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Wausau area obituaries, Feb. 4, 2019

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

Marlene McKenna

Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, another angel unexpectedly earned her wings. Marlene Margaret McKenna, nee Diederichs, of Rothschild, Wisconsin, was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, on Dec. 18, 1935, to Harry E. and Violet O. Diederichs, nee Behnke. She graduated from Lincoln High School in Manitowoc on June 9, 1954.

Marlene married Daniel H McKenna on April 21, 1956, in a 4 p.m. candlelight ceremony at First German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Later they honeymooned in Canada and Niagara Falls. This year, they would have celebrated their 63rd anniversary.

Marlene McKenna

Marlene worked at the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Co. of Manitowoc. Later, she stayed home to raise her three children until they were all in school. She also worked as a secretary at Enno Foods in Merrill, Wisconsin, and then at Betz Laboratories in Weston, Wisconsin, until that business moved out of state, resulting in her early retirement in 1983. Marlene and Daniel often wintered in Florida as she loved the warm weather and the peace of being at the ocean. They also traveled to Hawaii for their 25th and 50th wedding anniversaries, in addition to vacationing in Mexico, Branson, Missouri, and taking a driving vacation through many western and southern states.

Marlene liked to bowl, snowmobile, play poker, bridge and sheepshead. However, most of all Marlene loved to host parties and entertain friends, making new hors d’oeuvre recipes for all to enjoy. Marlene was a member of the Women of the Elks and Red Hat Society. She was well known and liked by many patrons and staff at her favorite place, The Palm’s Supper Club. At home she enjoyed reading and loved to watch the birds and squirrels as they came to feed at their always full feeders.

Marlene leaves behind her beloved husband, Daniel. They had three children together: Kevin (Andrea) McKenna of Gleason, Wisconsin, the late Kim (Casey) Jones of Rib Mountain, Wisconsin, and Diane (Nick) Christensen of Racine, Wisconsin. They have eight grandchildren: Kevin II and Travis McKenna, Heather (Stephen) Pfohl nee McKenna, Gwendolyn (Chase) Paul nee Jones, Owen (Jenna) Jones, Catherine (John) Avis nee Christensen, Veronica (Landon) Carus nee Christensen and Ryan Christensen. They also have three step grandchildren; Jennifer (James) McKenna-Sims nee Schmidt, Lynn Schmidt and Alexandre Tweedie, as well as 14 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.

Marlene was preceded in death by her parents, her stepfather Frederick Ansorge, her only sibling Jerry (Judy) Diederichs and her daughter Kim Jones.

Funeral services will be held this Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, at Helke Funeral Home, 302 Spruce St., Wausau. Visitation is from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. with the service at 6 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Kim Jones House, an orphanage in Tanzania. Checks should be written to “Foundation for Hope in Africa” and specify the Kim Jones House, or donate here: bit.ly/KimJonesHouse.


Kurt Froehlich

Kurt Hugo Froehlich, 64, Wausau, died Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

Kurt Froehlich

Kurt was born Nov. 1, 1954, at Memorial Hospital in Wausau to Leslie and Helen (Kruit) Froehlich. He is a 1973 graduate of Everest High School and honorably served his country in the U.S. Army in the 82nd Airborne from 1973-76. It was during his time in the military that he gave his life to the Lord. Following his service, Kurt went on to earn bachelor degrees in Biblical studies and communications from Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga.  Over the years, he has worked for HammerBlow, Greenheck and, most recently, Schuette Metals as a brake press operator where his hard work was noticed and appreciated. Kurt initially met Deanna Oberg at a church July 4 picnic and in time the two began dating. The couple was married on Sept. 20, 2008, at Good News Baptist Church in Mosinee.

Kurt was a straightforward man who concerned himself with the things that mattered in life. He had a passion for the word of God and memorized a number of books of the Bible. Kurt had well thought out and articulate opinions and stood up for what he believed. He took care to be a politically informed citizen. He was also a numbers person, often giving Deanna flowers in quantities with a specific meaning. In his free time, Kurt enjoyed photography, travelling, playing church league dartball with his father and brother, and chess, ranking statewide in his younger years.

Kurt is survived by his beloved wife of 10 years, Deanna; parents, Leslie and Helen Froehlich; siblings, Kaye Froehlich, Karla (Charles) Simmons and Kenneth (Sheila) Froehlich; many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. He is preceded in death by his sister, Kim Bessel.

The funeral service for Kurt will be at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, at Immanuel Baptist Church, Rib Mountain.  Rev. Rob Love will officiate. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the time of service at the church on Tuesday.  Inurnment will take place in Forestville Cemetery at a later date. Helke Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements; you may sign our family guestbook at helke.com.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Answers in Genesis or missions through Immanuel Baptist Church.


Raymond Wrycha

Raymond John Wrycha, 88, passed away peacefully after a long illness on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, at Pride TLC of Weston, where he had been in hospice care through Ascension Hospice Services. Until he recently moved to Pride on Jan. 24, 2019, Ray had been a resident at Atrium Post Acute Care in Weston since June 1, 2016. Ray’s family is eager to express their gratitude to the whole staff at Atrium for the excellent, compassionate care that Ray received there over the last three years and to thank Pride and Ascension Hospice for the care Ray received in his last days.

Raymond Wrycha

Born in Galloway, Wisconsin, on July 28, 1930, Ray was one of 10 children of Felix and Gertrude (Wierzba) Wrycza. He graduated from Wausau Senior High School in 1949. While in high school, Ray worked for the Elks Club waiting tables and, in the days before automation, resetting bowling pins by hand. In high school, he also worked at the Swedish Bakery and, one summer, won a contest and had his picture in the paper as the fastest bean picker in Marathon County! Ray married Virginia Jablonski in 1950 at St. Paul Catholic Church in Mosinee.

Together, they had four children, Raymond Jr., James, Sandra and David. Virginia died in 1966. In 1974, Ray married Mary Helen (Tominac) Froeba, at St. Therese Catholic Church in Rothschild, whose first husband died in 1970. Ray became a father to her three children as well, Lori Ann Froeba, Mark Froeba and Paul, whom Ray legally adopted. After high school, Ray worked for Nesbitt Bottling Co. In time, Ray began working for Standard Oil (later Amoco), eventually becoming a highly successful, award-winning Amoco agent.

When Amoco required all of its agents to become jobbers in 1976, Ray founded Wrycha Oil, Inc.. Unfortunately, the oil shock of 1979 and other business pressures ultimately forced the business to close its doors. Thereafter, Ray worked for Pennzoil until he retired in 1995. Even after he retired, he continued to work part-time for Wisconsin Lift Truck until his second (final) retirement in 2005. Ray was a parishioner at St. Therese Catholic Church for the whole of his adult life.

At St. Therese, he became an usher early on and would eventually be the parish’s head usher for over 50 years. As a boy, Ray learned to serve the Latin Mass and could still recite the responses in Latin decades later.

Ray and two of his sons served as cross and candle bearers for the Living Stations at St. Therese. Ray was also one of the first two parishioners (the other was Evelyn Staszak) selected to serve as extraordinary ministers of the eucharist at St. Therese. In his retirement, Ray resumed serving Mass, first at funerals and later at daily Mass, with his wife, Mary Helen.

Ray and Mary Helen also served as sacristans at St. Therese for many years and they were part of a rotation of volunteers who led the rosary before Mass on Sundays. In 1979, Ray was elected president of the Wausau Newman Catholic School Board where he had already served for three years as a lay representative of his parish.

In their retirement, Ray and Mary Helen also served as “foccus facilitators” for 36 young couples who received their marriage preparation through St. Therese parish. Finally, Ray was a charter member of the Sacred Heart Council, #4628, of the Knights of Columbus at St. Therese and was a third-degree member of the Knights for more than 60 years. In addition to volunteer work at his parish, Ray was very active in public service. He was secretary and, later, chairman of the Weston Police and Fire Commission. In 1988, he was elected to a two-year term to be a supervisor for the town of Weston.

For many years, Ray served as a member of the Marathon County Selective Service Board. Ray was also a vice-chairman of the Marathon County Chapter of the March of Dimes and a member of the Board of Directors of the South Area Business Association. In many ways, work was Ray’s favorite hobby. He rose early every morning and was literally never idle for a moment of his day. Ray kept his house, his yard and his car well maintained and carefully groomed and he made sure his family knew how to do the same. He took particular pride in his lawn. Raking the yard every spring and fall became an annual family tradition.

He especially loved to plan big work projects for three-day holiday weekends. In his retirement, Ray found a whole new outlet for his energy, his one-and-half-acre vegetable garden. Over the years, he grew just about everything you can grow in a vegetable garden in Wisconsin, corn, pumpkins, lettuce, beans, squash, tomatoes, peas, carrots, potatoes, gourds, beets, cucumbers and lots and lots of zucchini, all of which he was delighted to give away to family and friends.

Ray had a life-long passion for polka music. As a young man, this passion inspired him to learn to play the concertina. Ray loved to dance to polka music. As a businessman, Ray sponsored Sunday polka broadcasts on radio and TV. When Fr. Frank Perkovich brought his “Polka Mass” to St. Therese parish in the 1970s, Ray took the whole family to attend. The offertory hymn Fr. Perkovich wrote for the polka Mass (“At this Sacrifice”) is set to one of Ray’s favorite Polka tunes (“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”). As it became harder to hear polka music on radio and TV, Ray especially loved listening to the polka Jamboree every Sunday on the radio (from 6 a.m. until noon!).

Even as his health problems worsened in recent years, playing polka music could capture his attention like nothing else.

Ray is survived by his wife of 44 years, Mary Helen, his children, Raymond Jr. (Patricia) of Rhinelander, James (Jacquelyn) of Snohomish, Washington, Sandra (Timothy) Kipp of Shorewood, David (Gloria) of Sobieski and Paul (Tracy) of Madison, his stepchildren Lori Ann (Paul) Grzelak of Bourbonnais, Illinois, and Mark Froeba of New York, New York, his sisters Clara Literski of Weston and Eleanor Grywacz of Stevens Point, his 12 grandchildren, his 21 great grandchildren and his many nieces and nephews.

Those who preceded him in death include his parents, Felix and Gertrude, his first wife, Virginia, his brothers (and sisters-in law), Frank, Joseph (Marlene) and Stanley (Viola), his sisters (and brothers-in-law), Genevieve Wrycza, Theresa (Edward) Skierka, Laura (Leo) Breske, and Delores (Ronald) Boerner and his brothers-in-law Herman Literski and Donald Grywacz. Ray was a devoted husband and father, a faithful parishioner, a fair boss, a diligent employee and an honest public servant. He was also a kind, gentle person. When you were his friend, he was loyal for life! He had a good sense of humor and loved to laugh at a good joke and to get others to laugh as well. Ray was also, quietly, a very generous man.

His family is still hearing new stories of his generosity from years past, for example, how in one case he filled up a family’s empty fuel-oil tank in the middle of winter even though they had no money to pay for the fuel and how he even helped them buy a new furnace a few weeks later after it broke down completely. He then let them pay him back for the fuel and furnace slowly over time as they could afford to pay.

His wife, Mary Helen, thanks him especially for his enduring love and for making her life over the 44 years of their marriage happy and secure.

Services will be held at St. Therese Catholic Church in Rothschild on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, with visitation from 9:30 a.m. until the Holy Mass at 11 a.m. Recitation of the rosary will precede Mass. Burial will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

John J. Buettgen Funeral Home is assisting the family at this time. Online condolences can be expressed at www.HonorOne.com.


Shannon Robinson

Shannon J Robinson, 42, of Marshfield passed away with her family at her side on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at House of the Dove, Marshfield, Wisconsin. She was born on March 29, 1976, in Park Falls, Wisconsin, to Daniel and Kim (Hatch) Beck.

Shannon Robinson

Shannon was SO strong! When asked what she was grateful for, she would say family. When asked what makes her smile, she would say her grandchildren. She especially enjoyed spending time and caring for her dog, Emma. She fought pancreatic cancer with everything she had and kept a positive attitude and outlook until the very end. She was always kind, caring and compassionate to all those in her life. Her smile could light up a room and she will be sorely missed by all those that knew her.

Shannon is survived by her husband Jeffrey; mother Kim Beck; mother-in-law Amenia Folz; children Brittany Arsenault, Amanda (Brandon Dupee) Arsenault, and Autumn Arsenault; grandchildren Ryker Arsenault, Allison Arsenault, and Winter Arsenault; siblings Dustin (Sarah Payne) Kinas-Beck, Kristen Nicholls, and Kelly (Antonio Primo Ramirez) Nicholls; brother in laws Jeremy Robinson and Chris Robinson; nieces Maria Nicholls and Leila Primo Ramirez; nephew Ayden Payne; aunts Cindy (Rod) Machtan and Bridget (Dean) Fairbert; cousins Shaundra Machtan and Brandon Machtan, as well as numerous other family members and great friends.

She was preceded in death by her father Daniel Beck; grandparents Shirley (Art) Zertler, Gordon Beck, as well as Kenneth and LaJune Hatch.

A celebration of life will be held in her honor on Feb. 9, 2019, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Dolezal Room, located downstairs at the Second Avenue Community Center, 211 E. Second St., Marshfield, WI 54449.


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