Obituaries are a service of Brainard Funeral Home & Cremation Center, with locations in Wausau and Weston.

Alvin Zvoda

“There’s one more angel in heaven, there’s one more star in the sky… there’s one less place at our table, there’s one more tear in our eye.” My dad is that angel, he passed away this afternoon and if heaven is anything like I picture it, he’s playing baseball with my Uncle Bob or golfing with his buddies that went before him. While we are sad today, we will celebrate him on Friday.

Al was called for his tee time in heaven on Monday January 15, 2018.

Al was born August 27, 1927 in Kenosha, Wisconsin to Joseph and Katherine (Talaba) Zvoda. He was raised with an older sister (Vlasta) and brother (Russell) in Kenosha. He graduated from Mary D. Bradford high school excelling in sports and lettering in basketball and baseball.
After high school, he enlisted in the Navy (to get the GI bill so he could attend college). After leaving the Navy (three days early) he was off to Michigan State University pursuing a degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management and lettering in baseball. Along the way, he married his high school sweetheart, Margaret Johnson. He got his degree and they embarked on their next adventure. Now remember how he got out of the Navy three days early… well the Army then decided since he didn’t serve his full time, they would draft him to manage an officer’s club in Arkansas.

Now with his service to his country finally over, he returned to Michigan State to get a master’s degree in Institutional Management. Now it’s time to start a family, Amy came along first, followed by Michael. His work in food service took him to several locations around the country with family in tow. He’s worked in Indiana, Illinois, Washington D.C., York and Gettysburg Pa, and finally making it to central Wisconsin where he’s been since 1970.

Along with his jobs, he always found time to play with his kids and later his grandkids, in fact, he was usually the biggest kid in the group.

Another sport he took up and was passionate about was golf and he was quite a good golfer and enjoyed being a member of the Wausau Country Club for over 30 years, he passed that passion along to his children who always tried to beat him at the game. You could find him on the golf course with his buddies most days in the summer, an ageless game, he played into his 80’s.

Never one to sit idly by, he became a proficient woodworker making several pieces of furniture and some clocks and was always ready to cut out some craft things for Amy and Rose to paint.
Parkinson’s came along and slowed him down, he never complained only saying that no one should ever have to have that disease. He played cards with friends and went to breakfasts with his retirement group as long as the disease would let him.

His final years were spent at Pride TLC Assisted Living facility. He was treated with respect and kindness and loved all his caregivers. That brings us to Monday when it was finally his turn to go. Thanks to all at Pride TLC who took such good care of him.

Survivors include: Margaret (his wife of 67 years), children, Amy (Steve) Fronek, Rothschild, WI, Michael (Rose) Zvoda, Verona, WI, his four grandchildren, Samantha Fronek, Minneapolis MN, Max Fronek, Los Angeles, CA, Jason (Danielle) Zvoda, Littleton, CO and Kyle Zvoda, Madison, WI and great-grandchild, Kyson Zvoda, Littleton, CO.

Services will be on Friday, January 19, 2018 at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 503 Schmidt Ave, Rothschild, WI. Visitation from 10am to noon with the service at noon and lunch to follow.

And when thinking of Al’s life, I’ll leave you with a quote from Dr. Seuss…

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Garrett Douglas Peterson

Garrett Douglas Peterson, 37, of Wausau, passed away suddenly due to a snowmobile accident, on Sunday, January 14, 2018.

Garrett was born in Marinette, Wisconsin to Douglas and Susan (Williamson) Peterson. He met, fell in love and married Jamie Heise on May 7, 2011. Together they had two amazing children, Griffin and Hazel. Garrett was a very loving son, brother, father, husband and friend. He was always happy and had the best sense of humor. He had a smile that lit up the room and was loved by everyone that met him. Garrett had a true love of the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman, but most important to him were his family and friends. He was a very proud daddy and loved tremendously by his children. He enjoyed coaching and cultivating Griffin’s love for all sports. Garrett took great pride in his special relationship with Hazel, the apple of his eye. Garrett was a true partner to Jamie in every sense of the word and always knew the perfect way to make her smile. He enjoyed being at and helping his dad work on the cabin and made sure that he talked with his mom every day.

Garrett is survived by his wife and children, Jamie, Griffin and Hazel; his parents, Douglas and Susan and his sister, Courtney Peterson. Garrett is further survived by his Father and Mother-In-Law, Edward and Charlene Heise; his three sisters-in-law, Erika (Jon) Carlson and Laura and Christine Heise; as well as many beloved extended family members and friends.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Lloyd and Muriel Peterson; maternal grandparents, James and Jean Williamson; as well as his uncles, Melvin and Kevin Peterson.

Funeral services will take place at 4:00 pm on Sunday, January 21, 2018, at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 6205 Alderson, Weston, Wisconsin. The Rev. Raymond Connor will officiate. Visitation will take place from 1:00 pm until the time of services at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family for a trust fund to be set up for both Griffin and Hazel.

Garrett will be greatly missed. The family wishes to thank all of their family and friends for their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time and ask that we all hold our wonderful memories close and keep his spirit alive.

Phyllis Ashton

Phyllis Ashton, 91 of Weston, passed away in her home on Friday, January 12, 2018.

Survivors include her three children, Lynn (Bill) Spindler, Greg (Deb) Ashton, and Sue (Tom) Stefonik; eight grandchildren, Lisa (Shawn) Thomas and Amy (Erik) Evenson, Naomi (Sasha) Wisnewski, Natasha (CJ) Nichols, and Mikela Zuelsdorff, Trescha Kay (Charlie Giese), Brandon (Suki) Purdeu, Casie (Joseph) Wilcox; and four great grandchildren, Megan Nguyen, Ashton and Tanner Wilcox, and Navi Purdeu. Phyllis was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Ashton in 1995.

Funeral service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 18 at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 503 Schmidt Ave., Rothschild, WI. Rev. Rich Block will officiate. Visitation will be held from 1:30 p.m. until the time of service at the church. Interment will be held at Cemetery of the Pines in Boulder Junction, WI at a later date.

Brainard Funeral Home – Everest Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at

Vivian Ruechel

Vivian Nettie Ruechel, 94, Wausau, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

Vivian (and her twin sister Lillian, who survives) were born on August 28, 1923 in Wausau to the late Edward and Anna (Thyes) Ruechel. Vivian and Lillian went to school in the town of Maine and lived together all of their lives.

Vivian was employed at Connor Forest Industries for many years and she enjoyed traveling, crafts and caring for her family. Vivian was a life-long member of Salem Lutheran Church where she enjoyed worshipping. Vivian volunteered for many years at Dime & Dollar and Salem Lutheran Church.

Vivian is survived by her twin, Lillian, and sisters, Mildred Wurster, Wausau, Mabel Clemens, Cloquet, MN, and brothers, Elroy and Berden, both of Wausau and many nieces and nephews.

Vivian was preceded in death by her brothers, Floyd, Elmer, Adolph, Fred and Marvin.

The funeral service for Vivian will be at 1:00 PM on Friday, January 19, 2018 at Salem Lutheran Church, Wausau. Rev. Jeff Mahnke will officiate. Visitation will be from 11:00 AM until the time of service at the church on Friday. Entombment will be at Restlawn Mausoleum. Helke Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements; you may sign our family guestbook at

A sincere word of appreciation goes to Dr. Steven Nichols and Dr. Hamied Rezazadeh for their years of compassionate care for Vivian.

Jerry Sullivan

Jerry Sullivan, 89, of Wausau passed away on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at North Central Health Care Center.

He was born May 30, 1928 in Merrill to the late Lyndon “Dutch” and Helen (Zimmerman) Sullivan. In his younger years, Jerry was a gifted athlete playing for the Merrill Foxes football team and later recruited to play for the Baltimore Colts. He made a much better decision to marry the love of his life, Joan Stachoviak on June 30, 1951 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Wausau. They made their home in Wausau with Jerry working at Wausau Ironworks and later for Semco in Merrill until his retirement. He and Joan had also owned Sullivan’s Bar and Dance Hall in the town of Hamburg. Jerry was an avid bowler on several Friday night leagues, past member of the Wausau Jaycees, Wausau Moose Lodge and Fr. Rene Menard Council, Knights of Columbus, Council 1133 of Merrill where he had served as a Deputy Knight.

Survivors include his wife Joan of Wausau, four children, Lynne Voelz of Wausau, Susan Sullivan of Wausau, Patrick (Andrew) Sullivan of Deerfield, FL, Kelly (Kurt) Ritchie of Bastrop, TX, four grandchildren, Amy (Tim) Hein, Wendi (Chris) Weinkauf, Joshua (Valerie) Ritchie, Nicole (Joe Franco) Ritchie, three great grandchildren, Bryce Hein, Kevin (fiancé, Mariah) Voelz, Steve (Eryn) Hein, two great great grandsons, Camden and Jaxon, his brother, Daniel Sullivan of Merrill and special friends, Bob and Carol. Jerry was further preceded in death by his grandson, Andy Hoffman, son-in-law, DuWayne Voelz and sister-in-law, Nancee Sullivan.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, 1104 S. 9TH Ave., Wausau. Father Gerry Pehler and Father Peter Kieffer will concelebrate Mass. Burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery. Visitation will be Monday from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Helke Funeral Home, 302 Spruce St., Wausau and at the church on Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services. You may sign our family guest book at

We would like to extend a special thank you to the staff of Lake View Heights at North Central Health Care for the wonderful care and kindness they gave Jerry and our family.

Lydia Theresa Laska

Lydia Theresa Laska, 92, Wausau, loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother was called home to God and her precious Savior, Jesus Christ, on January 12, 2018. Lydia was born on Feb. 24, 1925 to the late Joseph and Valeria (Landowski) Burclaw in Torun, Wisconsin.

Her early years were spent working on the family farm. Later, during WWII she was a “Rosie Riveter” making Walkie-talkies and batteries for General McArthur in Milwaukee and Wausau.

On July 3, 1948, Lydia married Henry Laska and he preceded her in death on Jan. 11, 2015. They had met dancing at Colonial Ballroom. Mom loved to tell Dad that he would have to catch up with her, as she was 4 months older. As wife and mother, she was industrious in sewing, baking, canning, cooking and kissing “owies” away. Her fresh bread could be smelled walking up the driveway into the house. Mom worked hard washing clothes in the old wringer washer. Working many years as a salad lady for 2510 Restaurant, she created some recipes still favored today.

Lydia and Henry were founding members of St. Matthew Catholic Church in Wausau, which they attended regularly and volunteered until their health started to fail. Mom belonged to St. Jude Circle as a charter member nearly 60 years. She also belonged to the National Catholic Society of Foresters and was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary at the VFW, Post 388, where they awaited her homemade lemon pies that sold before being delivered for the spring dinners.

Mom would love up on her grandchildren with overnight stays, gifts, kisses, bingo and hugs, always making goodies and treats for them. She taught her children and grandchildren how to dance.

Mom and Dad worked as a team over the years making beautiful hand-woven rugs. As they collaborated with their colors and designs, a new piece of artwork was created. People still call wanting their rugs.

When Dad ended up in a nursing home, Mom visited him faithfully. It became 2-3 times a day, when she ended up in rehab in the same home. They always shared hugs and kisses, both loving and treasuring the song, “You Are My Sunshine”.

Though a quiet woman, Mom was courageous, industrious, intelligent, kind, patient, wise with common sense and had a good sense of humor. She loved dark chocolate and enjoyed puzzles, bingo and getting more Yatzees and large straights than anyone. On Saturday and Sunday mornings you’d see her feet moving to the Polkas & Waltzes that she listened to, even while sleeping. “Waltz of the Angels” was a favorite.

She is survived and will be deeply missed by her daughters, Diane, Cathy and Julie (Randy) Laska-Punke; five grandchildren, Christopher (Amber), Nicholas, Benjamin, Elizabeth and Abraham; great-grandchildren, Brenna and Barrett; and sisters, Teckla (Dave) Cline and Wanda. She was also preceded in death by her infant daughter, Mary Ann; brothers, Tony (Sadie), Leonard (Virginia), Emil (Lorraine), Daniel and Johnny; and sisters, Clara (Ray) Karch and Sylvia (Leo) Ksiozk.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 12:00 noon on Monday Jan. 22, 2018 at St. Matthew Catholic Church, Wausau. Rev. Peter Kieffer will preside. Visitation on Monday will be from 11:00 a.m. until the time of the services at the church. Burial will be at Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau. Family and friends may call from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., followed by a Rosary at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday at Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home 3400 Stewart Ave., Wausau.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Elaine D. Wiesman

Elaine D. Wiesman, 83, Wausau died Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at her home.

She was born February 21, 1934 in Wausau, daughter of the late Victor and Katherine (Nowacki) Krolikowski. On November 6, 1954 she married Joseph Wiesman at St. Anne Catholic Church, Wausau. He survives.

Elaine, aka “Clark” by her family was a homemaker and enjoyed raising her four children. Elaine was a long time officer/member of the Catholic Knights, Chapter #33, Wausau.

Survivors include her husband, Joseph Wiesman, Wausau, her four children, Kathy (Michael Pauls) Gruling, Wausau, JoAnn (Dave) Wiederholt, Muscoda, John (Florence Fasciano) Wiesman, Lake Barrington, IL and Carrie Wiesman, Madison, seven grandchildren, Mandy (Kirk Lornson) Thompson, Matthew (Shelley) Gruling, Alexandra (Ben Buzzelli) Wiederholt, Johnny Wiederholt, Nickolas Wiederholt, Austin and Evan Wiesman and one great granddaughter, Greta Gruling, as well as one brother and two sisters.

Besides her parents she was preceded in death by one brother and one sister.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, January 20, 2018 at the Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 3400 Stewart Avenue, Wausau. The Rev. Robert Thorn will officiate. Entombment will be in Memorial Chapel Mausoleum, Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau. Friends may call on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services all at the Stewart Avenue funeral home. Online condolences may be expressed at

Richard Ravonet

Richard Ravonet, 80, died Tuesday, January 16, 2018 under the care of Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services at Wausau Manor.

He was born May 29, 1937 in Wausau, son of the late Arthur and Agnes (Polus) Ravonet. On July 27, 1968, he married Judith Wagner at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Stratford. She survives.

Richard served his country in the United States Air Force. He worked for over 23 years at Pauley Cheese and retired from Wausau Coated Products. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and bowling. For many years he coached both men and women’s softball teams in the Marathon area.

Survivors include his wife, Judith Ravonet; brothers-in-law, Richard (Marilyn) Wagner, Don (Jeanette) Wagner, Herb (Dorothy) Wagner and John (Jane) Wagner; sisters-in-law, Barb (Marvin) Mohr and Christy (Greg) Yuenger; and many nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister-in-law, Janet (Wagner) Williams.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated 11:30 a.m. Friday, January 19, 2018 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Marathon. Rev. Msgr. Joseph Diermeier will preside. Burial will be in St. Mary Cemetery, Marathon. Visitation will be Friday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of services all at the church.

Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Marathon, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at

Frances M. Olson

Frances M. Olson, 65, of Weston passed away on January 15, 2018.

She was born to Russell and Elizabeth (Krake) Wiskowski on February 5, 1952. She is survived by her husband, William “Bill” Olson; parents Russell and Elizabeth; daughter Heidi (Brian) Oberstadt; siblings Christina Mandeville, Mark (Sue) Wiskowski, Michael (Bonnie) Wiskowski, Mary (James) Nechuta, Lisa (Paul) Krause; Uncle David (Pat) Krake, Aunt Carol (James) Gill, Aunt Ruth Thompson; and many nieces and nephews.Frances is preceded in death by her grandparents, brother Matthew Wiskowski and nephew Steven Wiskowski.

She loved spending time with her family and friends, gardening, and relaxing at the campground. As a perpetually hardworking, ambitious woman- she graduated from NTC with an associate’s degree at the age of 60. Retirement was well earned, and she enjoyed knitting, traveling, and leisure time with Bill. She spent years working with girls as a Girl Scout leader, and valued empowering and uplifting other women. Her smile and laugh were contagious, and she is known widely for her kind spirit and giving heart. You could always find her on the dance floor at any party, and her love of life was evident among her family and friends. She was eagerly awaiting the birth of her first grandchild this summer.

Visitation will be held at St. Therese Catholic Church, Rothschild, on Monday, January 22, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. until the time of Mass at 11:00 a.m.   Father Al Sloviak will be officiating. Burial will follow at Gate of Heaven. John J. Buettgen Funeral Home is assisting family at this time. On line condolences can be made at

Mary Schmidt

Mary L. Schmidt, 79 of Wittenberg, died unexpectedly on Sunday, January 14, 2018 at Atrium Post Acute Care in Wisconsin Rapids.

She was born on January 3, 1939, the daughter of the late Raymond Koeller and Hazel Stickney of Wittenberg. On December 6, 1958, Mary was united in marriage to Vernon Schmidt at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Wittenberg. They celebrated 55 years of marriage until he preceded her in death on September 7, 2014.

Mary was a class of 1957 graduate from Wittenberg High School. She was a lifelong member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Wittenberg. She was a devoted wife and mother, and loved spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mary and her husband were dairy farmers, and together they enjoyed raising their 5 children, traveling, camping, and playing cards. For many years, Mary worked as a cook at the Wheel Inn Restaurant in Wittenberg. She was an amazing cook, and was also known for baking and decorating wedding and birthday cakes. Mary loved her many pets, and old time country music. She was especially fond of trains, stemming from her childhood memories of riding along with her father who was an engineer.

Mary is survived by her mother, Hazel Brown of Wittenberg; 5 children, Pam Schmidt of Plover, Mark Schmidt of Shepley, Daniel (Susan) Schmidt of Wittenberg, Karen (Mike) Van Dyn Hoven of Briarton and Patti Schmidt of Stevens Point; 6 grandchildren, Meghann Sweeney, Jennifer (Wade) Schram, Laura (David) Mindykowski, Nathan (Jamie) Van Dyn Hoven, and Jacob Van Dyn Hoven and Paige Diedrick; 9 great-grandchildren, Christian Sweeney, Tyler and Ashley Weller, Jacob and Kaylee Schram, David Mindykowski Jr., Blake and Tucker Van Dyn Hoven and Amelia Van Dyn Hoven; one brother, Ron (Kathryn) Koeller of WV; and many nieces and nephews.

Mary was preceded in death by her father; step-father, Don Brown; husband; one brother, Raymond Koeller Jr.; sister, Gail LaPorte; her foster parents, Erv and Ellen Klaves, and Joe and Louise Long; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Jean (Paul) Schoessow, La Vaune Schmidt, Armin Schmidt and one niece, Anne Pruess.

The funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, January 19, 2018 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wittenberg. Rev. Matthew Christians will officiate. Inurnment will be in St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery at a later date. Visitation will be on Friday from 9:00 AM until the time of service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the American Diabetes Association, 2800 Royal Ave. Suite 207, Monona, WI 53713]
Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg is assisting the family with arrangements.Memories and condolences may be shared at or at Schmidt Schulta Funeral Home on Facebook.

Kurt Paul Schmitz

Kurt P. Schmitz, 58, Birnamwood, died unexpectedly on Monday, January 15, 2018 at Ascension St. Clare’s Hospital, Weston.

He was born on July 28, 1959, in Appleton, the son of the late Richard Schmitz and Marlene (Giese) Schmitz of Appleton.

On April 12, 1985, Kurt was united in marriage to Peggy Meagher in Appleton. She survives.
Kurt was employed by New Page, Kimberly and then drove truck for Millard Trucking. An avid outdoorsman, Kurt enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping. He enjoyed tinkering out in the shed and was constantly sketching designs of equipment. Kurt loved heavy equipment and had several of them. He enjoyed the time spent with his family, and especially loved his grandchildren.

Kurt is survived by his wife, Peggy; four daughters, Rachel (Bill) Richards of Appleton, Renee Schmitz of Birnamwood and Roxanne Schmitz and Robyn Schmitz both of Hatley; three grandchildren, Erin, Ella and Eva; his mother, Marlene Schmitz; mother and father-in-law, Carol and Bill Breyer of Appleton; two brothers, Ken (Janice) Schmitz and Kebin (Kathy) Schmitz all of Darboy; one sister, Karla (Curt) Sims of Appleton; sister-in-law, Cindy (Don) Jenneman of Appleton, and two brothers-in-law, Jay (Molly) Breyer of Hortonville and Scott (Ann) Breyer of Appleton. Kurt is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service was held on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at Schmidt Schulta Funeral Home, Birnamwood.
Memories and condolences may be shared at or at Schmidt Schulta Funeral Home on Facebook.