Obituaries are a service of Brainard Funeral Home, with locations in Wausau and Weston.
Darlene J. Schmitz of Kronenwetter passed away on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.
She was born on Feb. 13, 1943, in Milwaukee, daughter of the late John and Babe (Olstad) Lehmann. On June 25, 1960, she married Kurt Schmitz in Milwaukee. He survives.
Darlene worked for Target Department Store for over 35 years, in several cities, most recently in Stevens Point. She really enjoyed her work in customer service. Darlene loved bargain shopping, playing cards – especially Bridge, and playing lottery and scratch off games. She had a big heart, especially when it came to animals, and rescued many over the years – including a 30-year-old turtle and an 18-year-old goldfish that still reside at her home. Most of all she enjoyed spending time with her family.
Survivors include her husband of 59 years, Kurt Schmitz of Kronenwetter; three daughters, Kris (Dennis) Graun of Wausau, Penny Uekert of Kronenwetter, and Tricia (David) Johnson of Weston; 14 grandchildren, Matthew (Ashley) Fons, Alex (Hannah) Anderson, Stefanie (Kevin Storey) Anderson, Sam (Hannah) Anderson, Bryon (Olivia Klemm) Graun, Christy Jacobson, Michelle (Keith) Stuttgen, Amanda (Eric Newes) Detert, Brooke (Josh Sammons) Detert, Jared (Alex) Graun, Brady Uekert, Sydney Uekert, Shea Johnson, and Gus Johnson; 13 great-grandchildren, Samantha Stuttgen, Maria Stuttgen, Ruari Fons, Jada Jacobson, Luke Pergalski, Christopher Stuttgen, Makayla Pergalski, Danielle Stuttgen, Mia Graun, Camron Storey, Kai Graun, Finnick Newes, and Margot Anderson; sisters-in-law, MaryAnn Biksacky of Milwaukee, and Collette Lehmann of West Bend; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her daughters, Yvonne Anderson and Stacy Schmitz, brother, Allen Lehmann, sister, Joyce Lehmann, and her mother and father-in-law, Kurtis and Lila Schmitz.
A visitation will be held from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 6205 Alderson St., Schofield. Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, with Rev. Raymond Connor officiating. Visitation on Monday will be from 10 a.m. until the time of service. A luncheon will follow the service, and then burial will take place at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Kronenwetter. Brainard Funeral Home – Everest Chapel, Weston is honored to assist the family with arrangements.
The family would like to thank the staff of Aspirus Wausau Hospital oncology and palliative care, as well as Rev. Raymond Connor for his visits and prayers of comfort.
Memories and condolences may be given at brainardfuneral.com.
Louis “Lou” Przesmicki
After putting on millions of miles in a semi, motor homes, vans and cars, Louis “Lou” J. Przesmicki, 84, Wausau, hung up his keys and mileage log, pulling into his final dock. Lou died on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, surrounded by his loving wife and family.
He was born April 6, 1935, on the family farm in Thorp, son of the late Martin and Sophie (Mroz) Przesmicki. He attended schools in the Thorp area through his sophomore year, when he moved with his parents to Chicago to live with his sister because of his father’s severe rheumatoid arthritis. He enrolled in a high school in Chicago for a brief time; but then had to leave school to help support the family. At that point he began his career with Sears Roebuck and Co. at the Catalogue Center in Chicago. At the age of 23, Lou was drafted into the United States Army where, while in Germany, he lost parts of two fingers on the “L” hand.
In fifth grade, he had met the new girl next door, LouAnn “Lou” Kaminski, over donuts with and made by his mother at the fence line between their family farms. Lou would become his wife and soulmate. On May 21, 1960, they married at St. Hedwig’s Country Catholic Church in Thorp and have been joined at the hips ever since. She survives.
In 1964, Lou was transferred with Sears to the store in Wausau where he continued his career with them. After spending 13 years with Sears, he discovered a love for the road, attended The Truck Driving School of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, and began truck driving for Radtke Trucking in Wausau, then Mortenson Trucking in Aniwa, Wisconsin, and finally in 1969 for Marathon Electric Corp., Wausau. By the time he retired January of 2000, he had turned over 3 million miles in a semi.
Lou was an active member of St. Matthew Catholic Church, where, as part of his church involvement, he also donated trucking time hauling papers for recycling as a fund raiser for Newman Catholic High School. As a member of the St. Matthew Men’s Club, he enjoyed working as a pastry filler on the annual pączki sale, and praying with the men for other members’ funerals, among other fellowship events. In church he was a eucharistic minister and usher, although it often seemed he paid more attention to the babies in the back of the church, making bird noises to make them laugh or keep them quiet. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus George Schreier Council No. 1069, Wausau and the Wausau West Side Circle of Joy as treasurer and shopper for the annual Thanksgiving Basket Project.
Lou dearly loved his family and would do anything and everything for them. When he got off the road from work, often the station wagon, camper, van or motorhome was already packed and ready to go for a family trip. Sometimes he just showered, changed and got right back on the road with the family with (Mrs.) Lou driving so he could spend time with the children. Starting with their honeymoon nearly 60 years ago, Lou and (wife) Lou clocked many miles together, traveling throughout the United States, Mexico, western Europe, and Guatemala, where daughter Sheila was serving in the Peace Corps.
When he wasn’t on the road, his biggest hobby was meticulous care of the lawn and yard. Neighbors even asked how he cut the grass so that they could do the same with theirs. He did everything he could to keep the pests out, even to the point of trapping squirrels and hauling them out to the country so they wouldn’t interfere with the lawn or bird feeders, which he kept filled so he and Lou could enjoy watching birds of all sorts. Since 2013, Lou had been collecting scrap metal of all kinds, disassembling items, and sorting for recycling. The proceeds he received were sent to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Booneville, Mississippi, to support its youth ministry.
Lou and Lou did everything together, attending Mass/church services, reading daily Scripture and prayer, raising the family and building most of the current family home. In their early years of courtship and marriage, they thoroughly enjoyed dancing to Old Time Polka music. Since 2006, their special moment every day was enjoying 5 oz. of red wine and 1 oz. of dark chocolate (all with their doctors’ approval) in the late afternoon, either on the deck or front porch, reviewing their day and planning the next one. Oftentimes visitors or neighbors would join them. Everyone and anyone was welcome anytime.
His “family” extended far beyond those who were blood-related, and like the Good Samaritan, he knew that his neighbor was anyone who needed a hand. He bought groceries for people, helped them with housing, took countless shifts to drive and care for his disabled sister-in-law, and added more miles to his car by delivering “Mobile Meals” for Aspirus Hospital for 10 several years until health issues prevented him from continuing to do so. In 1984, he and Lou welcomed a teenager into their home; little did he realize he would become the father she never really had and give her a new beginning in life. Lou never stopped helping, or just being a friend.
He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. It was a great ride.
Survivors include: his loving wife of 59 ½ years, LouAnn “Lou”; five children, Mark (Nancy) Przesmicki, Victorville, CA, Jeffrey (Julie) Przesmicki, Wauwatosa, Sheila Przesmicki, Hopkins, MN, Steven Przesmicki, Carlsbad, CA and Marcia (Steve) Moen, Cottage Grove; eight grandchildren, Jacey Gwin, Kyle, Madison, Blake, Nicholas and Derek Przesmicki, Ashley and Kira Moen; and one grandniece, Colleen McMahon. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his foster daughter, Lisa “Gizmo” Holeton; one sister, Mary Rhodes; and two brothers, Joseph and Raymond.
The funeral Mass will be celebrated at Noon on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at St. Matthew Catholic Church, Wausau. Rev. Peter Kieffer will preside. Military honors will be conducted by the American Legion Montgomery Plant Dudley Post No. 10, Wausau. Visitation will be on Friday from 5 until 8 p.m. at St. Matthew, and again on Saturday from 11 a.m. until time of services at the church. There will be a combined parish and Knights of Columbus rosary and prayer service followed by a St. Matthew Men’s Club memorial at 7:30 p.m. Friday evening at the church. Entombment will be on Saturday in a private ceremony, to be held at the Garden of Eternal Rest Mausoleum, Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund is being established in Lou’s memory.
Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 3400 Stewart Ave., Wausau, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com.
Jean Gehrke, 88, of Wausau passed away peacefully at her home on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019.
She was born Aug. 16, 1931, in Wausau to the late Harold and Hermandina (Bloedel) Sommerfeldt. Jean was a graduate of Wausau High School. Jean met the love of her life, Wally Gehrke. They were married on Dec. 29, 1951, at St. Stephen United Church of Christ, Merrill. Jean and Wally were members of the Star Dusters dance group. They loved to dance to the sounds of Big Band music at Colonial Ballroom and the different ballrooms around Wausau. In her younger years, Jean volunteered at St. Paul’s United Church Christ and worked for Welcome Wagon. She enjoyed bowling, playing Bridge, and cooking and baking for her family, friends and Wally’s co-workers at the Wausau Police Department.
Survivors include her children, Linda Gehrke of Wausau, Stuart (Jody) Gehrke of Merrill, five grandchildren, Rebecca (Brian) Hill, Victoria (Jeremy) Hankins, Cynthia (Ryan) Orvis, Richard (Jennie) Gehrke, Brayden Gehrke, nine great grandchildren, John and Louis Gehrke, Steven, James, William and Laura Hill, Hunter Hankins, Gabriel and Logan Orvis, four sisters, Shirley (Jerome) Nowak, Nancy Manowski, Lois (Robert) Ruether, Leta Klumpyan, brother, Harold “Buz” Sommerfeldt and sister-in-law, Marlene Sommerfeldt.
Jean was preceded in death by her husband, Wally, son, Steven, sister, Betty Viergutz, brother, Vernon Sommerfeldt and brothers-in-law, Michael Manowski and Thomas Klumpyan.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m., Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 426 Washington St., Wausau. Reverend Philip Schneider will officiate. Burial will be in Maple Grove Cemetery, village of Maine. Visitation will be Sunday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Helke Funeral Home, 302 Spruce St., Wausau, and at church on Monday from 10 a.m. until the time of services. You may sign our family guest book at helke.com.
Jon “Bear” Zwirschitz
Jon “Bear” Zwirschitz, 66, of Mattoon died on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, at Aspirus Hospital in Antigo.
Bear was born on Dec. 7, 1952, in Antigo, to the late Joe and Edna (Beck) Zwirschitz. Bear was well known throughout the community for his many roles including Shawano County Board Supervisor, President of the Mattoon Snow-Runners, and Mattoon Fire & EMS volunteer for 48 years, just to name a few. He enjoyed many things in life, his favorites being hunting, fishing, camping up north and spending time with family and friends.
He leaves behind his son, Justin (Pennie) Zwirschitz; significant other Ronda Rades; her son Gayland (Karen) Rades; grandchildren Vidalia, Cora and Temperance Zwirschitz; siblings Gary (Joyce) Zwirschitz, Diane (David) Weigel, Jayne (Tom) Schmidt, Tim (Barb) Zwirschitz and numerous friends and family. He will be dearly missed.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Birnamwood. Deacon Tom Hartman will officiate. Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. until the time of services at the funeral home.
Memories and messages of support may be shared at schmidtschulta.com.