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

Bernard “Bernie” Denk

Bernard “Bernie” J. Denk, 82, Athens, died Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, at his home surrounded by his loving family under the care of Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services. Bernie was born April 24, 1936, to the late Joseph and Katherine (Bangart) Denk in Athens. He married Mary Viegut on Aug. 11, 1973, in Athens. They recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.

Bernie graduated from Athens High School in 1955. Bernie served his country honorably in the U.S. Navy from 1955 to 1959. He earned his master plumbers license and was a skilled plumber.

Bernard “Bernie” Denk

His grandchildren were the pride and joy of his life. He loved them so much. He was an avid hunter and fisherman.  He has many trophy deer that he is very proud of.

Survivors include his wife, Mary; son, Michael (Stina) Denk, Dorchester; daughter, Elizabeth (Daniel) Luedtke, Oak Creek; four grandchildren, Brooke, Brendan, Noah and Owen; two sisters-in-law, Germaine (Les) Huebner, Wausau, and Barbara (Larry Bloch) Viegut, Athens, Godson and nephew, Kyle (Christine) Huebner and Layla; Samantha (Ray Yessa) Viegut, Athens, brother, Eugene (Cassie) Denk, Athens and their children, Stacey and Joelle; sister, Marie (John) Seymour, Washington, Iowa and their children Kevin and Mark (deceased).

A Funeral Prayer Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, at Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Athens. Rev. George Graham will preside. Friends and family may call from 11 a.m. until the time of services at the funeral home. Veteran honors will be presented by the Athens Area Veterans.

Burial will be at Athens Village Cemetery at a later date.

Heartfelt thanks to the staff at Aspirus Hospice and to a special niece, Samantha Viegut, and daughter-in-law, Stina Denk, for all their extra special loving care given to Bernie during his illness. The children want to give their mom an extra special thank you for taking such good care of their dad so he could be in his home until God called him to heaven.

Until we see you later — goodbye — and we love and miss you so much already.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Natasha Leih

Natasha Annabell Leih, precious baby girl of Richard and Gina (Wegner) Leih, was born into the arms of angels on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

She was born at 3:12 a.m. at 23 weeks; she weighed 1 pound 2 ounces and was 11 ½ inches. Although Natasha never spent any time with us on Earth she was very loved and touched many lives.

She is survived by her parents, Richard and Gina; paternal grandparents, Merlyn and Jean Leih; maternal Nana, Dolores Wegner; great-grandma Johanna Leih; as well as several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Natasha was greeted at heaven’s gate by her Papa Orville Wegner; infant sibling Shannon Taylor and infant cousins.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, at Helke Funeral Home, 302 Spruce St., Wausau. Visitation will be held from 10:30 a.m. until the time of services at the funeral home. Please visit the family guestbook at

Saundra “Sandy” Dean

Saundra “Sandy” Dean, mother of three and mother to many, reached the end of her own personal yellow brick road to eternity on Sept. 22, 2018, at 2:58 a.m. Her three loving children, Aaron, Arianne and Stephany, walked with her hand-in-hand to the gates of heaven, where she passed through in peace.

Saundra “Sandy” Dean

Sandy was born to Charles and Audrey Dean on Sept. 2, 1954, in DeRidder, Louisiana. Sandy thought of life as a never-ending picnic with many baskets full of wisdom and encouragement to share with those around her.

She was an avid seamstress and loved gardening and cheering for her favorite teams: the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers. She was often found with her nose buried deep in a book when it wasn’t stuck in the gossamer threads of a cross-stitch project.

Sandy is survived by her three dedicated children; her loving mother, Audrey; her ever supportive sister, Kristi; her three bright nieces and nephews, Elisha, Alana and Trent; her most beloved granddaughter, Lilah; and her best friend, Rose.

She was preceded in death by her father and grandparents. In Sandy’s last days, for her final glorious picnic, Marty, the father of her children, led family and friends in a celebration of song to honor a life lived with faith and happy tears, and in the end, without fear.

In lieu of flowers, Sandy’s family requests donations to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital of which she was a long time supporter:

A private memorial service for close family will be held at a later date. The John J. Buettgen Funeral Home of Wisconsin Rapids is assisting the family. For online condolences, please visit