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John  Lewis

  • Visitation, Saturday January 2, 2021 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 7821 W. Lincoln Ave, West Allis from 11am-12:45pm
  • Funeral Service, Saturday January 2, 2021 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 7821 W. Lincoln Ave, West Allis at 1pm


Ficken, John Lewis, 84, of West Allis, Wisconsin, was born to eternal life with Christ Jesus on December 25, 2020. John was born September 14, 1936, in Redfield, Iowa, where he attended grade school and high school. He completed his B.S. Mechanical Engineering in 1958 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

John started as a Mechanical Engineer in West Allis, Wisconsin, with Allis Chalmers in January, 1959. He met Gretchen Koerwitz at a Sunday School teacher’s meeting at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in West Allis. They were married at St. Paul’s in 1962.

The family moved to Madison in the Fall of 1964 after son, John, was born so John Lewis could obtain a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering (completed Feb 1966). Family returned to West Allis and had an apartment at 99th and Oklahoma. David was born and the family bought a house on 80th street across from McCarty Park in West Allis. Paul was born to them while there.

John worked for Allis Chalmers for 23 years, until the company went through hard financial times and he was laid off. He worked for Marathon Engineers in Appleton, WI, for approximately two years, then returned to West Allis, and became an Associate Professor at MSOE in the Fall of 1987, where he taught several classes and positively impacted many lives until his retirement in 2015.

John served Jesus faithfully in several capacities while at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, including, as the President of the Congregation and an Elder.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Gretchen, on May 8, 2016; brother Gene Ficken; mother Gladys (née Ward); father Joseph. He is survived by his son John (Mona née Jaskie) and their children Matthew, Sarah (Gale Gibbens), Rachel, and grandchildren Dylan and Lelah Nguyen, Kathleen Gibbens (her daughter Anastasia), Logan Gibbens; his son Rev. David (Kris née Mack), and their children Rebecca, Tigist, and Abush; his son Rev. Paul (Nichole née Brook), and their children Timothy, Lily, Lucy, Nathaniel, Levi, Theodore, Obadiah, and Phoebe; his sister-in-law Naomi (Richard Dassow); his sister-in-law Janet Koerwitz (née Sekki); and his nieces and nephews.

Visitation Saturday, January 2, 2021, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 7821 W. Lincoln Ave, West Allis, from 11am to 12:45pm with funeral service at 1pm. Private interment Chapel Hill Cemetery. If so desired, memorials to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church appreciated.

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, everyone is asked to be patient and abide to social distancing guidelines. Everyone is welcome, and masks are required.


  1. Subha Kumpaty January 3, 2021 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    Dear children of John, my good friend at MSOE:
    I am Subha Kumpaty and we did Faculty Bible Studies together and taught ME courses together. I enjoyed the time with Jesus in John’s company. I would like to catch up with you all if you can connect. My email is SDG as John would pen on the top corner of his exams. I am sorry for your loss which is definitely heaven’s gain. John modeled what is to be conformed to the image of Christ.

  2. Jared Hoffmann January 5, 2021 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Family of John:

    Your father participated in a commuter Bible study during my years at MSOE. He was an encouragement to my faith. John spoke of what a blessing it was to have a spouse (who I now know to be Gretchen) that shared your faith. By God’s good grace I have recently been blessed with exactly that. Prayers are with you. What a blessing to know John is with his Savior.

    God’s grace.

    -Jared Hoffmann

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