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

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Sandra Ryan

Sandra Ryan

Sandra Marie Ryan passed away peacefully on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, at the House of the Dove Hospice in Marshfield, Wisconsin, where she had resided for the last month.

Tootsie was born Sept. 30, 1936, in Weston, Wisconsin, daughter of the late Pearl and Harvey Woodward, Sr. She married James J. Ryan on May 5, 1956, in Pine Valley Minnesota.

In her early years, Tootsie worked as a waitress and later worked at Marathon Electric. For many years, she babysat her nieces, nephews and grandchildren. She enjoyed crocheting, word puzzles, playing cards and taking photos.

She is survived by her husband, Jim; sons, Barry (Linda) Ryan and Forrest Ryan; and daughter, Kelly (Nick) Erickson. She is further survived by grandchildren, Lee (Terri) Ryan, Nickolas (Nichole Sullivan) Erickson, Jr., and Jennifer (Matthew) Folz; five great-grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren; sister, Jessie Drews; brothers, Cleo (Jeanette) Woodward and Dwight (Helen) Woodward. Besides her parents, Tootsie was preceded in death by her sister, Christine Woodward; and brothers, Harvey Jr., Quentin, Dexter, and Lionel Woodward.

A Private Family Funeral is being held on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, at Brainard Funeral Home – Everest Chapel. Rev. Gloria VanHouten of Peace United Church of Christ in Schofield will officiate. Burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery, Wausau. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Tootsie’s favorite charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Brainard Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at

The family would like to thank the visiting nurses – especially Halley – as well as the nurses at the House of the Dove who took such good care of Tootsie.

John Schreier

John Schreier

John J. Schreier, 63, Mosinee, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. 

He was born Oct. 20, 1957, in Wausau, son of the late George and Edna Frances (Rajek) Schreier. 

Survivors include nine siblings, Mary Ellen Volm, Brokaw, Dar (Kenneth) Nowitzke, Marathon, Ruth (Kenneth) Wendt, Mosinee, Richard Schreier, Mosinee, Joseph (Maureen) Schreier, Rib Mountain, Clifford Schreier, Mosinee, Robert (Lisa Giese) Schreier, Marathon, Edna Jane Schreier, Mosinee, David Schreier, Mosinee; sisters-in-law, Genevieve Schreier, Edgar and Linda Schreier, Marathon.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings, Gerald, Gary, James, Kenneth, Elizabeth and his twin sister, Joanie.

The Schreier family is very grateful to everyone who has helped them during these very difficult days, especially the entire Aspirus medical staff and the ambulance service.

Private family services will be held.  Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.  Online condolences may be expressed at

Clifford Schreier

Clifford Schreier

Clifford Schreier, 69, Mosinee, died Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. 

He was born Jan. 10, 1951, in Wausau, son of the late George and Edna Frances (Rajek) Schreier.  Clifford had been employed on ginseng farms and had also worked at EJ Dairy & Marketing, Mosinee.

Survivors include his eight siblings, Mary Ellen Volm, Brokaw, Dar (Kenneth) Nowitzke, Marathon, Ruth (Kenneth) Wendt, Mosinee, Richard Schreier, Mosinee, Joseph (Maureen) Schreier, Rib Mountain, Robert (Lisa Giese) Schreier, Marathon, Edna Jane Schreier, Mosinee, David Schreier, Mosinee; sisters-in-law, Genevieve Schreier, Edgar and Linda Schreier, Marathon.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings, Gerald, Gary, James, Kenneth, Elizabeth, John and an infant sister, Joanie.

The Schreier family is very grateful to everyone who has helped them during these very difficult days, especially the entire Aspirus medical staff and the ambulance service.

Private family services will be held.  Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at

Lorraine Luetschwager

Lorraine Luetschwager

Lorraine S. Luetschwager, 87,  of Athens passed on to dance with her husband once more on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.

She was born Dec. 18, 1932, in Marathon, daughter of the late Raymond and Anna (Bedynek) Bungert. Lorraine met the love of her life at a dance at Rib River Ballroom and on July 4, 1952, she married James Luetschwager in Marathon.  Her early married life included living in Medford and Athens where her husband ran the local railroad depots.  Among her many life accomplishments were their three children, the American Legion Auxiliary, PCCW, and her commitment to her community, being a member of St. Anthony’s Parish in Athens for over 50 years. Together with her husband they owned and operated the Western County Insurance Agency, Athens Realty and Athens Nutrition Store.

Lorraine’s passions included a strong commitment to her family, cooking large family dinners, making sure no one was ever hungry, being surrounded by her family at their cabin in Tomahawk, traveling and dancing with her husband.  She enjoyed entertaining, bowling with the girls and many card parties. In Athens, she served many a slice of pie for the church at the Athens Fair and was active in community volunteering with the church and legion. She worked as an election poll worker for several decades and aided the elderly in tax preparation. 

Lorraine was preceded in death by her parents Anna and Ray, her siblings Harry, Laverne (Jack), Arlene and Evelyn.  She lost her beloved James in February of 2016.

Lorraine is survived by her proudest accomplishment her children, Adnay (Nancy) Luetschwager, Athens, Rhonda Taylor, Prairie du Sac, Glen (Lynn) Luetschwager, Athens, six grandchildren; Brad, Kim, Nathan, Amber, Jamie, and Jeff; and 14 great grandchildren; along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Public visitation will be from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, with services to follow at St. Anthony Catholic Church, Athens.  Social distancing and masks are required for all attending. The funeral Mass will be livestreamed on the Peterson/Kraemer Facebook page on Saturday, Dec. 5, beginning at 11 a.m.

Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 147, Athens, WI  54411 .

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

Bernice Roeder

Bernice Roeder

Bernice Edith Roeder, 96, died Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, at Aspirus Hospice House, Wausau.

She was born Sept. 23, 1924, in the town of Holton, daughter of the late Herbert and Amanda (Junker) Jacobi.  On June 10, 1948, she married Henry “Jake” Roeder at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, town of Pine River.  He preceded her in death in April 1997.

Bernice became a child of God in her baptism at St. Johannes Lutheran Church, tow of Holton, and was later confirmed at Christ Lutheran Church, Abbotsford.  She graduated from Marathon Hight School and Stevens Point Normal School.

In 1950, Bernice and Henry built their home in the city of Wausau and there they raised two children, Mary and David.  God was good to all.  Bernice loved her Savior, family, grandchildren, gardening, crafts, beauty of nature and genealogy.  She belonged to Zion’s Young at Heart, Coram Deo and fitness group.

Survivors include her children, MaryJane (Robert) Buddenhagen and David (Tina) Roeder; grandchildren, Ann (Brian) Buddenhagen and Julie (Brian) Foth; two great-grandchildren, Bobby and Joey Bonesteel and Amelie Foth.

Besides her parents and husband, Henry, she was preceded in death by six brothers, Roland, Clarence, Melvin, Herbert, Gilbert and Lloyd and four sisters, Erma, Clara, Ruth and twin sister, Bernette.

Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, at Zion Lutheran Church, Wausau.  Rev. Theodore Gulhaugen will officiate.  Entombment will be in Memorial Chapel Mausoleum, Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau.  Visitation will be Friday from 9 a.m. until the time of services all at the church.

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

Orlando Schmitt

Orlando Schmitt

Orlando S. Schmitt, 84, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.

He was born Sept. 2, 1936, in Athens, son of the late Sylvester and Linda(Hardt) Schmitt.  On Sept. 14, 1968, Orlando married the love of his life Charlene Kreft at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Athens.  She preceded him in death on Dec. 1, 2009.

Orlando was a very hard worker with a great sense of humor.  He worked the majority of his life at Marmet Corp. and on the family farm, which he was very proud of.  In 1991, after 30+ years of farming, Orlando and his wife decided to make a change and move to Wausau where Orlando finished his final career years with Wausau Tile.

Orlando also had a love for cars, especially his special red chevy that he spent many road trips before he was married.  Orlando loved to bowl, play sheepshead, travel, casino trips, desserts and anything sweet, and most of all his family and friends.  He also enjoyed playing accordion for family gatherings.

Survivors include his children, Michele (Michael) Koss and Jodie (Chad) Bacon; grandchildren, Taylor Harrison, Kassandra Koss, Michael D Koss, Carnissa Schmitt, Miranda Bacon and Bronson Bacon; great-grandchild, Aurora Charlene Schmitt; brothers, Duane Schmitt and Darrell Schmitt, sister Nathlie Venzke.

Besides his parents and wife Charlene, he was preceded in death by brother-in-law, Marvin Venzke, a sister-in-law Helen Schmitt, a sister Sherri Kreft and a nephew Scott Venzke.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Athens. Rev. Mark Schwalenberg will officiate.  Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery Athens.  Visitation will be Thursday from 9 a.m. until the time of services.  Current social distancing and protocols will be followed.

The family would also like to thank the special staff who took care of Orlando on the COVID unit at The Bay of Colonial Manor.

Esther Miller

Esther Miller

On Nov. 23, 2020, Esther Louise Grosskopf Miller, 101, gently passed away as she lay sleeping.  She was born at home on June 6, 1919 to Louise and Charles Grosskopf.  

For 101 years, Wausau had been her home.  She shared many memories of what life was like in Wausau as she grew up.  As a kid, she enjoyed morning swims at McDonald’s Pool, neighborhood softball teams playing each other in an informal “city league”, daring to ride a bicycle, wintertime sledding down unplowed Wausau streets especially “Steepy,” and countless hours of ice skating to music with friends.  

Esther graduated from Wausau High, attended NTC and began working in the office of Pope Brothers Trucking.  There she met a handsome quiet young man who was to become her husband.  Lyle Miller and Esther Grosskopf were married on May 6, 1944.  They shared 43 years of marriage and parented four children, Andrea, Jackie, Marcy and Chuck.    

Esther had many interests.  She loved flowers and became expert at planning and tending beautiful flower gardens in her yard.  She raised vegetables, grew herbs, berry bushes and apple trees, and used their bounty as she cooked and baked.  She enjoyed experimenting with recipes and in 1948 she was awarded a Certificate of Recipe Endorsement from the Better Homes and Gardens Taste Test Kitchen for her Barbequed Chicken recipe!  The weekly kuchens and cinnamon rolls enjoyed by her family were the best.  She was an extraordinary seamstress who created tailored suits, pleated wool skirts, wedding dresses, slipcovers and draperies.  In the late 1950s, she even sewed a screen house for our camping weekends!  She knit afghans for all her children and grandchildren and countless hats and mittens. Baby blankets greeted her great grandchildren. She could lose herself in a good book and advocated reading as a way to learn through the many experiences, perspectives and examples played out on the pages.  She also dearly loved playing cards whether it was bridge with friends or a wild game of TIC with her family.  She frequently won those games and in fact, was a winner in what was to be her last card game.

Esther was a life-long member of Trinity Lutheran Church.  Her first-grade class was the very first group of children to occupy the newly built Trinity Lutheran School. She was part of the women’s group, Social Workers, for many years and eventually served as its president.  Her faith was an important part of her life.

Her love for her family was shown in countless ways.  She was genuinely interested in our work, our travels, our goals and our thoughts.  She enjoyed watching her grandchildren become adults and every great-grandchild story made her smile.  We will all miss this very special lady.

Esther is survived by her children, Andrea (John) McCarrier, Columbus, Ohio; Jacquelin (Ken) Hastreiter, Woodruff, Wisconsin; Margaret (Tom) Rau, Wausau, Wisconsin, and Charles (April) Miller, Soldier’s Grove, Wisconsin. She is survived by her grandchildren Rebecca (Glenn) Kuenzler, Meghan (Brennan) Harding, Shannon (David) Brunner, Jessica (Daniel) Nordskog, Joshua (Lyndsay) Rau, Benjamin (Sara) Rau, Zachary Rau, Alysha (Reid) Hamann, Bethany (Joshua) Baumgartner, and Chelsea (Ryan) Miller. Her great grandchildren include Max, Leo and Sam Kuenzler, Reece, Isaac, and Elliot Harding, James Brunner, Liam Nordskog, Noah, Meredith and Caleb Hamann and Lylla and Brogan Baumgartner. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Louise and Charles Grosskopf, her husband, Lyle Miller, and her brothers Edgar (Ilene) Grosskopf, Elmer (Elaine) Grosskopf, and Edwin (Janet) Grosskopf.

A private family service was held at Peterson Kraemer Funeral Home.  Burial was at Pine Grove Cemetery in Wausau, Wisconsin.

June Zunker

June Zunker

June Ann Zunker, 97, Stettin, passed away peacefully, with family at her side on Nov. 24, 2020.  

June was born June 12, 1923, in rural Wausau. She was the only child of Hilton and Laura Sabatke.  

June graduated high school in Wausau by temporarily living with a family friend. In turn for her stay, she was their housekeeper.  

June met Norton Zunker at a public dance in Little Chicago. She married him on Sept. 18, 1942, with an unforgettable celebration. June and Norton were married 68 years when he passed away. The couple worked together on their family dairy farm, growing their own produce and raising their own meat. The canning shelves were always full. Her green thumb filled her yard and house with beautiful flowers year round. June and Norton also traveled the U.S. and abroad to many places of interest and made an abundance of friends during their travels. Of all the things that June did in her life, she was most proud of her family. 

June was a member of the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church choir in Stettin for 40 years. She was also a member of the Altar Guild, the Ladies Aid and the Vilas Homemakers.  June and Norton were respected members of their community and were involved in many committees, social gatherings and card clubs.  

June was an excellent cook and baker. She worked several years in the kitchens at Rib River and Schmidt’s. Every grandchild received a special cake on their birthday. She had many delicious recipes that family and friends still enjoy.   

June was a very loving person. She made new friends up until her last days. Her love for family and friends was important to her and obvious to all. She was always ready with a hug & kiss and a smile for her loved ones.

June is survived by her two sons Larry (Julie) Stevens Point and Neal (Lynn) Merrill; three grandchildren, Craig (Jessica) Neumann Merrill, Brandon (Amy) Zunker Stettin, Kristin (Justin) Weltzin Stettin; six great-grandsons Zachary, Jordan, Cameron, Otto, Max and Lennon.  

There will be a private family service for June with a celebration of her life to be scheduled at a later date.  Burial will be at Pine Grove Cemetery.  Helke Funeral Home is assisting the family; you may sign our family guestbook at  

Sincere appreciation goes to the staff of Copperleaf Assisted Living for their kind and compassionate care for June.

Gertrude Matzke

Gertrude Matzke

Gertrude ‘Gertie’ A. Matzke, 99, formerly of Birnamwood, died on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, at the Homme Home of Wittenberg.

Gertie was born on Feb. 14, 1921, in Birnamwood, the daughter of Charles and Minnie (Bauch) Matzke and never married.

Gertie worked for many years at Marathon Electric, retiring in 1986. She enjoyed watching and attending Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers games. Gertie also enjoyed knitting, crocheting, doing puzzles, shopping and going out to eat.

Survivors include a nephew, John (Phyllis) Carlson of Birnamwood; great-nephews, Jeremy (Kristine) Carlson, Jason (Heather) Carlson and Jordan Carlson, all of Birnamwood and great-great nieces and nephews, Cordell, Austin, Jaxson, Carissa, Aidan, Katelyn and Ryker.

Gertie was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Mabel Carlson; brothers, Alvin, Hilbert and Norman ‘Doc’ Matzke; sisters-in-law, Mary and Emogene; nephew, Alfred and great-nephew, John Phillip Carlson.

A private celebration of life and burial will be held for the immediate family.

Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Birnamwood, is assisting the family with funeral arrangements. Memories and messages of support may be shared at

The family wishes to thank the Homme Home for the wonderful care given to Gertie the past two years. A special thanks also to Karen and Barney Flees for all the trips to the doctor, shopping, etc. you did for her. Also, special thanks to Art and Cathy Bostwick for the many times they took Gertie out for breakfast, etc.
Gertie will be missed by her family and friends.