Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc.

Search this site and our local communities. Wisconsin History Search Only

You may now join, or renew your SLAHS membership using your PayPal account, credit, or debit card.

Please use the following link to make a secure on-line payment.

About Us
Search this site
Monetary Donations

Artifact Donations

Buy A Brick Donation

Fundraiser Letter

Notable Links
Index to Wisconsin Brewery and Related Articles


Genealogy: Family Histories

Ravetta / Wierl Family

Compiled and Edited by Michael R. Reilly

Last Revised 03/07/2006

Descendants of Therese "Pat" Ravetta

Generation No. 1

1. THERESE "PAT"2 RAVETTA (FELIX1) was born 17 Mar 1930 in Yokohama, Japan, and died 12 Feb 2006 in Sussex, Waukesha, Wisconsin. She married ALVIN PETER WIERL 19 Jul 1958 in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Yokohama, Japan, son of MICHAEL WIERL and CECILIA GEBHARD. He was born 09 Dec 1923, and died 06 Nov 2005.



by Fred H. Keller, Staff Writer, Sussex Sun

February 22, 2006

Town of Lisbon-A former Lisbon town official was killed by a passing train Feb. 12.

Sussex emergency workers were notified of a possible person walking on the train tracks at about 4 p.m., just as several of them and their Lisbon counterparts were being honored at a service for emergency workers at St. James Catholic Church.

A search of the Wisconsin Central Railroad tracks north of Good Hope Road turned up the remains of Therese Patricia "Pat" Wierl, 75, administrative secretary for the Town of Lisbon from 1970 to 1995.

Described by friends as a private person she was extremely intelligent and spoke several languages.

She married Alvin Wierl on July 19, 1958, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Yokohama. They had met at the International Dairy Supply Co., where they both worked. He was 34 and she was 28.

Six years later, they moved back to Alvin's "hometown," the Lisbon-Sussex area.

Friends said Alvin's death Nov. 9, shortly before his 82nd birthday, devastated Pat. She was also shocked to learn from her doctor soon afterward that she had a recurrence of an earlier cancer and she had only three to six months to live.

A few local friends and relatives, knowing her problems and health, tried to help her cope, taking her to the doctor and the hospital and helping her clean up odds and ends of the family estate.

Pat had been planning to run errands Monday morning with a friend.

When they were unable to reach her by phone, Pat's friend and her friend's husband went to her house and saw the emergency workers and deputies across the tracks.

Pat is survived by sisters Minnie Tshanz of Bern Switzerland, Anna and Eulalie Ravetta of Yokohama, Japan, brothers and sisters-in-law, nephews, other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Felix and Helena Ravetta; siblings Frankie, Jules, Victoria and Kaneko and Ravetta brother-in-law Reudi Tschanz.

Services were held Saturday at St. James Catholic Church. Her ashes were inurned next to her husband Alvin's in the nearby St. James Cemetery columbarium niche.


The life story of "Pat" Wierl is almost stranger than fiction. This reporter had a chance to interview her some time ago, and what follows is an outline of her life's journey, from her birth to her tragic death Feb. 12.

She was born of Japanese and Swiss parentage. Her father, Felix Ravetta, of Swiss origin, was a businessman who traveled to Japan to start a joint business venture.

There he met and married a Japanese woman, Helena Imaia. They had eight children, six daughters and two sons, between World War I and World War II. Pat was born March 17, 1930, in Yokohama.

Just before World War II, Ravetta decided it was unwise to stay in Japan. He applied for passports to leave with his family for Switzerland or some other safer location to escape the impending confrontation he foresaw.

The Japanese government, however, ruled that, while he could leave, his children and wife would have to stay because they were Japanese citizens and needed for the impending war.

Ravetta was devastated. Not able to abandon his family, he went to Korea to run a plant during World War II.

All the same, he made sure all his children received the highest-quality education. Pat was educated at St. Maur's Catholic Convent and, later, at St. Joseph's College in Yokohama. She was 11 years old when the Japanese government attacked Pearl Harbor, and a 15-year-old when the war ended.

Meanwhile, a Lisbon farm boy, Alvin P. Wierl, born Dec. 8, 1923, was inducted into the U.S. Army just as World War II was winding down and was assigned to Japan.

But by 1946 the army had a problem-too many soldiers. They offered Wierl an early discharge, and persuaded him to take it in Japan as a civil service contractor, recognizing his outstanding abilities as a mechanic.

A specialist in refrigeration and air conditioning, he worked for the International Dairy Supply Co., a subsidiary of Foremost Dairies of California.

That was where he met Pat, who worked there as an executive secretary. They married on July 19, 1958, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Yokohama. He was 34 and she was 28.

The two remained with that company, working the next six years in Japan, Turkey, Greece and Spain, with some stops in the Far East in between.

Then in 1964, 18 years after Alvin left home, he and Pat moved to his "hometown," the Lisbon-Sussex area.

Alvin held various jobs with Sussex Mills Lawn & Garden and Hardiman Oil Co.

In 1970 Pat started working for the Town of Lisbon. She quickly learned all she could about the town, coming to know it inside and out.

As the town's administrative secretary, she provided quick but studied answers for every inquiry, with a friendly demeanor. Many said it was she who actually ran the Town of Lisbon for those 25 years.

Alvin and Pat also built a large house on a 10-acre slice of land on the west side of the Wisconsin Central railroad tracks north of Good Hope Road.

Alvin later became a local self-employed businessman in heating and air conditioning, working out of that home. He was also a local "sage" of the breakfast crowd at the downtown Sussex M&M Restaurant.

He died Nov. 9, shortly before his 82nd birthday.

İSussex Sun 2006


Wierl, Alvin Peter Age 81 years. Of Sussex. Sunday, November 6, 2005.

He is survived by his wife, Therese "Pat" (nee Ravetta); brothers, Vincent (Katherine), Leo (Mildred), John (Lois); sisters, Dorothy (the late Al) Kuhlmey, Audrey (the late Charles) Lancaster, Lucille (the late Richard) Olson and Joan (Donald) Brauch. Further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Cecelia (nee Gebhard); brothers, Walter and Ralph and a sister Dolores Wierl. A private Memorial Service will be held at St. James Historic Chapel, Menomonee Falls. If desired, memorials may be made to St. James Parish or the charity of the donor's choice.


A.A. Schmidt & Sons

Funeral and Cremation Services

N84 W17937 Menomonee Ave.

Menomonee Falls 262-251-3630

Published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on 11/9/2005.


Marriage: 19 Jul 1958, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Yokohama, Japan

Home / About Us  / Membership / Search this site

Copyright Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc., , 2002 - 2016, Except as noted: All documents placed on the website remain the property of the contributors, who retain publication rights in accordance with US Copyright Laws and Regulations. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, these documents may be used by anyone for their personal research. They may be used by non-commercial entities, when written permission is obtained from the contributor, so long as all notices and submitter information are included. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit. Any other use, including copying files to other sites, requires permission from the contributors PRIOR to uploading to the other sites. The submitter has given permission to the website to store the file(s) for free access. Such permission may be revoked upon written notice to the website webmaster. Website's design, hosting, and maintenance are donated by Website Editor & Webmaster: Michael R. Reilly (Mike)