Emerich Josef Wechselberger


Emerich Josef Wechselberger, age 84 of Las Vegas, Nevada passed away peacefully on April 15, 2017. “Emery” was born in Dornauberg-Ginzling, located in the Zillertal Valley of Tyrol, Austria on Jan. 7, 1933. After completing an apprenticeship program in cabinet making, Emery and his good friend fellow musician Hans Rainer, wanted to see America. Emery said his good-byes, leaving his mother Maria, father Rudolph and three brothers, Manfred, Rudi and Peter behind. 

Emery and Hans made the long journey to Vancouver, B.C. There, they worked on a farm for room and board, eventually immigrating to Vancouver B.C. in 1953. With his musical background in singing and playing the guitar, zither and clarinet, he and Hans brought their talents to the local German Club where Emery met his future bride, Gerda. Emery worked in construction building homes while steadily playing the music he loved. He and Gerda were married in 1959, and soon after their first child Linda was born.

Emery took notice of the real estate development opportunities in Seattle and started his own construction company, “Emery’s Construction.” As his construction business grew, so did the Wechselberger family; their son Eric was born and less than two years later Roy made his appearance. Emery and Hans continued playing music, eventually joining the Herbert Marks Edelweiss band. They sang and yodeled in many venues around the Seattle area including Leavenworth, Washington. Emery fell in love with Leavenworth; it reminded him of his hometown in Austria.  

Emery saw many opportunities in the small Bavarian Village and purchased one of the last original buildings on Front Street. He moved his family to Leavenworth and renovated the building, opening the Hotel Tyrol and Restaurant. The entire family worked together running the hotel, restaurant and bier garden. Music was a constant in Emery’s life. He taught his son’s Eric and Roy to play the music he loved on their trumpets. They performed together with his lifelong friends Franz Schauer and Herbert Marks, throughout the U.S., Canada. 

With his sons, Emery constructed the Park Haus building at the far end of the park. He also renovated the old theater, now known as the Show Haus building and helped construct the first public restroom on Front St. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Royal Bavarians and the Rotary Club.

Emery and Gerda decided to retire to the sunny weather of Las Vegas…where every day is a beautiful day, as Emery would say. Gerda passed away in 2001. The love of his life, he missed her dearly until the end of his days. Emery continued to play his zither professionally in Las Vegas. He was also involved with the Knights of Columbus.

Emery is survived by his children Linda Snider, Eric, Roy and grandchildren Evan and Cara Snider, Troy, Luke, Laura and John. 

Celebration of Life will be held at Icicle Village Resort in Leavenworth, 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4. Buffet served. Remembrances can be made to the colon or lymphoma society of your choice. 

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