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Wausau area obituaries, July 18

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

Frances “Fran” Rutherford

Frances “Fran” Behnke Rutherford, 95, of Schofield died on Saturday, July 14, 2018, at her home in Schofield with her husband, Jim, by her side.

Frances “Fran” Rutherford

Frances was born on Feb. 4, 1923, in Niagara, Ontario, Canada, to the late Ernest and Gwendolyn (O’ Toole) Pinder. She married Jim Rutherford on Oct. 3, 2009. Together they owned and operated Avenue Lounge on Grand Avenue. She was a hard worker. She lost her mom at the age of 9 and was sent to Canada to work on the farms in the summer. She worked from the age of 9 until the age of 95, of which 60 years were spent waitressing. She loved to make people happy and to make her customers feel warm. Fran was an amazing cook who loved baking and making soups and was famous for her desserts that she served at Avenue Lounge. She was an avid golfer, ballroom dancer and gardener, and she enjoyed doing crossword puzzles and playing solitaire. Fran also loved shopping, going out to lunch and getting her nails and hair done.  She was most definitely a fashion queen.

Frances is survived by her husband, Jim Rutherford of Schofield; daughter Darlene Loose of Bear Creek; stepdaughter Janice Kellogg of Stoughton; sisters Alice Yalkin of Mt. Clemons, Michigan, and Betty Lou Sheehy of Detroit; grandchildren Jodi (Rod) Anderson of Bear Creek, Jay (Nikki) Loose of Clintonville, Laurie Johnson, Valerie Hammer, and Thomas Kellogg; great grandchildren Amber and Michael Anderson and Travis, Chase, Bailey, London, and Lily Loose; and great great granddaughter Quinn. Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by one son, Wayne Behnke.

Funeral Service will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 19, 2018, at Brainard Funeral Home-Everest Chapel, 5712 Memorial Court, Weston. Visitation will take place from 11 a.m. until the time of service at the funeral home on Thursday. Burial will take place at Graceland Cemetery in Clintonville, Wisconsin.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Aspirus Hospice Services.

The family would like to thank Aspirus Comfort Care and TLC.


Jackie Brusky

Jackie Lee Brusky, 48, of Wausau passed away on July 13, 2018, surrounded by her family, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

Jackie Brusky

Jackie was born May 18, 1970, in Wausau to Ronald and Claire (Hassenfus) Brusky. She graduated from Wausau West High School and worked at Northern Valley Workshop. Jackie enjoyed working with her friends and co-workers. Like all of us, she had her favorite jobs, she especially liked lunch time where she could have her pop and a special treat out of the vending machine. Jackie was an avid Special Olympic participant. Her favorite sports were bowling and bocce. She also participated in basketball, swimming and track and field. She was always excited when she got to go to the state games.

Jackie’s favorite past time was watching her cartoons, movies and her favorite shows like “Scooby Doo,” “Full House” and “Walker Texas Ranger.” One of her favorite movie series was Harry Potter. She really enjoyed Hogwarts and the magic they performed. She had a love for Disney movies and receiving gifts from Disneyland that her niece Megan loved to send.

Jackie could put a smile on everyone’s face and brought so much joy to those around her. Her soul was precious and she will never be forgotten. She went to be with our mother whom she missed dearly. We will forever miss Jackie and her smiling face.

Jackie is survived by her dad, Ronald; sisters Jodie (Galen) Spooner and Margaret (Brad Boruch) Brusky; and nieces and nephews Katelyn Spooner, Megan (Raymon) Spooner-Butterfield, Tucker Spooner, Rian Spooner, Mitchell Martin and Everett Martin. She is preceded in death by her mom, Claire.

A visitation and funeral service were held Wednesday, July 18, at Brainard Funeral Home in Wausau. Father Robert Thorne officiated. Burial was held at Restlawn Memorial Park.


Elaine Oelke

Elaine Oelke, 86, of Wausau passed away on Monday, July 16, 2018, at her home.

Elaine Oelke

In her parent’s town of Stettin home, Elaine was born Jan. 11, 1932, to the late Bernhard and Margaret (Anklam) Buttke. At Trinity Lutheran Church in the town of Stettin, she was baptized, confirmed and met the love of her life, Glenn Oelke, at Catechism class. At that very same church, Elaine married Glenn on July 12, 1950. This past Thursday, they celebrated 68 years of marriage.

After 20 years of working at Pauley Cheese in Edgar, Elaine devoted her time in helping raise her two grandchildren, Miranda and Stetson. Elaine was an active member of Trinity, where she participated in Bible Study, Afternoon Circle and helped with many funeral lunches. She enjoyed playing cards, listening to Polka music and going up North to visit friends at Pine Lake. She loved to can, cook and bake bread from scratch for her family. You could also find Elaine doing needlepoint or embroidery while watching her favorite soap, “The Young and The Restless.”

Survivors include her husband, Glenn of Wausau, daughter, Suzanne (John) Young of Wausau, son, Steve (Tracey Botterud) Oelke of Wausau, two grandchildren, Miranda (Seth) Erickson of Athens, Stetson (Amanda) Oelke of Marathon, four great grandchildren, Hunter, Ava, Bryn and Montgomery, brother, Allen (Karen) Buttke of Wausau, three sisters, Marlene (Merlin) Pruss of Fond du lac, Lou Ann (Donald) Zamzow of Weston, Bonita Buttke of Minnetonka, Minnesota, and sister-in-law, Shirley (Martin) Hannemann of Rib Mountain.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 21, 2018, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1008 N. 120th Ave., Wausau. Rev. Dan Sire will officiate. Burial will be in Stettin Christian Cemetery. Visitation will be Saturday at the church from 9 a.m. until the time of services. You may sign our family guest book at helke.com.

We would like to thank the nurses at Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Service and the staff at Mountain Terrace for all their care, concern and kindness they gave Elaine and our family.


Carol Barton

Carol was born May 21, 1932, in Port Washington, Wisconsin, and called to her heavenly home on July 15, 2018.

Carol Barton
Carol was baptized June 1932 and confirmed in 1944 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. She graduated from Port Washington High School in 1948 and married James R. Barton on Octo. 14, 1950. He preceded her in death on July 14, 2009. She was also preceded in death by parents, Henry and Marie (Ballbach) Lubner; brothers, David, Victor and Peter; and sister, Rose Marie.

Carol’s beloved family include her children, Lynn Marie (Paul) Gabriel, Athens; Gregory Barton, Wausau; Daniel (Pam) Barton, Kronenwetter; Jeffrey Barton, Cincinnati, OH; former daughters-in-law Cheryl Strasser, Merrill, Cindy Barton, Weston and Lori Barton, Wausau. She was also blessed with grandchildren: Cory (Lisa) Gabriel, Aaron (Beth) Gabriel, Deanne Gabriel, Colette (Kevin) Gabriel Wright, David (Kelsey) Barton, Robin (Brody) Barton Sunderland, Trevor (Shanna) Barton, Cameron (Caitlin) Barton, Casey Barton, Benjamin and Andrew Barton. Great-grandchildren: Alex Gabriel, Farrah Sunderland, Bernadette and Baird Gabriel, Quinn Barton, and Olivia Barton. Nieces and Nephew: Vickie (Goeff) Webb, Matthew (Laura) Barton, and Betsy (Rick) Kouchich.  Other survivors include her Spiritual sisters: Sonia Solomonson, Chicago, IL and Linda Pelot, Rhinelander, WI.  Spiritually adopted children: Karen Drier, St. Louis, MO, Janet Hahn, Deerbrook, WI, Matthew Taso, Papua New Guinea and her Spiritually adopted family: Masako, Yoshinori, and Ema Ohtake, Japan.

Carol dearly loved her family, serving them delicious meals, planning family gatherings (like her famous themed May Birthday Bashes), and continuously encouraging each in their faith lives. She was a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Wausau, and former member of Faith Lutheran Church, Appleton. Throughout her life, she was a faithful servant and served as a teacher of Sunday School, Midweek School, Bethel Bible Study and led Christ Care Ministry with her husband, Jim. She was also a faithful supporter of LWML Ministry and served in Education, Stewardship and Lay Ministries.

Along with Jim and her four children, she served six years as a missionary in Papau, New Guinea. While there she learned the Enga language, taught Neo-Melanesian and Enga literacy classes, Enga Sunday School and had different projects with the indigenous Lutheran School children. She taught hygiene, sewing and other skills to the women and wrote a series of Enga devotions.

Carol and Jim had a team ministry in many areas. When the family returned to Wausau in 1971 she worked part-time in the North Wisconsin District Office assisting Jim who served as district treasurer and in other areas. Later she served full time as a promotions manager for the District Lutheran Church Extension Fund. She was an exceptional speaker for LCEF in LCMS Districts and the Canadian Lutheran Church Districts. She created an elderly Granny Gwendolyn character and did presentations at numerous conferences for LCEF. Carol was an enthusiastic mission and motivational speaker on topics like “Self-Worth in Christ.” “Rainbows in Marriage,” and “Reaching Out with Hugs.” She was a devotional writer, published in My Devotions magazine, plus wrote many devotions and articles for LCEF and stewardship. She self-published her autobiography, “Remembering,” when she was 80 about all her years that, she said, “were orchestrated by God.” After Jim’s death, she published her second book, “Go!”, an accounting of the family’s six years in New Guinea.

Carol was a prolific correspondent, having much joy encouraging relatives, friends, missionaries and church members with thoughtful cards and letters. She was gifted with a thankful, positive attitude and realized all her blessings came from God. One of her favorite sayings was “God is good!”

The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 21, 2018, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church – LCMS, 600 Stevens Drive, Wausau. Visitation will be at Helke Funeral Home, 302 Spruce St., Wausau, on Friday, July 20, 2018. from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. and on Saturday at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of service.

In lieu flowers, memorials may be given to Papua New Guinea Mission Society, LCMS Lutheran World Relief at https://www.lcms.org/givenow/globalmission, and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 600 Stevens Drive, Wausau, WI 54401. You may sign the family guestbook at helke.com.


Genrose “Jean” Aldridge

Jean (Genrose) Aldridge, 85, passed away peacefully in the presence of family on July 13, 2018.

Genrose “Jean” Aldridge

She was born Jan. 24, 1933, to George and Clara (Kasmier) Goeden. Jean’s final message to her family was that she loves them all. She was beloved by her family for her unending love, independence and strength. She worked for many years at Don’s Country Oven, Homme Home of Wittenberg, Asprius Wausau Hospital and TLC.

Jean is survived by her children; Thomas (Debra) Aldridge of Mosinee, Wisconsin; Dennis (Carolyn) Aldridge of Lenexa, Kansas; Darrell (Mary Ann) Aldridge of Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Cynthia (Jerry) Martin of Appleton, Wisconsin; Julie Rase of Weston, Wisconsin; and Carrie Lequia of Weston, Wisconsin. She is also survived by one sister in Michigan and three nieces. Her greatest joys in life were her 13 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and her cat Clyde, whom she loved dearly.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Friday, July 20, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. at Church of the Resurrection Parish. Father Mark Pierce will officiate. A visitation will begin at 9 a.m. at the church. The Mass will be followed by burial, with a luncheon after at the church.

John J. Buettgen Funeral Home is assisting family at this time.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Jean’s behalf to Faith in Action of Marathon County, 630 Adams St., Wausau, WI 54403. We thank you for your countless support and assistance in these past years.


Donna Block

Donna M. Block, 81, of Wittenberg died on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, at Homme Home of Wittenberg under the care of LeRoyer Hospice.

Donna Block
She was born on Aug. 13, 1936, in Wausau, the daughter of the late Emil and Iva (Mehlberg) Blum.
On June 19, 1954, Donna was united in marriage to Marlin Block at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg. He preceded her in death on Oct. 6, 2011.
The couple owned and operated Block’s Dairy Distributorship, as well as The Rathskeller Tavern in Wittenberg and Blum’s Trailer Court. Donna worked in the office at the Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School and at the Homme Home for Boys as a teacher’s aide. She was an active member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Wittenberg, and involved in the LWML, Lutheran World Relief and Orphan Grain Train. Donna enjoyed bowling, fishing, camping and gardening.
Donna is survived by three children, Steve (Darlene) Block of Wittenberg, Karen (Marty) Hille of Mosinee and Kristi (Craig) Schopf of Farmington, Minnesota; one daughter-in-law, Bonnie Morgan of Minocqua; nine grandchildren, Nicole (Jeff) Fraaza, Derrick (fiancé Mary) Block, Craig (Lisa) Schroeder, Ryan (Teri) Schroeder, Melanie (Paul) Knoepke, Amber (Chris) Musson, Alycia (Cody) Warren, Alec Olson and Sarah (Jason) Rieck; 10 great-grandchildren and one brother, Dale (Mary) Blum.
Donna was preceded in death by her parents, husband, one son, Kevin, and brother, Duaine Blum.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 27, 2018, at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg. Rev. Matthew Christians will officiate. Interment will be in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery, Wittenberg. Visitation will be on Friday from 9 a.m. until the time of service at the funeral home.
Memories and condolences may be shared at schmidtschulta.com or at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home on Facebook.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Building Fund, Wittenberg, in honor of Donna would be appreciated.

Mary Jensen

Mary L. Jensen, 74, of Wittenberg died on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, at her home under the care of her family and Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services.

Mary Jensen
She was born on June 27, 1944, in Richland Center, the daughter of the late Orville and Dorothy (Beckwith) Dring.
On Aug. 15, 1964, Mary was united in marriage to Allan Jensen in Richland Center. He survives.
She was employed at Kimberly Clark for 28 years until her retirement. Mary and Allan spent their winters in Florida where they made many friends. Mary enjoyed watching the Milwaukee Brewers and watching her sons and grandchildren at various sporting events. She was a member of the Red Hats and loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mary is survived by her husband of 53 years, Allan; two sons, Chris (Vicki) Jensen of Birnamwood and Tony (Angie) Jensen of Appleton; seven grandchildren, Tommy (Tammy) Nelson, Travis (Kaylee) Nelson, Jereme Jensen, Jessica Jensen, Hailey Reinke, Dillon Jensen and Madison Jensen; seven great-grandchildren, Tyler, Molly, Trista, Amara, Allie, Caleb and Ryan and many nieces and nephews.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, one great-granddaughter, Olivia Marie, two brothers, Roger and Tom Dring and one sister, Karen Wilson.
A visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 20, 2018, at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg.

Bernice Esker

Bernice R. Esker, 91, of Hatley passed away on Monday, July 16, 2018, at Homme Home of Wittenberg under the care of LeRoyer Hospice, Antigo.

Bernice Esker
She was born on Feb. 16, 1927, in Stevens Point, the daughter of the late Peter and Otylia (Brychell) Schulist. On Oct. 20, 1945, Bernice was united in marriage to Alfred S. Esker, Sr., who preceded her in death on Aug. 17, 2015.
Bernice enjoyed being in nature, especially flower gardening, mushroom and blueberry picking, fishing and farming. She loved traveling with her husband, Alfred. She was an excellent cook, and enjoyed making meals for her family.
Survivors include three sons, Gregory (Jeannie) Esker, Rosholt, Terry (Penny) Esker, Hatley and Alfred, Jr. (Roxanne) Esker, Stevens Point; 10 grandchildren, Rick (Amy) Esker, Becky Esker, Jeremy (Danielle) Esker, Jody (Alicia) Esker, Jennifer (Duane) Gruna, Jacqui Esker, Ryan (Sarah) Esker, Brandon (Mandy) Esker, Laura Canapa and Ashley Canapa; 14 great-grandchildren, Logan, Colton, Dawson, Kylie, Eli, Gavin, Gwyneth, Cody, Wyatt, Mariyah, Brady, Sophia, Raiden and Ember; four sisters, Laura Kernats of Wisconsin Rapids, Rita Borski of Stevens Point, Gert (Fred) Treutel of Missouri, and Pat Raczek of Mosinee; two sisters-in-law, Ramona Schulist of Plainfield, and Stasia Esker of Hatley.
Bernice was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and seven siblings.
Memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 23, 2018, at St. Florian Catholic Church, Hatley. Fr. Gregory Bohren will officiate. Inurnment will be in the parish cemetery. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until the time of service at the church.
Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg is assisting the family with arrangements.

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