Aug. 21, 1954 at Fountain Lutheran Church, rural Kendall.

In addition to the funeral home in Hillsboro, they also operated a floor covering business and ambulance service. In 1983 they expanded to Elroy, purchasing the furniture store and funeral service there. He was also a member of  St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hillsboro, the VFW, served on the School Board and City Council.

One of his greatest joys was fishing in Canada. Starting in the mid 1970’s, he would go for a week in June with his children, but as he and the grandchildren became older, many times he could spend many weeks during the summer fishing and enjoying the wonderful peacefulness found there. When he no longer went North, fishing was replaced with cooking, dog sitting, traveling, attending grandchildren’s events and polka music on the RFD Network.

Emil will be deeply missed by his loving family, wife of 60 years, Doris; children, Gary (Helen) Picha of Wisconsin Dells, Mara Jo (Ron) Johnson of Mount Horeb and Alan (Nancy) Picha of Hillsboro; grandchildren, Gary John (Stacie) Picha, Angela (Brian) LaFleur, Claire Picha, Iris Picha, Kent Tengblad, Carey Tengblad, Rose Tengblad, Jacob (Jessica) Picha, Jenna Picha, Heather (Jesse) Daines and Nicole (Bryan) Barkley; seven Great Grandchildren; and sister, Evelyn Stowell of Hillsboro. He was preceded in death by his son, Donald Picha in 2014; brothers, Ernie and Earl Picha and sisters, Georgia Pacl, Velma Chalupecky, Helen Fanta, and Libby Janecek.

Funeral services were held on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 at 11 a.m. at  St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hillsboro. Burial with military rites  was in  the Mount Vernon Cemetery in Hillsboro. Friends called at the Picha Funeral Home in Hillsboro on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 from 2 to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church or the Hillsboro Excellence in Education Fund. For online information go to