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

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Emil Braatz Jr.

Emil Braatz Jr.

Emil Carl Braatz Jr. was called to be with the Lord, Oct. 19, 2020, at his home in the same room in which he was born, 91 ½ years ago.  Emil lived his entire life on the family farm.  His family provided care for him at home the four months he was in hospice care to fulfill his wish.

His parents were Emil and Elizabeth (Wolter) Braatz Sr., immigrants from Germany.  Emil attended Vilas School in the town of Stettin. He ran the family farm and always had a second job to support his family.  These jobs included working for the township of Stettin, hauling cattle, Ford Tractor Repair, custom combining, and owning Braatz Repair Service, doing repairs into his 80s.

For 66 years he was married to Verona (Hanke), who proceeded him in death in 2017.  Emil and Verona enjoyed traveling with family and friends, including a trip to Alaska and several trips to Germany.  They made several German “roots” tours with the Pommerscher Verein Central Wisconsin in which Emil and Verona were charter members.  Emil made a total of six trips to Germany, the last when he was 89 years old. 

He bowled in various leagues for 72 years and celebrated his 90th birthday bowling.  He was an avid sheepshead card player and belonged to several card clubs.  The Sunday before his death, he enjoyed his last sheepshead game with his three sons and daughter-in-law.

He had a quiet and gentle demeanor, he seldom complained or asked for anything.  He could also be a stubborn German, all traits passed on to his children.

Emil has six children: Janelle Braatz (Thomas Bogren) Rothschild; Randall (Cynthia) Braatz, Marathon; Carlene Braatz (David Daniels,) Rhinelander; Joel Braatz (Cassie McLain) Merrill; Lowell (Maureen) Braatz, Wausau; and Laurel Braatz (Tim Feist), Sturgeon Bay.  He was blessed with four grandchildren: twins Samuel and Hannah Braatz, Kelsey Daniels and Ericka Braatz-Kretschmann (Kyle).  When they were young, he loved to give them rides on tractors, snowmobiles and the skid steer.

Other survivors include siblings Walter Braatz and Erna Prosser, brother-in-law Dalbert Fletcher, and sister-in-law, Janet Hanke.  Proceeding him in death were his siblings Paul Braatz, Elsie Osterbrink, Edna Fletcher, Elizabeth Braatz and Richard Braatz.  Also, his in-laws Pearl Braatz, Edward Osterbrink, Junice Braatz, Betty Braatz, Swede Prosser, LaVern Hanke, and Dorian and Ann Schmidt.

A public visitation will be held Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Peterson Kraemer Funeral Home, 3400 Stewart Ave., Wausau.  The family asks for anyone attending to wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth and practicing health safety guidelines set by the state.  A private service for family will be held and officiated by Deacon Everett Schmidt.  The committal service will be held Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. at the Stettin Christian Cemetery.  All are welcome to attend the outside committal service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials for Emil to be made to Trinity Lutheran Church (ELCA) Stettin, 232220 N. 120th Ave., Wausau, WI 54401 or Pommerscher Verein Central Wisconsin, PVCW, Box 103, Wausau, WI 54402-0103.

A special thank you to Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Service, especially Beth, in directing the Braatz family in taking care of Emil the last four months. Your guidance allowed Emil to live his last days in the home which he was born.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Joseph Roberts

Joseph Roberts

Joseph Harry Roberts died peacefully on Oct. 20, 2020, in Weston, Wisconsin.

He was born on June 25, 1934, in Vero Beach, Florida, the 12th of 13 children. His parents were James Everett Roberts and Grace Geneva (Parker) Roberts.

He met his wife, Barbara Jane Grubbs, at the annual Church of God Camp Meeting in Florida in 1953, and they were married on Sept. 7, 1957, at Kendall Church of God in Miami, Florida.

He was preceded in death by wife, Barbara; brothers, Harold, James, and Billy; sisters, Valma, Amy, Freda, Elva, Margaret, and Ella Mae; and grandson-in-law, Michael Doll.

He is survived by his daughters, Jeanne (Jeff) Klapperich and Elaine (Alan) Weygandt; sisters, Annie (Art) Sanger, Joann (Billy) Waddell; brother, Charlie (Judy) Roberts; grandchildren, Anne (Dan) Booker, Laura (Scott) Welge, Michael (Katie) Klapperich, Adam (Tonya) Klapperich, Sharon Doll, Stephen (Kristin Rie) Weygandt, Michelle (Jeff) Polsean; great-grandchildren, Miles and Ezra Booker, Nathan and Seth Welge; and dozens of nieces and nephews.

He attended school in Vero Beach and his love was sports. As he said it, he “played every sport in its season.”

During the summers he worked at Dodgertown. While in high school, he came down with rheumatic fever and spent most of the school year at home. Although he didn’t know it, the youth group from the Vero Beach Church of God prayed fervently for him during that time. After recovery, his doctor told him that because of damage to his heart, he would never be able to play sports again. The members of the booster club, including parents and members of the community, raised the funds to send him to a specialist in Lake Wales. After having many tests done, the specialist told him his heart was healthy, and he would be able to play football again.

He got back into shape and played football his senior year. He also came into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and attended the local Church of God. He decided he wanted to be a teacher, so he made plans to attend Anderson College (now Anderson University) in Anderson, Indiana. Although he was not planning to play football in college, his high school coach sent a message to the coach at Anderson, and told him to watch for Joe’s arrival. Once there, he met the coach, tried out as a walk-on, and became the starting fullback. Injured in
practice, he missed the first few games, but it was finally decided he would play through the pain, and he played for four years, eventually being scouted by the Baltimore Colts. His knee never fully recovered, and he never
played professionally. He was later named a member of the 1950s Team of the Decade for Anderson College (University.)

He married Barbara, and they lived in Miami, where he taught eighth-grade math at an inner-city school. When the schools began to be integrated, his classroom was chosen for the first Black student in the school, due to his integrity and lack of prejudice. He taught there for 14 years.

In 1970, there was a teachers’ strike in Wausau, Wisconsin, and Joe saw a classified ad in the Miami Herald that said, “Wausau, Wisconsin, needs teachers.”

This was the beginning of a yearlong journey of faith, which eventually brought him and his family to Wausau in August 1971. He taught sixth grade at John Muir Middle School and volunteered in a coffeehouse ministry for several years. He left full-time teaching when he felt called to become a pastor. He worked as a substitute teacher while pastoring a small house church, and eventually moved into full-time pastoral work. He pastored with Central Wisconsin Fellowship, Christian Life Fellowship, and Compassion Fellowship. On retirement, he and Barbara worshipped with Christ Community Church.

He was well-loved and highly thought of by many in the community. He was caring, fun-loving, and a deeply spiritual man. He will be missed by his family and friends.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 7, at Christ Community Church, 8100 Alderson St. in Weston. Visitation will be from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. and the service will follow. Interment will follow the service at Forestville Cemetery on County Highway N.

Robert DeMario

Robert Louis DeMario, 66, of Wausau passed away on Oct. 17, 2020, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, shortly after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

He was born on Jan. 25, 1954, to the late John and Esther (Wirtenen) DeMario. He met and fell in love with his high school sweetheart, Elaine Honkanen. They moved to Wausau right after Elaine graduated. On Sept. 22, 1973, they were married in Hurley, Wisconsin. Bob worked for Kreger Bakery as a delivery man for over 30 years before his retirement.

His hobbies included RC car racing, model trains and gardening. Most important to Bob was his family and friends and of course his dogs. Elaine and Bob were huge supporters of the Humane Society of Marathon County and over the years they rescued several dogs through adoption.

Bob was preceded in death by his wife Elaine of 46 years on Nov. 28, 2019; his parents; his siblings, Louis DeMario, James DeMario, and Barbra DeMario Morgan.

He is survived by his siblings, John DeMario, Elizabeth DeMario Aijala, Richard DeMario, Mary Ann DeMario Hill and Laure DeMario Kreger.

Roberts wishes were that no services take place. Family and friends are asked to go to to leave online condolences and words of remembrance.

Myron Bembenek Sr.

Down all the highways you traveled.
Blacktop stone and gravel.
On every journey through and through.
May God’s angels ride with you.

Myron A Bembenek Sr., 81, of Wittenberg passed away on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. He was born Dec. 8, 1938, to Alex and Minnie Bembenek (Firkus). He married Sharon (Wogsland) on July 11, 1959. They later divorced. He married Brenda (Topczewski) in 1982. They later divorced.

A lifelong truck driver, Myron drove for various local companies until he purchased his own truck. He found his passion for driving and repairing trucks. He was always willing to help whoever he met. If you knew him, you always had a friend and someone to help. He loved to work on trucks, fish, play cards and go to the casino.

He is survived by his siblings Eleanor, Raymond (Betty) Bembenek, Theresa (Henry) Omernick, Jerome (Robbie) Bembenek, Edward Bembenek, Maynard (Kay) Bembenek. He is survived by his children, Debra (Duane) Johnson, Patricia (Pat) Bembenek, Cindi (Marvin) Bembenek, Julie (Ron) Maszk, Myron Jr (Mike) (Karen Tranezke-Wasmundt) , Angie Bembenek, Scott (Patricia) Bembenek, Michael Sr (Benny) (Holly) Bembenek, Tiffany Lea Bembenek. Grand children, Carrie, Crystal, Clint, Candice, Nicole, Chrissy, Brian, Ashley, Lila, Zach, Caleb, Michael Jr, Alex, Spencer, Hailey, Gabe, Shawn. Great grandchildren, Ian, Caden, Teigen, Noelani. And many more nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, twin brother Steve, sister Rose, grandsons Nicholas and Brandon Firkus.

Family is being assisted by Mid Wisconsin Cremation Society.

Services will be held Friday, Oct. 23, at 11 a.m. at St Joseph Catholic Church in Galloway, Wisconsin. Please practice social distancing.

Yvonne Brandt

Yvonne Brandt

Yvonne E. Brandt, 85, of Copperleaf Nursing Home, passed away on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020.

She was born on Dec. 27, 1934, in the town of Wien, Wisconsin, to the late Earl and Elsie Borchardt.

Yvonne married Donald Lee Brandt on June 6, 1954, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in the town of Wien. They had many happy years together before he passed away on July 13, 1996.

Yvonne was a military wife who traveled the world with her husband and four children. She was often a single mother when Don was deployed or away on training, and also became a caregiver after Don was wounded in Vietnam. After they retired back home to Wisconsin, they loved to head up north every chance they got to relax by the lake and golf on the local courses. She loved being a member of the AA community and was proud to be sober for over 40 years. She was employed for a time at Sam’s Club and loved visiting with all the customers; this is where she received her nickname “grandma cookies” as she also brought Sam’s Club goodies to all the family gatherings.

Yvonne is survived by her four children, Gwendolyn (Joe) Godfrey and their children, Miko and SGT Joshua Kronmuller and Jessie and Justin Godfrey; SGT first class Kim (Barbara) Brandt and their daughter, Jennifer (Michael) Emerson; Colonel Randy (Julie) Brandt and their daughters, Sarah and Rebecca Brandt; Renee (William) Switalla and their children, Victoria (Andrew) Barker, Emily Komosa, Phillip Komosa, Samantha Komosa, SGT William Switalla, Randi Switalla, and Cora Switalla. She was a beloved great grandmother to 16 ½ wonderful great grandchildren. She also leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her parents; her wonderful husband; one son, Gary Earl; one sister, Genevieve; one brother, Dennis, and her beloved cat, Tiger.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg. Rev. Chaplain Randy Brandt Colonel U.S. Army retired will preside. Burial will be at Friedenshain Cemetery, town of Berlin, Marathon County. Visitation will on Monday from 9 a.m. until time of service at the funeral home.

Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg, is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.

Memories and messages of support may be shared at

Edward Bronk

Edward Bronk, 76, of Hatley died on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, at Aspirus Wausau Hosptial.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Ladislaus Catholic Church, Bevent, at a future date.