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Wausau area obituaries: June 7, 2019

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

Martin L. Steffen

Martin Leroy Steffen, 62, of Birnamwood, formerly of Wausau, passed away on Saturday, November 24, 2018 at Autumn Lane Family Care, Birnamwood.

He was born on December 5, 1955, in Wausau, to the late Leroy and Alma (Ebert) Steffen. Martin grew up in the Wausau area and attended Wausau West High School. For many years, Martin worked for the Wausau Department of Public Works as a truck driver and a plow operator. He knew all the streets of Wausau like the back of his hand. Martin enjoyed driving and this was a perfect job for him. He also enjoyed baseball and the Green Bay Packers.

Survivors include his children, Casey (Tammy) Steffen, Ondrea Desimone, and Marissa (Mitchell) Gates; grandchildren, Alexzander, Haley, Alyssa, Shawna, Cheyenne, Hunter, Kara, and Ava; sister, Susan Wendorf; niece, Lara Groshek; and nephews, Tad Wendorf and Jon Wendorf.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law, Richard Wendorf.

A memorial service will be at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, June 7, 2019 at Helke Funeral Home, 302 Spruce Street, Wausau. Visitation will begin at 11:30 a.m. until the time of service at the funeral home. Burial will follow in Restlawn Memorial Park, town of Texas.

You may sign the family guestbook at www.helke.com.


Marlene B. Ptaszynski


The final paragraph of a fantastic novel was written this week when Marlene B. Ptaszynski, 82, passed away on June 4, 2019 at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton, WI surrounded by family.

Her autobiography opens in a sleepy farm community of Webster, South Dakota on August 12, 1936. The 2nd of 6 children to be born to Joseph S. and Eva Lydia “Evelyn” (Horst) Sichmeller, she was brought home in a blanket made by workers under President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Her formal education started in a one room schoolhouse located on the windy plains of rural South Dakota. At times she attended a Catholic boarding school in town to avoid the harsh winters on the farm, eventually graduating from Webster High School. The next chapter of her life was to earn a Nursing degree from Presentation Nursing College in Aberdeen SD, thus setting the plot for much of the rest of her life’s memoirs. Chapter 3 introduces the reader to her lifelong soulmate, Julius, while living in Minneapolis. Their meeting is a tale of first aid, a minor hunting accident, a finicky shotgun, and a fingernail.

Nursing was to be a recurring thread in her story: beginning at University Hospital in Minneapolis MN twisting through Devil’s Lake ND, Robbinsdale MN, Wausau North Hospital, which became Wausau Hospitals and then finally Aspirus. These threads grew into a rope when she became a Night Nursing Supervisor, working the graveyard shift for 28 rewarding years. The highlight of her story entailed raising 3 wonderful children and 5 beloved grandchildren. Marlene’s adventures included fun filled rainy and non-rainy days “Up North” at the family cabin, especially crisp fall days after the first frost, Alaska trips and reminiscent reunions at the “home place” in South Dakota.

At times, she enriched the reader’s experience as a member of VFW Ladies Auxiliary Burns Post 388, a member of Catholic Women’s and St. Matthew Ladies’ Council (serving in many roles including President), a member of District Nurses, Lay Communion Distributor, Aspirus Hospital volunteer and a Cub Scout Den Mother.

Loving actors that may be in future books are her husband (three months short of their 60th anniversary), Julius W Ptaszynski Jr, 3 children: Michael W. (Angi) Ptaszynski of Cortez CO, Patricia Ann (Craig) Anderson of Scottsdale AZ, and John P. Ptaszynski of Menasha WI. Other recurring roles are 5 grandchildren: Jacob Ptaszynski, Melissa (Anderson) Caromano, Jessica (Anderson) Schaffner, Christina Anderson, and Steffen Ptaszynski; siblings: Eileen Beckwith, Joseph C. Sichmeller, Mary Jane Curry and Alan Sichmeller.

Characters only seen in this book (deceased) are her parents, Joseph S. and Evelyn Sichmeller, and brother Mark Sichmeller.

The book signing (visitation) will occur twice: Tuesday June 11, 2019 from 4-7 PM and Wednesday June 12, 2019 from 10 -11 AM, both times at St. Matthew Catholic Church 28th Ave, Wausau, WI. Prayer service at 6:30 PM on Tuesday. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 AM Wednesday June 12, 2019 also at St. Matthew Catholic Church, presided by Father Robert Thorn. Following lunch, entombment will occur at Restlawn Memorial Park Mausoleum, Wausau. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Matthew Catholic Church or Aspirus Wausau Hospital. For more information and online condolences, go to www.petersonkraemer.com.

The Ptaszynski family would like to thank the staff of the Rib Mountain Fire Dept., Aspirus Hospital and Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital for their care and compassion

Marlene, you were a blessing to all and memories of you will be in our hearts forever!


Carma J. Palmer

Carma J. Palmer, 25, formerly of Rothschild, died unexpectedly on Monday, June 3, 2019 at her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Carma was born to Travis and Cara (Becker) Palmer on February 23, 1994 in Park Falls.

We can’t put into words just how much Carma will be missed. We all feel so lucky for the time we had with her. We’d like to think that when most people think of Carma, some of the words that come to mind are; genuine, compassionate, unique, loving and open to everyone’s differences. Carma had many passions in life such as theater, art, music, advocating for the things important to her such as the LBGTQ community and protecting our earth, photography, and finding the best tasting wines! Carma put her whole heart and soul into the things important to her. She gave the best hugs and made people feel so loved. When she smiled it went from ear to ear, and her dimples were guaranteed to make you smile. Carma loved animals and had every type of pet imaginable throughout the years. Carma loved camping, spending time at the cabin, bonfires, and vacations with her family. One thing we will always remember about Carma was her unique style and ability to find such stylish outfits at every garage/yard/thrift sale she went to.

Survivors include her parents, Cara and Travis Palmer; siblings, Pharoah and Faith Palmer; grandparents, Jim and Deb Becker; great-grandma, Henrietta Cummings; many aunts, uncles and cousins. She was preceded in death by grandparents, Louis and Althea Palmer and her uncle Pharoah Palmer.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 9, 2019 at Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 1302 Sixth Street, Wausau. Friends may call from 1:00 p.m. until the time of service at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the family.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com.


Donna Dombrowski

Donna Dombrowski, age 66, died Friday June 7, 2019, at Ascension Hospital in Stevens Point.  A Celebration of Life service for Donna will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday August 17, 2019, at Lake Du Bay Lodge, 4501 Cty Rd E, Junction City, WI 54443.  Friends and family may gather to share memories from 1-5 PM.  A luncheon will be served at 2:00 PM.

Donna was a wonderful caring sister, aunt and friend.  She loved taking care of her nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews on the farm.  She loved her animals and taking care of them.  It gives us peace knowing that Donna is reunited with her parents and brothers.  She will be missed dearly.

Donna was born on August 17, 1952, the daughter of Nick and Romona Dombrowski.

Survived include her brothers and sisters: Diane Pacocha (John), Darlene Jakusz (Jim), Doris Fisher, Dottie O’Neill, Debbie Kowalchuk, Rick Dombrowski (Joyce) and Duane Dombrowski (AnnMarie).  She is further survived by numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Nick and Romona Dombrowski, sister, Angeline Dombrowski and brothers, Bill and David Dombrowski.

The Mid-Wisconsin Cremation Society is assisting the family.


Nancy Syring

Nancy Syring (Otto), 85, Kronenwetter, passed away Sunday, June 2, 2019, with family by her side.

Nancy was a Christmas baby, born December 25, 1933 to Herman and Margaret (Drake) Otto of Wausau.

She was a devoted mother to her two children and a dedicated U.S.A.F. housewife living on seven Air Force bases, including London, England and the island of Okinawa. Nancy loved travel, nature, reading, cooking, decorating her home (especially at Christmas), and was an avid dog lover.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Robert Otto, and sister Patricia Panabaker (Otto).

Survivors include: her son Keith Syring of Schofield, daughter Cheryl Syring of Marysville, CA, two grandchildren Jeff Syring of Schofield, and Dawn Syring of Edgar, and three great grandchildren Emma, Shyanna, and Savanna of Edgar.

Buettgen Funeral Home of Schofield is taking care of the arrangements. There is no service planned at this time.  In lieu of flowers, donations could be made to the A.S.P.C.A. one of Nancy’s favorite charities.


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