Official Obituary of

Alton D Ask

November 16, 1937 ~ March 16, 2024 (age 86) 86 Years Old

Alton Ask Obituary

Alton Dean Ask of Sparta, WI passed away on Saturday, March 16, 2024 at 6:01 a.m. Al was born on November 16, 1937, in Galena Township, Martin County, MN. Al grew up on the family cattle and grain farm near Butterfield, MN. He was confirmed at First Lutheran Church, St. James, MN and graduated from St. James High School in 1955. Al continued his education at St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, graduating in 1959 with a Biology major and Chemistry minor. The fall of the same year, he began teaching eight grade Math and Science, in Sparta School District. While teaching, Al earned a master’s degree in guidance from Winona State University. Six years into his Sparta teaching tenure, he assumed the role of middle school counselor. A position he held for 30 years, until he retired after spending his entire 36-year career in the Sparta School District.

Al strongly believed in developing student leadership. He served as the yearbook and student council advisor. Al’s work with kids extended beyond the local level. He took on statewide responsibility as Director of Middle School leadership workshops, for the Wisconsin Association of School Councils. Al spent 46 summers facilitating leadership workshops for over 11,500 Wisconsin students. In 2002, the Wisconsin Association of Middle Level Education recognized Al with the Friend of Middle Level Education Award, for his contributions to the profession of education, and the statewide impact he had on Wisconsin Education Programs.

Al was always a big supporter of high school athletics. He started serving as boys’ basketball scorekeeper in 1959, and then took on the role of football statistician in 1960. Al only missed a handful of games for each sport for the 6+ decades he kept stats until his recent passing. He compiled individual and team stats for both sports and published history books for each sport that he’d update annually. His historical research dated to 1894 for football, and 1952 for basketball (The first year Sparta joined the South Central Conference). AL would also tutor players after school on late practice days, to ensure they maintained their eligibility.

Every year since 1994, Al presented scholarships to both a male and female basketball player who made a significant contribution to the team, displayed excellence in leadership, sportsmanship, scholarship, and citizenship; both on and off the court. Al personified humility, dignity, and respect; and his legacy shall continue, as he left funding in place to support six different scholarships to Sparta students, annually.

Al was inducted into the Sparta Athletic Wall of Fame in 2000. He was further honored in 2009, by the Sparta School District, with the naming of Alton D. Ask Gymnasium, for his 50 years of service to that point. In 2010, Al was inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport. He also received the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association Distinguished Service Award in 2009 and 2021. Al served professional educators as President of the Sparta Education Association, chairperson of the negotiating team, and serving on the WEAC Welfare Committee. As a faith-based volunteer, he served as his church’s treasurer for nearly 3 decades and was on the church council for several terms. In his spare time, Al enjoyed researching family genealogy in Europe, Scandinavia, and any state he could trace a relative to.

Al was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Laura (Moeller) Ask; and his niece DeeAnn (Ask) Peterson.

He is survived by his brother, Darrell (Leora) Ask of Butterfield, MN; niece, Lorelei (Ask) O’Connor of Midlothian, VA; nephew, Mitch Ask of Plymouth, MN; and multiple great, and great-great nieces and nephews.

A memorial gathering will take place at the Alton D. Ask Gymnasium, 506 N. Black River St. Sparta, WI on April 28, 2024, starting at 9 am, with a service following at 11:30 am; with Reverend Josh Buzbee officiating. Al will be remembered and interred at the Fairmont Memorial Park Cemetery, 2301 Memorial Park Dr. Fairmont, MN on April 30, 2024 at 2pm.

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Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements.

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April 28, 2024

9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Alton D. Ask Gymnasium, Sparta High School
506 North Black River Street
Sparta, WI 54656
Guaranteed delivery before the Visitation begins

Memorial Service
April 28, 2024

11:30 AM
Alton D. Ask Gymnasium, Sparta High School
506 North Black River Street
Sparta, WI 54656
Guaranteed delivery before the Memorial Service begins

April 30, 2024

2:00 PM
Fairmont Memorial Park Cemetery, Fairmont, MN
2301 Memorial Park Dr. Fairmont, MN
Fairmont, MN 56031
Guaranteed delivery before the Committal begins


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