Obituaries are a service of Brainard Funeral Home, with locations in Wausau and Weston.
Donald Harley McMurtrie, 92, Wausau, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, under the care of Saint Clare’s Hospital, Weston.
Don was born May 15, 1926, in West Allis, Wisconsin, son of the late Herbert Allen and Mabel Helen McMurtrie and fourth generation Scot. Their ancestral family emigrated in 1884 from Kirkmichael, Scotland, to New York, later moving to Racine, Wisconsin.
Don’s greatest devotion was to his family. He was the patriarch of 10 children, who remember their dad for his numerous pan-fishing trips, camping excursions and frequent visits to Menards. He was always looking out for his children, assuring their engine oil is changed, teaching them to be self-reliant and imparting valuable life skills. Throughout his life, he modeled honesty and a moral compass for his children.
Don lived life to the fullest. He was a dreamer and an innovator who refused to allow circumstances stifle his entrepreneurial and independent spirit. He and his only sister, Dorothy, were children of the Great Depression – when entertainment was listening to the radio through the neighbors’ open window and health care meant sutures without expensive anesthetic. But Don rose from extreme poverty with distinction. He used his business acumen to build several successful ventures that would rocket him to the elite class.
The first was a simple egg delivery business. With a borrowed truck and no capital, Don built a simple, yet strong business. He had an eye for seeing unmet needs no one else knew existed until Don had already generated a successful solution. His ideas were simple, yet revolutionary.
Despite a modest eighth-grade education, Don would continue to meet needs of his community with intelligence, ingenuity and sheer willpower. After moving to Wausau initially to begin a job as a safety engineer for an insurance company, Don saw an opportunity in the nursing home industry. He challenged the status quo and developed new designs and innovative processes that would lead to changes in industry standards. He built, owned, and managed Wausau Colonial Manor (now named The Bay at Colonial Manor) and Superior Nursing Home with locations in Antigo. He also pioneered many construction projects, briefly ran an ice cream shop with his wife and family working the helm, and finally began a trucking business in his late 70s.
Don’s career and personal interests were often interwoven, he pursued what he loved and often found a way to monetize his adventurous spirit. One of his great passions was flight. He flew all over the world and the United States for work and leisure – once flying underneath the St. Louis Arch. Even at the age of 89, Don was able to maneuver three complete takeoff and landings witnessed by his pilot son and his safety pilot, who earned a promised $100 bonus if he would allow Don to land the plane twice without controls.
For Don, flight was a love that endured multiple plane crashes due to mechanical failure. Don survived his first plane crash from an engine failure after taking off at Flying Cloud Field. Don initiated a second emergency landing on a Canadian road – the only casualty being a single mailbox.
Don was a man in search of adventure and was very proud of taking down a charging grizzly bear while on a hunt in Alaska. He loved to tinker and design in the workshop and build various woodworking projects for work and family. Those who know Don will remember him being a connoisseur of unique, odd and sometimes, stinky food combinations; Limburger, Braunschweiger and onions just to name a few.
Don was as a driven spirit – maybe even a little rebellious. When World War II broke out, he traveled to continually challenge his 4F status. He was desperate to hide the shoulder and lung conditions that prevented him from fighting for his country alongside his peers. Throughout his life, Don remained a fierce patriot, but also a dedicated family man.
The family would like to thank the loving staff at Pride TLC Assisted Living, Weston, which was Don’s home during his final few years, as well as the compassionate and skilled medical staff at St. Clare’s Hospital, Weston.
As a young man, Don married Jeanette Blasius, with whom he raised three children before she passed away in 1967. He then married Carol (deceased) and adopted her three children. In 1979, Don married Patricia McMurtrie (Coleman) and lovingly raised seven children.
Don was the patriarch of a large family to include 10 loving children, Lynn (Peter) Kruit, Jon (Nancy) McMurtrie, Julie McMurtrie, Becky (Hezekiah) McMurtrie-Baker, Faith (Eric) Thomas, Bitsy (Trevor) McMurtrie, D.J. (Marcee) McMurtrie, Cassie (Larry) Ruffi, Grace (Wyatt) Harper, Thomas (Emily) McMurtrie. He lit up whenever seeing one of his 38 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren. Don will also be missed by numerous other family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Herbert and Mabel, and his dear sister, Dorothy (Ken) Hanson. He was also preceded in death by his wife Jeanette McMurtrie.
Visitation will be held at Wausau Bible Church, 1300 Grand Ave, Wausau, Wisconsin, at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 1, followed by a service at 12:30 p..m. and light refreshments.
Don requested that friends and family wear color to celebrate his vibrant life.
He will be laid to rest in a private ceremony at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Rothschild, Wisconsin.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society or the Army Emergency Relief Fund.
G.H. Brister, 87, passed away with his family by his side on Jan. 22, 2019, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital after a courageous battle with leukemia.
He is survived by his wife, Ila Brister, Wausau; daughter, Mary Blaser (Andy), Germantown, Wisconsin; son, Robert Brister (Deborah), Minneapolis, Minnesota; and daughter Donna Boettcher (Ray), Minnetonka, Minnesota. He is also survived by sister Julie Estes (W.C.), Elgin, Texas; and grandchildren John and Melanie Blaser, Sophia Brister, and Lucy and Ellie Boettcher. Preceding him in death were his parents, daughter Cynthia, and many dear friends and relatives.
G.H was born in 1931 in Texhoma, Oklahoma, to Robert and Norena (Beavers) Brister, and spent his early years in Texas and Oklahoma, where much of his kin still reside. There he attended medical school at the University of Texas in Galveston, obtaining his M.D. in 1956. From 1956-1957, he completed a rotating internship at Receiving Hospital, Detroit, Michigan. Following his internship, he completed several years of military service, first as a flight surgeon in Itazuke, Japan, as a captain in the US Air Force, where he met and married his bride, Ila May Rohrscheib. Upon returning to the United States in 1960, G.H. served with the Air National Guard in Madison, Wisconsin, while he completed his residency at University Hospital, University of Wisconsin. He earned his diploma from the America Board of Radiology in 1965, and was licensed to practice in both Texas and Wisconsin.
G.H. and Ila moved to Wausau in 1963 where G.H.’s medical practice was centered until his retirement in 1996. His practice was primarily hospital-based, with travel to outlying communities including Medford, Merrill, Antigo and Shawano. Together with Dr. Donald Nowinski, Sr., G.H. was co-founder of the first independent radiology practice in the area (Radiology Associates of Wausau.) During his career, he participated in the evolution of his field, beginning with traditional X-Ray technology, and developing his specialties to include CT, ultrasound and MRI diagnostics as they became the “new frontier” of radiology. G.H. also served as chief of staff of Wausau Hospital during the late 1970s, when the “new hospital” was officially opened.
G.H. and Ila raised their family in Wausau, spending many weekends and summers at their lake home in Hazelhurst, Wisconsin. Upon his retirement, G.H. and Ila made this their year-round home, where they welcomed friends and family for frequent woods-and-lake getaways. His grandchildren grew up to love this place as much as did his children, and indeed G.H. loved nothing more than to spend time in the woods, at the lake and around the yard, finding an endless list of projects to keep him busy and content up until his very last months. He was also active in the community, with his church, and with the local hospital in Minocqua, serving as a valued member of the Board of Directors of Howard Young Medical Center for several years.
G.H. will be remembered by his family as a generous, loving and motivated man, with a sharp sense of humor (especially in his later years), constant desire to learn and keep learning, incredible work ethic, and as a great story-teller. His mood was easy to read, with his whistling or crooning of “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” being the best give-away that it was a wonderful day.
The family will be holding a Celebration of Life at Ascension Lutheran Church, 7937 Highway 51, Minocqua, Wisconsin, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Visitation will take place from noon to 1 p.m., followed by a memorial service at 1 p.m. A light reception will follow. A separate committal ceremony will be held at Restlawn Cemetery in Wausau at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial offerings be directed to Ascension Lutheran Church, Minocqua, Wisconsin, or to a charity of one’s choice.
The family would also like to thank the staffs at the Wausau Hospital Cancer Center and Wausau Manor for their loving care, as well as all family and friends who have provided care and support throughout the last months of G.H.’s life.
Marilyn R. Mondroski, 83 passed away on Jan. 25, 2019, at Garden Side Crossing. Marilyn was born Dec. 3, 1935, to the late Edward and Regina Hoffman. On Aug. 29, 1954, she married the love of her life Larry Mondroski.
He preceded her in death on March 6, 2011. Marilyn worked for many years at Kmart in Wausau. Her favorite pastimes were gardening, reading, casino trips and traveling with Larry in their younger years. After Larry passed, her constant companion was her dog Buddy.
Marilyn was a member of Saint Anne’s Catholic Church. Survivors include her six children. Laurie (Tim) Sanders; Andrew (Kathy) Mondroski; Tammie (Todd) Terczynski; Mark (Cheri) Mondroski; Cheryl (Timothy) Simonis and James (Julie) Mondroski. Her children provided her with 17 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.
Besides her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by three sisters and one brother. A private family service will be held at St Anne’s Catholic Church.
Burial will be at St Francis Xavier cemetery at a later date. The family would like to thank Care Partners and Mount View for the wonderful care they gave her. We would also like to give a special thank you to Christy from Inclusa for her support and hospice during the long battle with Mom’s dementia.
Mid Wisconsin Cremation Society is assiting the family at this time. Online condolences can be expressed at www.HonorOne.com.
Elsie M. Eisenman was called home to be with the Lord on Jan. 23, 2019. Elsie was born on July 15, 1930, to Carl and Edna Jennejohn. She was one of 14 children.
She was an avid gardener, baker, seamstress and beautician. She sewed for the Shriners Club as well as for the Women’s Cancer Pavilion. She was also a longtime member for the VFW.
Elsie is preceded in death by her first husband, Arde Rothmeyer, her second husband Mark Eisenman, six brothers and seven sisters. She is survived by her brothers Henry and Harold, a sister Anita, longtime friend Fran Woller, special niece Sandy Knutson, a special step-daughter Pattie Aulenbach, special nephew Keith Roble, special family friends the Hasko family, and many other nieces, nephews and relatives.
Funeral services will be on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 6205 Alderson St, Weston. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. with service to follow at 11 a.m., with Pastor Lance Hoelscher officiating. Burial will take place at a later date.
Memorials may be directed to Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Shriners and Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice. We would also like to offer a special “Thank You” to the staff at Primrose Memory Care, as well as the hospice nurses for the exceptional care and compassion showed to Elsie.
John J. Buettgen Funeral Home is assisting the family at this time. Online condolences may be expressed at www.HonorOne.com.
Rachel E. Jorgensen, 85, of Wittenberg passed away on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, at her home under the care of Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services, Wausau.
She was born on Sept. 22, 1933, in the town of Easton, daughter of the late Paul and Alma (Beck) Hoppe. On Nov. 10, 1951, she married Vernon E. Jorgensen in the town of Easton. He preceded her in death on May 29, 2000.
Rachel worked as a certified nursing assistant at the Homme Home of Wittenberg for over 30 years. She continued to volunteer there regularly until last year. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and an active member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Wittenberg, where she sang in the choir. She loved her state’s sports teams, the Brewers, Bucks, Badgers and, of course, the Packers. She enjoyed bird-watching, especially cardinals, taking car rides and playing Canasta with her friends. She always was looking for ways to help others in need.
Survivors include her four daughters, Susan LeClaire of Stratford, Lois (Karl) Anderson of Wittenberg, Linda (Ron) Waloway of Marinette, and Nancy (Paul) Pehlke of Wittenberg; one son, Richard Jorgensen of Amherst; 11 grandchildren, Jennifer, Tom, Kristi, Thor, Scott, Tracey, Chris, Amy, Jeff, Brooke, and Bradley; 11 great-grandchildren, Megan, McKenna, Katelyn, Madelyn, Sarah, Mikey, McKenzie, Libby, Noah, Paisley, and Scarlett; her brother, Oliver (Arlene) Hoppe of the township of Easton; She is further survived by her brothers and sisters-in-law, Janice Jorgensen of Schofield, Arden Raatz of Aniwa, Donna Jorgensen of Pewaukee, Jim (Karen) Jorgensen of Escondido, California; many nieces and nephews; dear friends of the family, Mike Nelson, Miriam Nelson, and Naomi Zeinert.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, son-in-law, Bob LeClaire, and son-in-law, Mike Kupcho.
Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Wittenberg. Rev. Amy Perron will officiate. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Visitation will be on Friday from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg, and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until the time of service at the church.
Memories and condolences may be given at schmidtschulta.com or on Facebook at Schmidt & Schulta.
Memorials may be given to Redeemer Lutheran Church, W18205 College Ave., Wittenberg, WI 54499.
“Go with the flow and let the wind blow.” – Rachel Jorgensen.
Leroy “Fuddy” Keckhaver
Leroy E. “Fuddy” Keckhaver, 73, formerly of Wittenberg, died on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, at Azura Memory Care under the care of Interim Hospice.
He was born on Aug. 3, 1945, in Mattoon, the son of the late Roy and Lorraine (Kennig) Keckhaver.
Fuddy was employed at the former Joubert Mink Ranch in Elderon for a few years. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, four-wheeling and throwing darts. Fuddy was an avid Milwaukee Brewers and Green Bay Packers fan.
Survivors include five siblings, Audrey (Howard) Bierman of Birnamwood, Shirley (Ralph) Dalke of Wittenberg, David (Vicki) Kickhaver of Mattoon, Beverly Breitrick-Hoffmann of Tigerton and Rodney “Sam” Keckhaver of Wittenberg, as well as many nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.
Fuddy was preceded in death by his parents Roy and Lorraine; a brother, Roger and two nieces, Tina and Tara.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Birnamwood. Rev. Clifford Kessen will officiate. Visitation will be on Wednesday 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.