John R. Lichtenberg

Rural Portage – John R. Lichtenberg, 68, of rural Portage, passed away at UW Hospital in Madison on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, surrounded by close friends/family, following an extended illness.

John was born in Watertown, Wisconsin, the day after Christmas in 1949 to H. Robert Lichtenberg and Catherine Clark Lichtenberg. He graduated from North Fond du Lac High School in 1968 and studied Music Education at UW-Platteville, from which he received a Bachelor’s degree in 1972.

He taught music in the school districts of West Grant (WI) and Polo (IL) and later taught percussion students at Beloit (WI) College. During his time at Polo, he worked toward a Master’s degree in music at the University of Illinois, where he was a low brass student of Daniel Perantoni.

He left teaching in 1977 to pursue a career in sales, working for several companies, prior to establishing his own company, Camelot Marketing; a highly successful venture which he operated from his home in Rockford IL. During this time, John received an M.B.A. degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

John’s passion for music never left him and during his time in Rockford he continued to pursue many playing opportunities as a brass player and skilled percussionist, notably establishing and leading the Gardenia Bands. The Gardenia Big Band played for hundreds of events over the years in the Rockford, Beloit, and Madison area:  concerts, jazz festivals, weddings, dance clubs and so many others.

He was a devoted son to his mother during her final years and lived the last years of his life on the Clark family farm on Muskrat Road near Portage, where he worked the same fields as his grandfather and his beloved uncle, George Clark.

Along with music, John’s passions included traveling with Sharon and learning anything he could about a huge array of subjects. He was always “looking ahead” to the next challenge.

He is survived by his soulmate, Sharon Pederson; close friends: Rob and Dena Shepherd, Arthur and Claudia Hintz, Robert and Kathy Spargo, Terry and Melody Dillon; Goddaughter, Christina Shepherd; cousins, and many more close friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Catherine; uncles, George and Harold Clark; and his aunt, Irene Clark.

Funeral services will be held at Portage Presbyterian Church in Portage, Wisconsin, on Thursday, May 31, 2018, at 11:00 a.m., with Rev. David Hankins officiating. Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery, County Road AA in Lewiston Township. Visitation will be at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Greenwood Cemetery, P.O. Box 116, Briggsville, WI 53920.

Sharon and John’s friends would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the medical staff of the Trauma and Life Center of UW-Madison Hospital for their kindness and compassionate care. There ARE indeed “angels among us”!

John’s courageous battle is over, and reflecting his success in three careers, he has “taken the coda”, “closed the deal”, and “reaped a good harvest”.

Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.  



For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)