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Wausau area obituaries, Nov. 11, 2019

in Milestones

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

Donald Pagenkopf

Donald Richard Pagenkopf fought the good fight and finished the race on Friday, November 8, 2019 surrounded by his loving family at Marshfield Medical Center. He was 83 years old.

Don was born in the Town of Stettin on July 19, 1936 to the late Earl and Berniece (Albrecht) Pagenkopf. He would meet the love of his life, Donna Mae Walters, in the third grade. They married on November 10, 1956 at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, where they have been dedicated and faithful members since. He was a student at Wausau East High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at Mt. Scenario College, Ladysmith. Don and Donna raised their children, Scott and Lisa, in Rib Mountain.

Don had an illustrious career in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. Enlisting in 1954, he served as the Communication & Electronics Officer, being promoted to Colonel in 1988. He received state and national military decorations and honors for his leadership and performance of duty. He was known for his technical competence, sound judgement, loyalty, keen mind, outstanding instruction, and positive energy. His advice and counsel were sought out by service members of all ranks. Don retired from service in 1993.

In addition to a successful career in the military, Donald was the owner and president of Northway Communications in Wausau. Starting in 1960, he would foster the highest level of confidence in his customers by conducting business in a professional and ethical manner. He was held in high regard by all his employees throughout his years of leadership with Northway. His legacy lives on through his children who now own and operate the business.

Don also served his local community by being a member of the American Legion, Wausau Elks Lodge, and a 35-year volunteer for the Wausau Emergency Police. He was also a Ham Radio Operator, supporting many local Ham Repeater clubs and their repeaters. He earned his pilot license and served many years as a Lt. Col. in the Civil Air Patrol as a member of the Rib Mountain Squadron as well as flying privately. Don also golfed in the Geritol League at Indianhead Golf Course. Special to him were the many lifelong friendships he and Donna made and cherished throughout the years.

Above all, the accomplishment Don was most proud of was his family. There was never a sporting event missed or dance recital left unattended. He could repair and fix anything he set his mind to. Whether taking family hunting or fishing trips to Canada, camping and spending time up north at the cottage, or taking the family on vacations to places familiar and new, Don was happiest when surrounded by those he loved. His best memories involved his grandchildren, of whose successful lives he took great pride in. His warm smile and generous heart will be missed by those who knew him. Simply put, he was an amazing man with an amazing life.

He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Donna, Kronenwetter; his son, Scott (Diana) Pagenkopf, Wausau, and their family, Christopher (Megan), Minneapolis, and Courtney, Milwaukee; his daughter, Lisa (Dr. Shawn) Sippl, Kronenwetter, and their family, Zachary, La Crosse, and Zoë, Madison; as well as many other extended relatives. He was preceded in death by his parents, and brothers Earl Jr. and LeRoy Pagenkopf.

A Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 426 Washington St., Wausau. Rev. Dr. Philip Schneider will officiate. Visitation will be held on Friday, November 15, at Brainard Funeral Home – Everest Chapel, 5712 Memorial Court, Weston from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., and again on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service at the church. Interment will be held at Restlawn Memorial Park Garden of Eternal Rest where military honors will be performed by the American Legion Montgomery-Plant-Dudley Post 10. A memorial fund in Don’s honor will be established at a later date.

Brainard Funeral Home – Everest Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at www.brainardfuneral.com

Don’s family would like to extend their gratitude to the staff of 8 North and Palliative Care staff at Marshfield Medical Center for their compassionate care of Don and the entire family.


Lena Blohm

Lena G. Blohm 92 passed away peacefully at Rennes Health and Rehab Center in Weston early Saturday, November 9, 2019.

Lena was born on August 13, 1927 to Charles Edgar and Mary Melissa (Barrett) Gibson on a farm near Barnesville, Ohio in Belmont County. She grew up in Barnesville, graduating from Barnesville High School in 1945 and remained living and working there until her marriage.

She married John (Jack) Gallagher on September 11, 1948. They began married life and their family in southeast Ohio before moving to Wausau in 1959 where they continued raising their five children: Jane (David) Dozier, Thomas (Kathy) Gallagher, Melissa (Mitch) Hinich, Patrick (Minna) Gallagher and Amy (Roy Schmitz) Gallagher. Grandchildren from this union are: Elizabeth and Max Dozier, Erin and Rory Gallagher, Jack Hinich, Meghan, Kate and Anne Gallagher and Kyle, Emily and Kasey Gallagher-Schmitz.

Lena and Jack were married until his unexpected death in 1962. At just 35 she was left to raise five young children single handedly, which she did with unwavering commitment and dignity. During those years she worked in several secretarial positions, including the Wausau Elks Club and Wausau West High School. Lena found support in her faith and new found Wausau friends to successfully complete her most important job, that of mother.

In August 1979, Lena married Edward William Blohm. Ed had five children of his own which created Gallagher-Blohm, Inc. The Blohm children are Nola (John) Furmanek and their children Lindsey, Justin and Riley, Dale (Bella) Blohm and their son Eric, Lori (Terri) Blohm, Kaye (Doug) Erickson and their children Kassie, Nick, Nate and Karolyn and Beth (Scott) Hoff and their children Raelena and Kayson.

Lena and Ed shared almost 40 years together until his death in July of this year. They built a life enjoying time with family and friends, camping, fishing, and playing cribbage. Lena missed him beyond words.

In addition to the 10 Gallagher-Blohm, Inc. children, Lena is survived by 21 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, her brother Jim (Kathy) Gibson and many dear friends. She, too, will be missed beyond words.

A celebration of life will be held at 11:30 AM on Friday, November 15, 2019 at Brainard Funeral Home – Wausau Chapel, 522 Adams St. Private burial will follow the service at Restlawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be from 10:00 AM until the time of service on Friday at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that those wishing to remember and honor Lena Gallagher Blohm do something kind and caring for someone in need.

Thank you to all the nurses, CNA’s and doctors at Aspirus Hospital, Rennes Health and Aspirus Hospice who cared for Lena over the last few months. And a very special thank you to George and Peggy Tanner for 40 years of devoted friendship to Lena and Ed.


Kristine Ayvaczdeh

Kristine (Zoromski) Ayvaczdeh, 49, St. Germain, died Sunday November 3, 2019 at home.

She was born December 24, 1969, in Wausau, daughter of Mark Zoromski, Kronenwetter and Lynn (Busko) Tessmer, Weston.

Kristine enjoyed the outdoors and all that went with it including, camping, hunting and fishing.  She was the owner and operator of Kristine’s Crystal Cleaning.

Survivors include her father, Mark Zoromski, Kronenwetter, her mother, Lynn (Mike) Tessmer, Weston, two sisters, Shelly (Jeff) Adams, Wausau, Sheila (Dale) Kuhnert, Kronenwetter, two nephews, one niece and one great niece, a special friend, Nick Lecher, St. Germain, aunts, uncles, cousins, other relatives and friends.

A Celebration of Life Visitation will be from 1:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Monday November 11, 2019 at Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 1302 Sixth Street, Wausau.  Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com


Frederick Haasl

Frederick N. Haasl, 77, Wausau, died Saturday November 9, 2019 at the Cady Home, Wausau.

He was born November 25, 1941, in Auburndale, son of the late Norbert and Agnes (Aschbeck) Haasl. Fred lived a simple life growing up on the family farm with his parents and sisters. He was an avid collector of John Deere toy tractors.

Survivors include two sisters, Shirley (James) Palecek, Wausau and Darlene (Don) Marzofka, Rudolph; nieces & nephews, Jane & Tod Kittel, Mike & Jen Palecek, Darla & Dave Moran, Dan Marzofka; cousins, other relatives and friends. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by two nephews, Dave Marzofka and Dale Marzofka.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated 11:00 a.m. Friday November 15, 2019 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Auburndale. Rev. Murali Anand Rayappan will preside. Burial will be in the parish cemetery. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. Friday until the time of services at the church. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund is being established.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com


Pauline M. (Polly) Rolnicki

Our heavenly Father saw she was getting tired and whispered “Come with Me”.  Pauline (Polly) Rolnicki, age 99 yrs., died on Sunday November 10, 2019 at _Benedictine Manor, Wausau, WI .    She was born June 14, 1920 to Julius and Frances (Trzebiatowski) Lewandoski in the Town of Ried, Marathon County, WI .  She was born at home, assisted by her grandmother Josephine Trzebiatowski,  a midwife in the Bevent area.  She was the middle child of eleven children born to her parents.  She happily helped raise her brothers and sisters and helped in the planting and harvesting of family gardens and fields, adopting her lifelong strong work ethic.   She was the third generation on the Lewandoski homestead on Crooked Lake (now Mission Lake).   She attended Washington School and St. Ladislaus Catholic school in Bevent, WI, sometimes walking the two miles to and from school or being driven to school in the horse and buggy by her “Pa”.  She was proud of her Polish Heritage and spoke both Polish and English throughout her life.  As was the custom in those days, Polly left home in her later teens to help her family, by working in homes in Wausau.

Polly married Edward Rolnicki on September 1941 at her family church in Bevent, WI.  As a young bride, for over 3 years, she endured her husband’s deployment to the South Pacific in WWII.   She worked for the War effort at the Marathon Rubber Plant in Wausau, making raincoats for our troops .  After his return, three children were born to Polly & Eddie: Catherine  (Earl) Molstad of Harrison Hills,  WI., Thomas (deceased in 2009) and Don (Cherye) Rolnicki of Stevens Point, WI.

Polly was a founding member of the St. Anne Parish and a lifetime member of the Fatima Council.  She volunteered at the church fish fries, Polka Fest and putting together bulletins. She enjoyed playing cards with the “Sociables” of St. Annes.  She prided herself in working in the homes of the Hammes, Kraft Vachreau & Gibson families of Wausau and enjoyed the family’s friendship.  Polly worked for the Democratic Party at the voting polls for a number of years.  In later years she herself provided in-home care for Eddie as he became bedridden.  She did this with loving care and determination.  Polly volunteered for 12 years at Marywood Nursing Home (now the Benedictine Living Center) prior to her eventually becoming a resident there herself.  She loved “Marywood” and would not ever think of going anywhere else when it came time for her to leave her home.    We miss mom’s wonderful baked goods, dinners and polka music playing on her stereo when we visited.

Polly loved her children and their spouses, her siblings, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren and will be sadly missed .   She is survived by her children: Catherine and Don , grandchildren : Ann (Ray) Hessil and their children Thomas and Emma;  Pam (Tim) Koch and their children Carson, Kiley and Connor.  She is further survived by her sister,  Delphine Gabrielski,  her Godchildren : Mary Chaston, David Nevinski, Marcia McKloskey and Mark Lewandowski;  special family friend Al Heider,  plus numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Polly is sharing eternity with her parents Julius and Frances, husband Eddie and devoted son Tom; plus those brothers and sisters and Godson that went before her :  Edmund,  Henry and Florian Lewandoski, Irene Nevinski, Theresa Dombeck, Esther Soczka, Virginia Kristof,  Anna Lewandoski, Mayme Rozmenoski and  Godson Ernest Rozmenoski Jr..

We thank Benedictine Manor angels for their loving care of Polly while she made her home there, as well as Dr. Frank Rubino, &  Mary Jo RN and  Dr. Kevin O’Connell for their excellent and kind care of Polly over the years.

Visitation will be held at St. Anne Catholic Church, Wausau, Friday November 15, 2019 from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. with Funeral Mass at 4:00 p.m.  Private family Burial will take place at Restlawn Cemetery ­­­­ Monday Nov. 18,  2019.  Memorials can be directed to St. Anne  Library, and/or Benedictine Activity Department .

Peterson Kraemer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com


Barbara Halminiak

Barbara A. Halminiak, 76, died Thursday, October 31, 2019 under the care of Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services at her home.

She was born February 1, 1943 in Wausau, daughter of the late George and Gertrude (Nowacki) Paulman. On September 3, 1960 she married Lawrence Halminiak in Wausau. He preceded her in death on September 24, 1989.

Barbara worked as a bartender at The Domino Bar in Wausau for 35 years.

Survivors include her children, Jenny Ohland, Andy (Lauri) Halminiak, Larry Halminiak and Patricia (John) Sanderfer; grandchildren, James (Mysti), David, Jamie (Barry), Max, Danny and R.J.; four great-grandchildren, other relatives and friends.

Besides her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by a brother, George Paulman and sisters, Merceda Christensen and Virginia Heldt.

A celebration of Barbara’s life will be Saturday, November 16, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at The Domino Bar, 740 Washington Street, Wausau.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial is being established.

Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 1302 Sixth St., Wausau, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com


Ralph Weeks

Ralph Weeks, 78, of Wausau, passed quietly on Nov. 10, 2019.

He was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, to Juanita and Russell Weeks. In High School, he played football, basketball and baseball (which later he was a referee for those sports). After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force, serving 20 years with two tours in Vietnam. He retired from the military as a recruiter.

He met Karen in 1974 and they married in August of 1975. They moved with Karen’s three children to Wisconsin. The couple started foster parenting in Michigan and continued in Wisconsin. Ralph and Karen, along with raising her three children, helped over 250 foster children. In 2011, they received the Foster Parents of the Year in the state of Wisconsin. After retiring, Ralph went to work at the post office for 20 years. He was a town chairman and had served on the Marathon County Board.

Ralph loved to travel and play golf. The best time playing golf was when he beat his brother, Bob.

He is survived by his wife, Karen; and he was the father to Cash, Russell (Chris) Weeks; stepfather to David Bouyear Jr. (Carol Davidsowski), Lisa (Kris) Reynolds and Lance (Christine) Bouyear; grandfather to Alex Weeks, Anthony Weeks, David Bouyear III (Misti), Joshua Reynolds, Brendan Reynolds, Sasha Bouyear and Antone Bouyear; great-grandfather to Haley Bouyear and David Bouyear IV; brother to Robert (Jane) Weeks, Don (Susan) Kieger, Kay (Bob) Stephens Weeks, Janet Schnurpel and Patty Weeks.

Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, Juanita and Russell; step-father, Loran Kieger; sister, Patty; son, Cash; and brother-in-law, Bob Stephens.

The family will be having a celebration of Ralph’s life (to be determined at a later date).

The Mid-Wisconsin Cremation Society is assisting the family. For online condolences, please visit www.HonorOne.com.


Garret L Gusman

Garret L. Gusman 76, Weston, passed away at his home on November 8, 2019. He was born to the late John and Marjorie (Gavitt) Gusman on April 12, 1943. He was united in marriage on June 24, 1978 at the Redeemer Church to Rose (Oleinik). Together they celebrated 41 years. Garret enjoyed spending time fishing up at their cottage on Pine Lake, hunting, taking rides and sight-seeing, going to the casinos, and socializing with friends and family.

He is survived by his wife Rose, sons, Richard Gusman, Eugene (Renee) Borth, daughters, Robin (Clay) Bierbrauer, Lynn (Lee) Stanislawski, one sister Elaine (Orville) Dabler, seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his son Jonathon, and one brother John.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, November 11, 2019 at Our Saviors Natioinal Catholic Church 804 Jackson St., Mosinee with Pastor Marion Talaga officiating. Visitation will be from 10:00 am until time of Mass at 11:00.

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


Ruth Olcott

Ruth Virginia Olcott, previously of Rothschild, Wisc., who reached her 90th birthday on the 25th of October, passed away peacefully on November 8th.  She was married to Burt F. Olcott on June 7, 1951.

In her younger years, they enjoyed square dancing and were active members of the Wausau Curling Club. Ruth enjoyed countless summers at the family cottage on Crescent Lake in Rhinelander.  She also played bridge and was very social with many friends.  She played the piano beautifully and enjoyed feeding the birds while chasing away the squirrels.  She always loved the beauty that nature surrounded her with.

Ruth was a wonderful, loving mother to her three children: Robin (Harvey) Wolff of Ringle, Laura Connell of Weston, and Jeff (Linda) Olcott of Rib Mountain.  She was loved by her nine grandchildren: Andy (Kelly) Wolff, Kevin(Kelli) Wolff, Julia Wolff, Clint (Beth) Osborn, Ben and Steven Zastrow, Brandon (Jami) Olcott, Jenna Olcott; and six great-grandchildren: Braydyn, Joci, Brax, Logan, Iris and Isaac.  She was affectionately called BigMom by her grand & great grandchildren.  Ruth was preceded in death by her husband; four siblings; and her grandson, Jesse Zastrow.  She had many nieces and nephews.

Ruth was a homemaker for most of her life but worked at the Marathon County Health Department and Wausau Courthouse after her children grew up.  Her family would like to thank the staff of Lake View Heights at North Central Health Care Center who lovingly cared for Ruth for 2 1/2 years before her passing.

Private family services will be held.  Any memorials may be directed to Alzheimer’s research.

The John J. Buettgen Funeral Home/Mid-Wisconsin Cremation Society are assisting the family. For online condolences, please visit www.HonorOne.com.

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