Floyd Laurence Zuehlke

Floyd Laurence Zuehlke, of Taylor, passed away on Friday, May 19, 2017, at St. David’s Hospital in Round Rock. He was 91 years and 11 months old.

He was born on June 17, 1925, in Thorndale, son of Charlie F. Zuehlke and Adella (Kirsche) Zuehlke. He was baptized on July 5, 1925, by Rev. F.H. Stelzer at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Thorndale, and he was confirmed at the same church on April 10, 1938. He remained a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Thorndale all of his life.

He attended grade school at St. Paul Lutheran School in Thorndale. He then attended and graduated from Thorndale High School in 1942.

After high school, Floyd attended the National Youth Administration (N.Y.A.) trade schools in Cuero and Corpus Christi. After finishing trade school, he came back to Thorndale to work for Schroeder’s Sheet Metal shop. While working there, Floyd also helped Emil Schroeder teach a government-sponsored welding school at nights until he was drafted into the United States Army in 1944.

Floyd went through basic training at Camp Walters in Mineral Wells. He was then sent to Fort Ord in California near San Francisco. From there, he was shipped to the island of Luzon in the Philippine Islands, He was Assigned to the 129th Infantry Regiment of the 37th Buckeye Division, fighting in the Philippine Liberation Campaign of World War II. After the war was over, Floyd was noted by the Army for his earlier training and skill as a welder. So the Army assigned him to the 410th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company of the 86th Division. He remained in Luzon and was placed in charge of the metal repair department with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served in this capacity until he was honorably discharged and returned home to Thorndale in December 1946.

His awards during the war included the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Campaign Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star, the Philippine Independence Ribbon, a Good Conduct Medal, the Victory Ribbon, and 2 Overseas Service Bars.

After returning home, he married Doris Joy Rieger also of Thorndale on July 11, 1948. Together they continued to live in Thorndale until Joy’s passing in 1989, after which Floyd moved to Taylor. But he always called Thorndale his home.

He opened Floyd’s Body Works in Taylor in December 1948, where his welding skills once again paid great dividends. He then bought Taylor Glass Co. in 1953, later incorporating the businesses under the name Floydco, Inc. He worked very hard building the corporation into what it is today, now employing upwards of 200 people. Floyd always maintained just the simple goal of wanting to provide good service and good help to others. He remained continually active in his businesses for 68 years until his death.

While living in Thorndale, Floyd was very active in the community. He was a member of the Thorndale Volunteer Fire Department for over 40 years. He served on many committees, fought many fires, and was an active participant in Thorndale’s first ambulance service. He was a Charter member of the Hill Johnson VFW Post 4009 in Thorndale. He held many offices at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Thorndale, including being its treasurer for 22 years. He was also on the Building Committee for the new church sanctuary that is still in use today.

Awards include once being named Thorndale Fireman of the Year. He was also named an Honorary FFA State Farmer, and was named Thorndale’s Citizen of the Year in 1989. He always supported the Chamber of Commerce in both Taylor and Thorndale.

Floyd always enjoyed hunting and fishing along with sports of any kind, especially watching football and baseball games. He was happiest when able to do these activities with members of his family and friends. He was an avid Texas Longhorn, Thorndale Bulldog, and St. Paul Lion fan. While living in Taylor he always really enjoyed going to Thorndale as often as possible to visit his homestead and ranch where his pet Longhorn steer, named “Mack,” resides.

Floyd is survived by his son, Floyd Zuehlke Jr. and wife Ann of Thorndale; grandson, Steven Zuehlke and wife Bryn, with two great-grandsons, Caden and Ty of Thorndale; grandson, Kevin Zuehlke and wife Alecia, with one great-granddaughter Riley of Hutto; and one niece Shirley Williams of Spicewood. He is also survived by special friend Helen Urbis of Taylor. Floyd was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Joy, and his brother Raymond Zuehlke.

Pallbearers are Brian Balusek, Jody Hilton, Michael Miller, Stephen Niemtschk, Gary Wiede, and Lloyd Zuehlke. Honorary Pallbearers are Ed Betak, Jerry Biar, Calvin Mitchell, Larry Roepke, and Earl Wuensche as well as members of the Thorndale Volunteer Fire Department and VFW Post 4009.

Visitation is at Providence Funeral Home in Taylor on Tuesday, May 23, from 5-8 p.m. Services are at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Thorndale on Wednesday, May 24, at 2 p.m. with burial following in the Church Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Thorndale St. Paul Lutheran Church and School General Fund.