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Eight Bells: Al Haeger

Published on February 13th, 2023

Allan Robert Haeger, 74, of East Troy, WI, died surrounded by family on February 10, 2023. Al Haeger grew up in Westchester, Illinois, and after graduating from Proviso West HS, he attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where he majored in Engineering Physics.

During his third semester, he met fellow sophomore Linda Pauley; they married ten months later and celebrated their 54th anniversary this past August. Al started his teaching career at Central High School in LaCrosse, WI, but immediately recognized that he wanted to reach out to a broader range of students.

After getting a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois, he taught for many years at Joliet Central High School (IL). During this time, he and his family were active with the First Presbyterian Church of Joliet, where he served in a variety of lay leadership positions.

Following his teaching career, Al joined Commonwealth Edison/Exelon, where he held many managerial roles in various sectors. After his retirement, he obtained a position with Certrec, a nuclear power consulting firm.

His final venture was the co-founding of SailZing, a website dedicated to teaching competitive racing methods and offering resources to other sailors. Al came to the sport late in life, and he sought to create a convenient resource for mid-fleet sailors such as himself to find the best learning available and to become more competitive in the sport.

Al has served the Inland Lake Yachting Association (ILYA) wearing many hats. For many years he was the MC fleet representative. He was noted for the communication he provided the fleet but listening regularly to their desires via formal surveys and contact. Al led the charge with several others in the 2017 Fair Sailing initiative – an educational series to actively change behavior on the race course by teaching rules.

In the past year, he served the ILYA as chair of the Sailing Directors Council which is a body of sailing school directors who collaborate to improve the administration of local schools.

The ILYA honored Al with the Hunt Trophy for his endless work promoting scow sailing.

He is survived by his wife Linda, children Jeff (Bonnie) Haeger and Julie Bortoli, as well as grandchildren Jada and Jonah Boykin, Alexandra (Andrew) Horstman, Adelyn Haeger, and Luke Bortoli.

His sisters Laurie Kokenes, Barbara Popelka, and Lisa Haeger survive him, as do his cherished uncle Milt and a plethora of cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws.

Al’s life was defined by his faith, family, music, sailing, and creating meaningful relationships with others. He was a member of Mukwonago First Congregational Church, Lake Beulah Yacht Club in Wisconsin, Lake Eustis Yacht Club in Florida, and the Inland Lake Yachting Association (2022 Member of the Year).

Visitation will be Friday, March 3, 2023 from 4-7 p.m. at the Schmidt & Bartelt funeral home, 930 Main Street, Mukwonago, WI, 53149. A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, 2023 at the First Congregational Church, 231 Roberts Drive, Mukwonago, WI, 53149. Following the service, a reception will be held at Lake Beulah Yacht Club, N9220 East Shore Road, East Troy, WI, 53120.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the First Congregational Church of Mukwonago, WI, the Advanced Care Center/Froedtert Hospital of Wauwatosa, WI or ProMedica Hospice of Kenosha, WI.

Source:, MC Class, SailZing

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