Bennett J. Habel

Bennett J. Habel, 88, of Holy Cross, died Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, at his home, of natural causes, surrounded by his family.

Visitation was Thursday, Jan. 23, at Kramer Funeral Home in Holy Cross.

Funeral services were Thursday, Jan. 23, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, North Buena Vista, conducted by Rev. Marvin Bries.

Burial was in the church cemetery.

Bennett was born May 7, 1925, in Balltown, the son of John and Veronica (Hansen) Habel. He married Kathleen “Kay” Hefel on Oct. 15, 1947, in North Buena Vista. Together they farmed on the family farm near North Buena Vista for most of their lives. Benny also hauled for the Balltown creamery for many years. He was a member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus and the National Farmers Organization. Benny loved to play the accordion with his brother, Cy and nephews, a group called, “Benny and the Hemorrhoids,” and any others who would join them. He also loved woodworking and fixing broken things from his shovel to a broken toy.  He enjoyed western TV, movies and books, making and drinking wine and drinking lots of warm beer in his younger days. He loved to work in the fields, garden and spend time in his workshop, and he received several conservation awards.  His greatest achievement was his love for his wife of 66 years, kids, grandkids and great-grandkids who will remember his famous two-handed waves when they left the house.

Survivors include his wife, Kay; his children, Cheryl Urbalejo of Guttenberg and Deb (Spider) Koetz of North Buena Vista; 10 grandchildren, John, Michael and Dustin (Jen) Urbalejo, Kelli Habel, Kim (Jacob) Breitbach, Kristine Habel, Ann Marie Habel, Randy (Norma) Koetz, Russell (Hillary) Koetz, Rhonda (Matt) Hefel; 12 great-grandchilden, Hunter and Paige Koetz, Kayla and Madalyn Breitbach, Evan, Alexys and Madden Urbalejo, Evelyn and Brooke Koetz, Jorgie, Gretta and Markie Hefel; two sisters, Stella McDermott of Benton, Wis., Darlene (Loras) Clemen of Dubuque and two sisters-in-law, Joanne Hefel and Stella Hefel, both of North Buena Vista.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two sons, Randy Habel in 1972 and John “Jack” Habel in 2013; one grandson, Jeremy Habel in 1999; a sister, Rose Habel; a brother, Cyril (Florence) Habel; in-laws, James “Bert” McDermott, Milton Hefel, John “Bud” Hefel, Matt Hefel, Marie Gansemer, Loretta Decker, Edith Gloeckner, Alvina Gassmann, Edwina Schmitt, Josephine Heiderscheit, Eleanor Cook and Arlene Hefel.

The family would like to say “tanks” to Benny’s homecare nurses for their many visits and wonderful care, and to the friends that visited frequently.

Online condolences may be left for the family at 

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