Philip James Isenberg, 96, formerly of Marinette, Wis., Kansas City, and Eureka Springs, Ark., passed away peacefully at Good Samaritan’s Home in Denton, Texas, on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. He was born in Menominee, Mich., on June 15, 1923, the middle child of Walter C. Isenberg and Evelyn (Karnopp) Isenberg of Marinette.
    Phil was very close to his grandparents. His grandfather, Carl Isenberg, immigrated to Wisconsin from Berndorf, Waldeck, Germany in the 1880s with two brothers. The “Isenberg Bros.” became noted Sauk County general contractors as well as builders for the Ringling Brothers Circus. They constructed many of the Ringling mansions and circus buildings in both Baraboo, Wis., and Florida. His grandfather, Lewis Karnopp, was a dedicated physician in Manitowoc County, Wis. His grandmother, Edith (Moore) Karnopp, taught him to swim and love sweets. His grandmother, Ida (Siebecker) Isenberg, was the sister of Robert Siebecker, the 9th Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Robert Siebecker was also the brother-in-law of Wisconsin’s famous progressive politician, Robert La Follette.
    Phil graduated from Marinette High School in 1941. He was an accomplished scholar and athlete, going on to win many awards in tennis and table tennis. He went to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., for one year intending to be a physician, but his academic career was interrupted by World War II. He enlisted in the Army, serving in the Medical Corps in North Africa, India, Burma and China, where he “flew over the Hump” (Himalayas). It was during the war that he lost his three best friends (Barton Tideman, Richard Duer and Stephen “Buddy” Boren), a trauma that deeply affected him and gave him a true appreciation of life from an early age. The lone survivor of this friendship group, Phil came home to attend the University of Wisconsin, graduating with a degree in biology. He married Ruth M. Nelson of Madison following graduation. Phil came back to Marinette at the age of 81 to honor his “Four Musketeers” friendships, leaving a poem at each of his friends’ graves (EagleHerald, Oct. 22, 2004).
    Phil was a man of contagious enthusiasm, emotional wisdom, and adventurous spirit. He had many talents and interests: tennis, golf, table tennis, competitive chess and checkers, classical music, advanced flower and vegetable gardening, writing and publishing poetry, British and American history, extensive travel in England and Italy, classic British sports cars, and piloting small aircraft. He was at various times an insurance agent, owner of his own insurance agency, and owner with his second wife, Eileen, of State Line Greenhouses near Eureka Springs.
    Phil was beloved by his five children who survive: Ann Elizabeth Isenberg, Bow, N.H., Mary Ellen Wheeler, Overland Park, Kan., Mark Nelson Isenberg, Kansas City, Mo., Marjorie Edith Abel, Wakefield, Kan., and Carol Evelyn Dillon, Overland Park, Kan. He was the favorite grandfather to Bridget, Emily, Miles, Katherine, Laura and Hilary. He had five young great-grandchildren: Charlie, Madison, Brooke, William and Easton. He always had a ready supply of candy, cookies, German beer, salami and cheese when family visits happened. His blue eyes and beautiful smile will be deeply missed by his family who treasure all their memories of him.
    Phil was predeceased by his parents; brother, Walter Jr.; sister, Edith (Reed); and British-born wife, Eileen (Arnold) Isenberg.
    Cremation with burial is in Coppell, Texas.
    Private memorials will occur later at many Wisconsin locations special to Phil.