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

Douglas Berres

On the evening of May 11, 2020, Doug passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home and went to be with his heavenly Father. He was surrounded by family.

Doug was born on July 24, 1929, to parents John C. and Hazel V. (LaDusire) Berres in Schofield, Wisconsin. He was the youngest of four children. Doug graduated from Wausau High School in 1947. He joined the National Guard and served for 25 years. At age 19, he enlisted with the U.S. Army and served in the Korean War in the 32nd Infantry Division.

Douglas Berres

Doug was an avid woodworker and he specialized in cabinetry. He started his career at Delisle’s when he was a teenager. He moved to Kolbe and Kolbe where he spent most of his career. He retired from Featherstone and continued his love of creating in his home workshop. He took so much pride in his handcrafted furniture and his family’s homes have so many examples of his love and craftsmanship.

At the time of his death, Doug had been married to Bev for almost 40 years. They were married in 1980, combining two families into one. He was a devout member of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Schofield and had served as an usher for many years. He loved to tell stories of the good old times and share them with family members and friends. He shared many memories and projects with his very good friend, Turk Flory, who met him at Heaven’s gates with doughnuts and project designs in hand.

Doug was preceded in death by his parents, John and Hazel Berres; brother, Darrel (LaVerne) Berres; sisters, Katy (Fred) Bilese and Charlotte (Edwin) Nelson; and step-daughter, Jane (Ken) Malpert.

He is survived by his wife, Bev, Weston; daughters, Kathy (Kevin) Haines, Green Bay, and Beth (Bill) Knoeck, Weston; adopted sons, Mike Polencheck (Lynn), Ironwood, and Brian (Anne) Polencheck, Wheaton, Illinois; stepson, Mike Dorski, Weston; stepdaughter, Janelle Dorski (Thad), Rothschild; and stepdaughter, Lori Tucker (Dennis); 14 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, July 18, 2020, at 10 a.m. Further details will be announced at a later time. The family is being assisted by Brainard Funeral Home – Everest Chapel. Online condolences may be shared at www.brainardfuneral.com. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you send a donation to your favorite charity in his name.

Doug’s family is very grateful and thankful for Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services in the last week of his life. Your kindness has been greatly appreciated.


Lenard LaPorte

Lenard LaPorte, 95, of Weston, Wisconsin, passed away Sunday, May 10, 2020, at Wellington Place, Rib Mountain, Wisconsin.

He was born July 5, 1924, in the town of Callon to the late Arthur and Augusta (Zinser) LaPorte. Lenard grew up surrounded by loving family where he spent time hunting and enjoying life.

Lenard LaPorte

When World War II broke out, Lenard was drafted, and (per his request) inducted into the Army Air Corps where he diligently served his country from 1941 until wars end. His service included tours through Italy, Germany and Africa, which gave him many stories and experiences to share with his children and grandchildren throughout the years.

After returning to Weston, Wisconsin, Lenard met the love of his life Susanna (Resch). They were married May 13, 1952, at St. James Catholic Church in Wausau Wisconsin. Lenard and Susanna were blessed with 68 years of marriage. 

Lenard worked for 40 years as a senior mechanic at the Kraft foods plant in Wausau, Wisconsin. His skills as a senior machinist and mechanic were utilized to develop innovative ideas to enhance plant production.

When Lenard was not working, he loved fixing and building everything from trailers to birdhouses, in addition duck carvings. Another very important part of his life was spent enjoying years of hunting and fishing with his children and grandchildren at their cabin on the Willow Flowage.

Survivors include three sons, Allan (Kerstin) of Minocqua, Wisconsin, Gary (Ann) of Mosinee, Wisconsin, David (Lori) of Weston, Wisconsin; grandchildren, Kristina (Alan Steiner), Max (Jessica), Danielle (James Wise), Amanda (Tabitha Borth), Bennet, Jake (Miranda Thomson); great grandchildren, include Lily, Austin, Jake, Jonah, Quinn, Logan, Robert. Lenard is also survived by his siblings, Larayne Kasynski (Carmel, California), Loren LaPorte (Rothschild, Wisconsin); brothers-in-law, Tony Resch (Weyauwega, Wisconsin), Marcus (Rosemary) Resch (Weston, Wisconsin).

Lenard was preceded in death by siblings, Edward, Arthur, Josephine, Clavita.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Mass and public celebration of Lenard’s life will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the nursing staff at Wellington Place in Rib Mountain, Wisconsin, for their kindness toward Lenard in his final days or St. Therese Catholic Church in Rothschild, Wisconsin.

Brainard Funeral Home and Cremation Center is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at www.brainardfuneral.com.


Karen Kleinschmidt

Karen M. Kleinschmidt, 62, Wausau, died peacefully at her home with her family by her side, on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, under the care of Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services.

She was born June 6, 1957, in Wausau, daughter of the late James and Rita (Riedel) Sparbel. On Sept. 25, 1999, she married Scott Kleinschmidt at St. John Lutheran Church, Hamburg. He survives.

Karen Kleinschmidt

For many years, Karen worked as a receptionist for local car dealerships, most recently at Brickner’s of Wausau until her retirement. One of her greatest joys was traveling to Captiva Island, Florida, with her husband, Scott. She had a strong passionate love for the ocean, sea life, especially turtles, shelling and spending time with her two boys. Karen loved her cat “Allie” and enjoyed cooking. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

Survivors include her husband, Scott, Wausau; two sons, Eric Willhite, Athens and Josh (Kristen) Willhite, Wausau; seven siblings, Brian (Connie) Sparbel, Tomahawk, Alice (Rob) Gray, Tomahawk, Joan (Tim) Harvey, Wausau, Susan (Mike) Desario, Yonkers, N.Y., Jim Sparbel, Plover, Cathy Sparbel, Tomahawk and Robert (Lynna) Sparbel, Minneapolis, MN; her mother-in-law, Lorraine Kleinschmidt, Wausau; her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Mike (Kitty Kramer) Kleinschmidt, Merrill, Lorrie (Dave) Franke, New London, Jamie (Kevin) Nash, Boulder, CO, Carla Beams, Wausau and Steve (Stacy) Kleinschmidt, Merrill; and many nieces and nephews. 

Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by one brother, Tom Sparbel, her father-in-law, Lawrence Kleinschmidt and her brother-in-law, Doug Beams.

Public visitation will be on Saturday, May 16, 2020, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 3400 Stewart Ave., Wausau. Social distancing will be observed. Private services will be held at 1 p.m.  The Rev. Donald Love will officiate.  Burial will be in St. John Cemetery, Hamburg.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services, Dr. Niaz Haque and the staff at Aspirus Oncology, and Dr. Stuart Wong and the staff at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, for the outstanding care and support given to Karen and her family.

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


Karen Gault

Karen K. Gault, 67, died Thursday, May 14, 2020, under the care of Ministry Home Care Hospice at House of the Dove, Marshfield.

She was born Feb. 1, 1953, in Appleton, daughter of the late Herbert and Helen (Hintz) Kippenhan.  On Aug. 2, 1975, she married Edward Gault at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Wausau.

Survivors include her husband, Ed Gault; daughters, Julie (Joseph Thorp) Gault and Jessica (Matthew) Tingue; and granddaughter, Desiree Tingue.

Private burial will be in Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau.

In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made in Karen’s memory to either:

Children’s Miracle Network, 611 N. Joseph Ave., Marshfield, WI 54449 or Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library, 105 S. Maple Ave., Marshfield, WI 54449

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


Loretta Emmerich

Trusting in her Savior Jesus Christ for her salvation and eagerly anticipating the joy of heaven that awaited her, Loretta M. Emmerich, 138095 CTH L, Athens, Wisconsin, left this world with her family at her side on May 14.

Loretta was born on Nov. 24, 1935, daughter of the late Rudolph and Ada (Tremelling) Punke. She graduated from Athens High School in 1953.  She married Wallace Emmerich on July 28, 1956, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Athens, Wisconsin with a wedding reception at the Punke farm.  Upon marriage, she joined her husband as a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod), Town of Hamburg.  

Loretta Emmerich

Loretta was a homemaker and beloved mother to her two sons, Rodney and Steve.  Loretta contributed to her and Wallace’s successful dairy farm by caring for the calves, helping with fieldwork, keeping the farm financial records, and providing meals for her family and the farm help.

Loretta was an active member of St John’s Lutheran church where she participated in Mary Martha Guild, the Church choir and many committees throughout the years.

Loretta and Wallace were members of the Holzhacker Tanzer (Woodchopper Dancers) – a German ethnic group.  Loretta and Wallace were also members of the Pommerscher Verein of Central Wisconsin and the Pommerscher Danz Gruppe (Pomeranian Dance Group). 

Loretta spent many hours designing and sewing her own garments. She loved caring for her lawn.  She was a talented cook that loved to prepare delicious meals for her family and friends.

Her greatest joy was in caring for her beloved grandchildren.  

Survivors include her husband, Wallace Emmerich; two sons, Rodney Emmerich and Steven (Nancee) Emmerich, all of Athens; grandchildren, Mikella (Eric) Schulz, Brandon Emmerich, Scott (Rachel) Piel, Ryan (Sarah) Piel, Nathan (Jenna) Piel and Christopher Emmerich; five great grandchildren; two sisters, Elaine (Alan) Mortenson and Lorraine (Richard) Schedler.

Besides her parents, Loretta was preceded in death by an infant son and one brother, Harold Punke.

Visitation will be held on Monday, May 18, 2020, from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services at St. John Lutheran Church, 134058 County Road L, town of Hamburg.  Social distance guidelines will be in place.  An outdoor drive in funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday following the visitation.  The Rev. Dan Love will officiate. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Athens is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com.


Ken Christianson

Ken Christianson, 91, died May 12, 2020, at Rennes Health and Rehab Center, Weston, and is now at peace with his Lord and Savior.

He was born in Green Bay, son of the late Ben and Stella Christianson. On Sept. 2, 1950, he and Betty were married at Annunciation Catholic Church, Green Bay. She survives.

Ken Christianson

Ken retired in 1991 after working 40 years at Green Bay Packaging – in Green Bay and Wausau.

Ken was very creative, and especially talented in wood working.  He made numerous furniture and decorative items that are cherished by his family.  He and Betty enjoyed going up north to their “cabin”.  They often invited family there,  so everyone could enjoy time with them in this special place.  Countless memories were made in the great outdoors exploring, fishing and other fun things.  He enjoyed traveling, and was an avid  Packer and Brewer fan.

Ken enjoyed teaching important  lessons from everyday life or from a story he would tell.  He was an example of commitment, hard work and love for his family.

Ken is survived by his wife, Betty;  children, Lynn (Don)  Neenah, Larrie Madison, Carol (Herb) Ninnemann  Wausau and Donna (Dennis) Lake Tomahawk; granddaughters, Kris (Francis) , Jamie (Jeremiah)  Jenny (Gaylen), Sarah (Jason) and Brittany;  grandsons, Brian (Kaye), Matt (Courtney) and Tyler; 16 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren; siblings Jim (Shirley), and sister-in-law Mary.  Also many nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Bernadine La Plant, brothers Lloyd Christianson and Deacon  Edward Christianson.

Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, a private family memorial service will be held Wednesay, May 20, 2020. 

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


Albon “Sonny” Sonnentag

Albon “Sonny” R. Sonnentag, 81, Wausau, died Sunday, May 10, 2020, at Ascension St. Clare’s Hospital, Weston.

He was born May 27, 1938, in Leona, son of the late Albon Sr. and Rita (Effors) Sonnentag.  He graduated from Edgar High School in 1956.  On Oct. 8, 1960, he married Geraldine Wallner at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Edgar.  She survives.

Albon “Sonny” Sonnentag

Shortly after high school, Sonny joined the United States Navy.  He served his country in the Vietnam War, retiring in 1975 as a Master Chief Petty Officer.  Following retirement he worked at Fore-Way Express and Electrolux. 

Sonny’s hobbies included hunting, fishing and golf.  He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren in his later years. 

Survivors include his wife, Geraldine “Geri” Sonnentag; children, Sandra (Kevin) Schmitz and Richard (Marie) Sonnentag; grandchildren Kyle Staszak, Kaitlyn (Josh) Petersilka, Shaelyn Schoen, Austin Sonnentag, Aaron Sonnentag, Alexis Sonnentag, great-grandchildren Carter, Olivia, Cameron and Calliejo, siblings Karen Dix, Dennis (Marilyn) Sonnentag and Terry (Angel) Sonnentag; sister-in-law, Fran Sonnentag.

Besides his parents, Sonny was preceded in death by his brother Michael and his brother-in-law, Jim Dix.

A private burial will be in St. John Cemetery, Edgar. 

A celebration of life will be at a later date when the Covid restrictions are lifted.

The family wishes to express their sincere appreciation to the staff at Pride TLC Therapy and Living Campus for the compassionate care given to Sonny during his time with them. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made to the American Diabetes Association in Sonny’s memory.

Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 3400 Stewart Ave., Wausau, is in charge of arrangements.  Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com.


Sandra Ceranski

Sandra (Koeb) Ceranski, San Diego, California, passed away on Friday, May 8, 2020, at South Bay Post Acute Care in Chula Vista, California.

She was born on Sept. 10, 1943, in Chicago, Illinois, the youngest daughter of the late John and Cecilia Koeb.  She attended Catholic grade School and graduated from high school in Chicago, Illinois, and on May 4, 1963, married Hilary Ceranski.

Sandra Ceranski

The couple moved to Bellwood where she became a mother.  They then moved to Elmhurst and settled in Bloomingdale where she enjoyed bowling, block parties with the neighbors, playing games with her family, and Bingo.  She loved to dance!  She worked as an assembler of cassette and 8 track tapes and then later as a secretary.

After her divorce and caring for both her sister and mother, she followed her dreams and moved to sunny California where she had a season pass to Sea World and loved the beaches.  Her laugh will not be forgotten by anyone who knew her and she will be missed by many.

Survivors include her son, Michael Ceranski, her daughter, Donna (Jeff) Denfeld and granddaughter, Holly (Matt) Nowak, and many nieces and nephews.

Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by both of her brothers:  Kenneth (Delphine) Koeb and Ralph (Anne) Koeb and her only sister, Maureen Guessner.

The family wishes to extend their gratefulness to the staff of Together Hospice Services and the staff at South Bay for their kindness to Sandra during her stay.


Dianna Pospyhalla

Dianna passed on the 9th of May in the early evening after her struggle with cancer. Her sister, Karen Rathke and brother-in-law Don were by her side.

Dianna Pospyhalla

She is survived by sister Karen, brothers-in-law Richard Pospyhalla and family in Wausau, Wisconsin, Donald Rathke in Arizona, sister-in-law Joanie Berens and family in Muskego, Wisconsin, area. Numerous nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, also many, many close friends, and cousins and one Aunt Harriet of Arrsdale, Wisconsin, also Herman and “Chevy”.

Dianna was a graduate of Adams/Friendship High School in 1965. She was preceded in death by her husband Edward Pospyhalla, Her father and motherNorman and Dorothy Hartwig, father and mother in law Edward and Jessie Pospyhalla, her grandmother and numerous aunts and uncles.

A celebration of life will be held and determined on a later date due to Covid 19 virus.


William Pingel Jr.

William J. Pingel Jr., 73, town of Aniwa, died on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at home.

William was born on April 18, 1947, in Antigo, the son of William Sr. and Martha (Radun) Pingel.

William Pingle Jr.

William worked at Drott Manufacturing as a fabricator. He also worked at Reynolds Sugar Bush and logged on the Menominee Reservation. William enjoyed hunting raccoons, bobcats, deer and bear. He also loved watching and feeding the birds.

William is survived by his siblings, Lois Bula, Lloyd (Josephine) Pingel, Marie (Myron) Podjaski, Marianne Hegewald, Loretta (John) Lucht, Virginia (Larry) Wegener, Leonard (Toni) Pingel, and Patsy Pingel; sister-in-law Yvonne Pingel; many nieces and nephews, as well as great nieces and nephews; and friend, August Kosbab.

William was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Orville Pingel; sisters, Esther Pingel and Joyce Krueger; two nieces, Paula Pingel and Elizabeth Barttelt; nephew, Scott Bula; great nephew, Kyle Lucht; sister-in-law, Carmen Pingel; and brother-in-law, Dennis Hegewald.

A funeral service will be held at a later date at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Birnamwood. At this time, the family is asking that all condolences, gifts of money, letters and cards be mailed to The William Pingel Jr. Family, c/o Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, PO Box J, Birnamwood, WI 54414.

Memories and messages of support may be shared at schmidtschulta.com.


Investigative journalist, music enthusiast, blogger, animal lover, kayaker, knitter, wife, mother.