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Obituary for Ernest S. "Ernie" Micek

Ernest S. "Ernie" Micek, 84 of Dresbach, MN passed away peacefully following a long illness on October 29 with family members and caregivers by his side. Ernie was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Maggie, sister, Florence Giemza and brother, Dominic. He is survived by his loving wife Sally (Gautsch) of 62 years. Ernie and Sally are natives of Arcadia, WI and are graduates of Arcadia High School. Also survived by children Scott (Liz), Stephanie Luetkehans, Jennifer Micek and Mollie (Jeff) Preston, 10 grandchildren, one great-granddaughter and sister, Phyllis (Greg) Ziegeweid. His life was an amazing journey. Born in Arcadia Wisconsin on February 18, 1936, he grew up on a small, rocky and hilly farm where he was instilled from an early age with the values of family, faith, and hard work. Following graduation in 1959 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a degree in Chemical Engineering, he went to work for Cargill, Inc. There he saw a gradual ascent from night shift supervisor at an oilseeds plant in Norfolk, VA to the pinnacle of one of the worlds largest corporations over a span of 42 years, when he was elected in 1995 as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cargill Inc. Despite years of global responsibilities and travel, he never lost sight of his roots, retiring in August 2000 to a home on the Mississippi River with a nearby hobby farm in the bluffs. Ernie did not slow down one bit, giving back by applying his wealth of managerial experience to service in the areas of global affairs and education. Just a few of many examples include appointee to the President’s Export Council, Asian-Pacific Economic Council, and Chairman of the Emergency Committee for American Trade. He was part of the President’s Trade Mission to Africa in 1998, and was a member of President Bush’s Transition Team on Trade. He served as co-chair of the Advisory Board of the World Agricultural Forum alongside a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and has testified before various House and Senate committees relating to trade matters. He has made numerous speeches, including addressing The World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle in 1999. He served for 18 years as a director of Schneider National, Inc. of Green Bay, and 5 years as a director of Kwik Trip, Inc. of La Crosse. He has served as member of the Board of Overseers of the Carlson School of Management, Member of the Board of Trustees, University of St. Thomas, and Viterbo University, La Crosse. At his beloved University of Wisconsin alma mater, he served 17 years on the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), chairing many sub-committees, and was a Director and Chairman of the Morgridge Institute for Research. Many awards and accolades received include honorary Doctor of Science Degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the South Dakota School of Mines, recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Coya Knutson Humanitarian Award for his support of students and their educational achievements, and the 2015 Viterbo University Pope John XXIII Award for Distinguished Service. Our family is forever blessed by having had such a great man in our midst. He will be sorely missed. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to: Morgridge Institute of Research, Due to the pandemic, services will be limited to a private family memorial in Dresbach, MN. Interment is on Saturday, November 7, 2020, 1 pm at Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, La Crosse, WI. Please observe all Covid protocols. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, La Crosse is handling the local arrangements.