Obituaries are a service of Brainard Funeral Home, with locations in Wausau and Weston.
Jerome Wirkus, 97, Edgar, died peacefully at home, as he had wished, surrounded by his children on June 12, 2020. He was born on Aug. 10, 1922, the son of the late Frank and Rose (Goldbach) Wirkus. He was a lifelong resident of Edgar, Wisconsin.
Jerome was a proud World War II veteran. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1942 and served until 1945. He received his boot training and attended service school at Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. After graduating from service school he was assigned to the light cruiser U.S.S. Birmingham. He was one of the honor guards for the commissioning ceremony of that ship. His tour of duty included the Atlantic, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the South Pacific. He was wounded during the liberation of the Philippines (Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944) and received the Purple Heart and Navy Unit Commendation awards. On Nov. 15, 1945, he married the love of his life Alvina Hall, who had waited for him three years until he returned home from military service.
When he opened the Wirkus Grocery store in 1945, it was the ninth grocery store open at that time in the Edgar area. Jerome was in the grocery business for 38 years. He loved all sports, and especially enjoyed his yearly fishing trips to Canada with his sons, making his last trip at age 95.
Jerome was a charter member of the Edgar VFW, a member of the American Legion since 1945, and a life member of the Disabled American Veterans of Wausau. While a member of the Edgar American Legion, he served the post as Commander, treasurer, and was adjutant for twenty-five years. In April 2011, he was privileged to go on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight to tour historical sites and view the World War II monument in Washington D.C. A legacy stone in his honor was laid by his family at the Highground Veterans Memorial Park in Neillsville. He was a graduate of the Edgar High School class of 1940 and he was inducted into the Edgar High School Alumni Hall of Fame in September 2008.
He is survived and will be greatly missed by his children: Richard (Grace) Wirkus, Edgar; Roger Wirkus, Wausau; Marge (Jim) Michalski, Waupaca; and John Wirkus, Edgar. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Barb (Doug) Brehm and their sons Simon and Everet; Kelly (Tom) Bauman; Tim (Laura) Michalski and their children Spencer and Lizzie; Kimberly (Ryan) Henning and their children, Landon and Harper; and Megan (Ben) Gudex. He is also survived by his brothers Mel Wirkus, Clinton WI, and Lawrence (Joan) Wirkus, Edgar, as well as sisters-in-law Delphine Wadzinski, Catherine Myszka, Jeanette LaPean.
He was preceeded in death by his wife Alvina in February 2015, infant sibling George, brothers Dave, Philip, Ed, and sisters Joanne Pettinger, Marge White, Till Reed, Bernadine Wirkus, and Vangie Wilichowski.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 17, 2020, at St. John Catholic Church, Edgar. Rev. Thomas Huff will preside. Burial will be in the parish cemetery where full military honors will be conducted by members of the Edgar American Legion and Edgar V.F.W. Visitation will be on Wednesday from 9 a.m. until the time of services at the church. Current social distancing guidelines will be practiced. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to St. John’s Catholic Church or St. John’s Catholic School, in Edgar, Wisconsin.
Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Edgar, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com.
Dan Clark McNamara — a devoted husband, father and grandfather — died in peace surrounded by many family members at the Hospice House in Wausau, Wisconsin, on June 13, 2020. He was 78 at the time of his passing.
Born on Aug. 30, 1941, to John and Elizabeth McNamara, he spent his formative years in idyllic Superior, Wisconsin. Even in later years, he loved to tell stories of romping about with his many childhood friends. He started college close to home at the University of Wisconsin Superior, but finished at the Madison campus where he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps.
After graduating, Dan married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Susan (Gray) McNamara, and joined the United States Air Force to serve his country. Together, they raised a family (two sons and a daughter) while stationed throughout the world in such places as Ohio, California, Texas, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Florida, Guam, and Portugal. Over his career, Dan served in many roles including missile control officer, bombardier planning officer, and commander of military police. He retired as a Colonel. But not long after retirement, cancer took his wife, and his life changed again.
Dan married the second love of his life, Helen (Haynes) McNamara, then a librarian in Antigo, Wisconsin. They settled in Antigo, but later moved to Wausau, Wisconsin. Dan spent several rewarding years teaching adult education classes with the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians. Dan and Helen lived together on the edge of Rib Mountain enjoying their life in retirement and spending time with their expanded families. He liked boating, fishing, birding, cheesing, and cheering on the Green Bay Packers. They travelled frequently (including in a massive RV) throughout the United States and abroad. Helen was constantly at his side throughout his medical travails during the last year.
Dan is survived by his devoted wife, Helen, and a large family, including: sister Margie Doyle of St. Paul, Minnesota; son Tom (Adrienne) McNamara and grandchildren Conor, Maureen, and Brigid of Denver, Colorado; son Tim (Donna) McNamara and granddaughter Rachael of Dallas, Texas; daughter Patty (Chris) Dunleavy and grandchildren Lauren, Morgan, Cathryn, Taylor and T.J. of Rogers, Minnesota; step-daughter Patty (Jeff) Mayers and grandchildren Jack and Marie of Madison, Wisconsin; and step-daughter Chrissy Richter and grandchildren Max and Samantha of Madison, Wisconsin.
Dan’s funeral will be at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Wausau, Wisconsin, and he will be interred in Superior, Wisconsin. However, due to the health concerns caused by the unprecedented COVID pandemic, the services will be private. Friends are encouraged to reach out to the family directly.
Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com.
Eric Jesse Jr.
Eric Jesse Jr of Wausau, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully on Wednesday evening June 10, 2020, at North Central Health Care at the age of 92.
Eric was born on Nov. 19, 1927, in Wausau to parents Eric Sr and Elizabeth “Liz” Jesse. Eric graduated from Wausau East High School in 1945. Following high school, he dedicated himself to his country by enlisting in the U.S. Army. When he returned to civilian life, he found a career as a tool and die maker.
In 1950, he married the love of his life Joann (Vesely), who survives him and is currently living at North Central Health Care. They were blessed to celebrate 70 years of love and devotion together. A quiet man of faith, he demonstrated a steadfast commitment to work, family and his love of the outdoors. Some of his favorite times were spent on family camping and fishing trips in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and Canada. In his spare time, he used his creativity and craftsmanship on numerous projects and mementos cherished by his friends and family. Now, many of them will become an ever-lasting symbol of his life and love.
Eric, Dad, Grandpa will be missed by all those fortunate to be touched by his warm heart, peaceful nature and subtle sense of humor. He will forever be remembered for a life lived honestly and with humility. In addition to his wife Joann, Eric is survived by sons Randy (Teresa), Jeff (Luke), Tim (Cary), Jon (Louise) and Joe (Marcia), nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, along with devoted spouses and brother Richard “Dick”. He was predeceased by son Greg (Carol) in 2016.
The Jesse family wishes to thank the amazing caregivers at North Central Health Care and Aspirus Hospice for their care and compassion to both Eric and Joann. Private graveside services were held Saturday at Restlawn Memorial Park.
Memorial contributions in Eric’s name can be made to the Aspirus Hospice at:
Aspirus Health Foundation
Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services Funds
333 Pine Ridge Blvd.
Wausau, Wi 54401
Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com.
Nancy Kay Young, 71, of Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin, passed away in the arms of her loving husband, Jim, on June 9, 2020, at the Aspirus Wausau Hospital.
Nancy was born to Gillman and Leone (Scheelk) Treu at St. Mary’s Hospital in Wausau on April 15, 1949. She grew up in Rib Mountain and was in the first kindergarten class at Rib Mountain grade school. She graduated from Wausau Senior High school in 1967. During her time at Wausau Senior High, she met the love of her life, Jim Young. They were married Nov. 9, 1968. They celebrated their 50th anniversary with family and friends in 2018.
Nancy worked in the offices of Paul Shore, Szmanda Dental, Family Health Specialist and in several roles in the Wausau School District. She was also the owner and artistic director of Blackberry Creek Soaps. She was known as Nana to a plethora of John Marshall neighborhood children, especially the friends of her grandchildren.
Nancy loved gardening and cooking. She loved making treats for family and friends. Taking care of people made her happy. She loved spending time on the lake, fishing or even reading a book. Nancy spent her days in the past few years crocheting afghans for her grandchildren. Everywhere she went, she brought her bag of stitching and kept creating new projects.
Nancy is survived by her children: Heather (Kent) Busig, Matt (Kristen) Young, Cassie (Justin) Deno Young, Bee and Missy Young, grandchildren Emma, Madeleine and Jonathon Busig and Kate and Megan Young, brothers Jon and Robert Treu, and many nieces and nephews.
Nancy was preceded in death by her parents Gillman and Leone (Scheelk) Treu, sister Catherine Treu.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to The Women’s Community, Inc. of Wausau, as Nancy felt passionately about helping decrease domestic violence, especially wanting to help women and children in need.
A very small family service will be held at First UU Church of Wausau with a celebration of life as yet to be scheduled in the summer of 2021.
On Sunday, June 7, 2020, Cecil I. Stein, passed away peacefully at the age of 102.
Cecil was born in Edgar, Wisconsin, on July 6, 1917. He made his home in Wausau, Schofield and Bushnell, Florida.
Prior to being drafted in World War II, Cecil served in the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1935 to 1939. It was during this time of his service that he met the love of his life, Hazel Nelson, whom he married on June 5, 1945, following his honorable discharge from the Army in May 1945. His military honors include a Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, and Purple Heart, which he received as a result of being wounded during 1944 in the Battle of Leyte, Philippines.
Cecil worked at Kraft Foods for many years and retired in 1975. After his retirement, he and Hazel enjoyed traveling, making numerous trips out West; they also traveled to Hawaii, Alaska and various other memorable locations.
Cecil is survived by his daughter Jan Jablonski, Schofield, granddaughter Tracy (Kevin) Thays, grandson Jason (Jamie) Jablonski, great grandchildren Paige and Kyla Thays, Mya and Ryan Jablonski. He is also survived by his half-brother Richard Stein (California). He was preceded in death by his wife, Hazel, his parents and five siblings, and his great grandson Shayne Thays.
A military service will be held at Pine Grove Cemetery, Wausau, July 6, 2020, at 10 a.m. Special thanks to the staff at Aspirus Comfort Care, Mount View Care Center for taking care of Cecil in his final days.
Jane L. Wendler, 96, of Wittenberg passed away peacefully on June 15, 2020, surrounded by her family.
She was born on July 3, 1923, in Wittenberg, Wisconsin, the daughter of the late William and Tina (Wolff) Hanke.
Jane graduated from Wittenberg High School and married Roland “Rollie” Wendler on Oct. 30, 1943, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg. Together they lived, raised a family, and dairy farmed in the township of Wittenberg for many years. When the nest was empty, Jane worked at the Homme Home in Wittenberg until retirement.
Upon retirement, Jane and Rollie enjoyed spending time at their cottage in Post Lake. They traveled all over the United States, with Dollywood and Branson, Missouri, and Alaska highlighting their many travels. Jane enjoyed gardening, baking, trout fishing on her bridge for German browns, and dancing. She especially enjoyed the many waltzes with Rollie, the love of her life.
Jane loved her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She took pride in each and every one of them emphasizing with them, the importance of caring for others and family values. She would often reminisce of the old family gatherings the brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and friends. She was a faithful member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wittenberg and enjoyed many church and community functions.
Jane is survived by one daughter, Judy Roeder of Wittenberg; two sons, Jack (Gloria) Wendler of Ripon and Joe (Shannon) Wendler of Wittenberg; eight grandchildren, Kathy (John) Kristof, Art (friend Mary) Krolow, Dan (Julie) Krolow, Vernon “Junior” (Dawn) Krolow, Lori (Lance) Premeau, Scott (Tammy) Wendler, Shelly (friend Kenny) Kitsemble and Aaron Wendler; 12 great grandchildren, Casey (Shawn) Kristof, Cory (friend Alyssa) Kristof, Breann (friend Will) Premeau, Kyle Premeau, Kolton and Kiara Krolow, Alek Wendler, Kaleb Wendler, Isaac Wendler, Danica, Erica, Jami and Sophia Wendler, Hunter and Chase Kitsemble; great great grandchild Brylie Stancyk; one sister-in-law, Elaine Day-Hanke and many nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and dear friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Roland; son James Wendler; daughter-in-law Sandra Wendler; son-in-law Robert Roeder; great grandchild, Allie Krolow; brothers Roger, Melvin, Donald ‘Pete’, Goerge and Robert Hanke; sisters Dorothy Mathison, Ruthie Barnowsky, and Pat Siebert.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wittenberg. Rev. Matthew Christians will officiate. Burial will be in Forest Home Cemetery, Wittenberg. Visitation will be from 8:30 a.m. until the time of the service at the church.
Memories and messages of support may be shared at schmidtschulta.com.
Ken Kropidlowski, 85, died peacefully in his sleep Thursday, June 11. Ken was born Feb. 1, 1935, in Amherst, Wisconsin, to Irene and Henry Kropidlowski. He loved fishing and family more than anything else in the world. He had a small repertoire of jokes and felt confident enough in them to tell them over and over again. Every story, instruction or direction included a peppering of off-color words designed to make the person on the receiving end blush, giggle or both. When it came to cursing, he had no peers.
Ken graduated from PJ Jacobs High School in Stevens Point and served in the U.S. Army. After being set up on a blind date by friends, he married his soul mate, Yvonne (LeMay) and moved to Rhinelander. They shared many happy years together until her passing in 2008. Ken spent most of his career in charge of maintenance at the Rhinelander Medical Center. His ability to fix, make or jury-rig anything broken left engineers with advanced degrees in awe.
Kenny was known by many, loved by most. He gave every person the benefit of the doubt in all situations … but he gave it only once. If he wasn’t on the water or working in his shop, he was usually shopping at Trig’s and Walmart. He went partially for supplies but mostly for the audiences. Countless jokes (few of which were clean) were test-driven daily. If you saw a small crowd gathered at either place, you can bet Kenny was holding court. Lots of laughs were had, the loudest were usually his.
Ken’s real passion was life on the lake. He has forgotten more about fishing than most of us will ever even know. For Ken, the only thing better than fishing was the exaggerated stories that accompanied the day’s catch. He also felt compelled to share his knowledge of fishing with anyone … just not the location.
Ken is survived by his son Jan (Carol) Kropidlowski; his son Jeff Kropidlowski, both of Rhinelander; his son Keith Donavan of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin; grandchildren Melissa (Braden) Bayne-Allison, Jared (Natalie) Kropidlowski; Callie, Joseph and Madeline Donavan; Shawn, Devin, Aiden and Elliott Kropidlowski; three great-grandchildren; as well as many nieces, nephews and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Yvonne, his parents Henry and Irene Kropidlowski of Stevens Point; his brother James (Norma) Kropidlowski and sister Patricia (Pat) O’Keefe, both of Stevens Point.
There will be a memorial/celebration of life later this summer. Until then, friends and family are encouraged to sign the guestbook, leave a photo or an online condolence at www.hildebrandrussfh.com.