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

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Billy “Ozzie” Viertel

Billy “Ozzie” Viertel

Billy “Ozzie” Lee Viertel, 76, of Rothschild passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, under Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services at his home surrounded by his loving family. 

Ozzie was born Aug. 12, 1944, in Wausau, Wisconsin, to the late William and Grace (Pfaff) Viertel. He graduated from Wausau High School in 1962 and entered the United States Air Force in 1964, serving in the Vietnam War.  Ozzie later earned a master’s degree in education. He worked as a millwright for most of his career, retiring from being a millwright instructor for the state of Wisconsin.

Billy married Rosie Schuster on Dec. 12, 1970, in Wausau. They most recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  

Ozzie was inducted into the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Hall of Fame in 2011. He thoroughly enjoyed volunteering for Aspirus Wausau Hospital for many years, including the installation of numerous Life-Line phones. He played Santa Claus at Christmas time for many families and friends over the years, most notably at the Festival of Trees. 

Ozzie is survived by his wife of 50 years, Rosie; daughters, Tammi (Dave) Augustiniak and Tanya (Eric) Gorder; son, Troy Viertel; grandchildren, Carissa, Cole, Emma, Samantha, Lexi, and Hailey; sisters, Kathleen Peterson and Viola Reinke; as well as brothers and sisters-in-law,  Marilyn and Fred Steinagel, Theresa and Gary Stanke, Julie and Ron Schuster, Ed Schuster, Kathy Schuster, and Harold Schuster; as well as nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents; as well as brothers in law, Herbert and Ellis, and Kenny and Bob. 

Billy’s memorial service will be live-streamed at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, at during a private family service held at Restlawn Memorial Park. Inurnment will be at the Restlawn Mausoleum. Memorials in Billy’s (Ozzie’s) honor may be directed to Aspirus in honor of his volunteering spirit. Brainard Funeral Home is assisting the family, online condolences may be shared at 

Constance “Coni” Drews

Constance “Coni” Drews

Constance “Coni” J. Drews, 73, of White Lake, Wisconsin, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. 

She was born in Neenah, Wisconsin, on Sept. 2, 1947.  Coni was an animal lover – especially dogs, and even had a kennel at one time with over 50 dogs, including mostly huskies, Alaskan malamutes and Samoyeds.   

Survivors include her four sons, Jon (Sherry) Dexter of Mena, Arkansas, Jason (Lori) Dexter of Poysippi, Wisconsin, Jamie (Melissa) Dexter of Berlin, Wisconsin, and Jerimiah Dexter of Arkansas; and her former husband and friend, John Dexter of Black Creek, Wisconsin. She is further survived by her many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and other extended family members. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Lester and Christena Drews, son Jeffrey Dexter, and grandson, David Dexter. 

A private family service will be held.  To leave messages and condolences for her family, please visit 

Brainard Funeral Home – Everest Chapel, Weston, is assisting the family with arrangements. 

Eileen Kroening

Eileen Kroening

Eileen E. Kroening, 90, died Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, under the care of her family and Ministry Hospice.

She was born Feb. 11, 1930, in Brown County, Wisconsin.  On Aug. 28, 1948, she married Albert Kroening at Salem Lutheran Church, Wausau.  He preceded her in death Oct. 7, 1990.

Prior to her retirement, Eileen had been employed as a Service Rep with GTE.  She was a member of St. Peter Lutheran Church in the town of Wausau where she was an active member participating in the church choir and as a Sunday School Teacher.  Her Bible passage was; Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thine house.  Acts 16:31 Eileen was also a volunteer at Bethesda Thrift Shop.  Among her favorite pastimes, she enjoyed all types of traveling along with fishing and camping.  She especially looked forward to Friday when we would head up to the cottage on Lake Nokomis.

Survivors include her children, Faye Clark, Merrill, Ross (Jane) Kroening, Wausau, Lori Kroening, Merrill; grandchildren, Matthew (Hailey) Clark, Merrill, Sara (Eric) Edwardson, Wausau; great grandchildren, Grace and Alice Edwardson, Brandtly and Rhea Clark; brother-in-law, Richard Ashton, Estes Park, Colorado.

Besides her husband, she was preceded in death by her mother, Erna (Schultz) Keys and a sister, Arleigh Ashton.

Private funeral services will be Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, at Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home.  A public graveside service will be at noon Tuesday at St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery, 238537 Del Rio Road, Wausau.  Rev. Russell Kampfer will officiate.  Online condolences may be expressed at

Michael “Mike” Burlingame

Michael “Mike” Burlingame

Michael “Mike” W. Burlingame, 79, Kronenwetter, went home to God Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital after a brave battle with cancer.

He was born Jan. 11, 1941, in Milwaukee, son of the late Wynne and Mary (Ranzau) Burlingame.  On July 28, 1962, he married Myrtes Thimm in Milwaukee beginning their partnership in life and many business endeavors.  She survives.

Mike took great pride in his family, his home and his wide range of endeavors.  Responsibilities were nothing unusual for him.  As he teenager he really did walk to work over a mile, uphill, in the snow and before the sun came up to Militzer’s Bakery where he was a treasured employee trusted to help in every aspect including critical delivery of wedding cakes.  Sales and business management came naturally with a career with JC Penney in Wauwatosa while moonlighting as a head bartender at Fox and Hounds in Hubertus. He and Myrtes then took on adventures of owning and operating motels in Wisconsin Rapids and Wausau while raising five cherished children. With Myrtes by his side, he also took on ownership and operation of the former Lion’s Den and Restaurant in Wausau along with the Ace Motel.  In his later years, he was a chef with Marriott Corp. and Aspirus Wausau Hospital.  His eye for design, both man-made and natural, included cars and cultivating show-stopping rose bushes.  Always open to new endeavors, even in retirement, Mike’s self-taught craftmanship of intarsia wood sculpting and clock cabinetry would have made his father and father-in-law, both skilled wood workers, very proud.

Survivors include, his loving wife of 58 years, Myrtes; four children, Debra (Gordon) Marten, Athens, Tina Knipfer, Beaver Dam, Nicole (Tim) Stormer, Fall River and Michael A. (Dawn) Burlingame, Eau Claire; nine grandchildren, Branden, Tristan (Becky), Cassie (Ethan), Tyler, Cameron, Holly, Will, Grace and Bryce; two great-grandsons, Thomas and Samuel; one sister, Kathleen (Michael) Busack, Brookfield; nieces, Vicky (Mark) VanUs, Martina (Jack) DeMeio; nephew, Craig Quandt; great-nieces, Madison VanUs, Angel Quandt, Melissa and Michaela DeMeio; and great-nephew, Quintin VanUs

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Valerie Burlingame; two brothers, Wynne Jr. and David; and one sister, Mary Quandt. 

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at noon on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, at St. Paul Catholic Church, Mosinee.  Rev. Don Meuret will preside. Burial will be in Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau. Visitation will be on Monday from 11 a.m. until time of services at the church. Social distancing will be observed and face masks will be required to attend in person, with the option of attending the funeral Mass via livestream at Noon on the Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home facebook page.  

Online condolences may be expressed at

Mary Ann Hoeft

Mary Ann Hoeft

Mary Ann June (Borchardt) Hoeft, 90, of Wausau left this life to be with the Lord, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.  Mary Ann was born June 23, 1930, to Nora (Mais) and Oscar Borchardt.

On May 8, 1948, Mary Ann married the love of her life, Lloyd Hoeft, who she met while he was working as a cab driver.  They celebrated 63 wonderful years together before his passing in 2012.  She was an LPN and worked in a funeral home before leaving her profession to devote her time to raising her children.  Later in life, she worked at Wendy’s, Harry’s Farmers Market, and Sam’s Club before retiring.

Mary Ann is survived by her loving sister, Beverly Krueger; and children, Sandra (Dick) Arps, Vivian Colassacco, Jacqueline (Gary) Spulak, Luann Taves, Pennie Hoeft, Lloyd (Nancy) Hoeft, Jr., and Dawn Sheriff; special granddaughter, Michelle (Jamie) Dever; as well as cousins, nieces, and nephews.  Mary Ann is further survived by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Lloyd George Hoeft, Sr.; daughter, Jenny Lynn Hoeft; father, Oscar Borchardt, and mother, Nora (Mais) Borchardt; and brother Reuben Borchardt.

She loved her family, friends, search-a-word, bingo, making people laugh, and helping others.  She always encouraged her children to do better and often stated that she remembered all her family in her daily prayers.

There were many obstacles in her life, but she fought a great fight and will be missed by so many.  She was a great woman of courage and faith and although she is no longer here on this earth, she will never be forgotten as she was loved by so many.  Our family would also like to thank the caregivers at Mount View Care Center, Wausau, for the care provided over the last couple of years.

Private family funeral services are being held. Pastor Rob Love of Immanuel Baptist Church will officiate. Interment will be in Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau. Family and friends may go to to leave words of remembrance and online condolences.

Rodney Melbinger

Rodney Melbinger

Rodney Melbinger passed away peacefully at home at age 82, on Dec. 17, 2020.

He was born on Oct. 14, 1938, in Marshfield to Rodney and Elsie (Beaster) Melbinger.

He was educated in Marshfield. After his education he worked for V&H and joined Local 139 as a mechanic where he retired after 50 years. He was the president of the T & T Riders for many years.

He loved working on his 1948 Jaguar. Operating his backhoe. Taking motorcycle rides and traveling out west with his loving wife. He was our go to guy to fix things. His loved watching his son Rory race. Above all he was very proud and supportive of his children Rory, Rob and Rhonda.

Rodney is survived by his wife Evelyn of 61 years, sons Rory (Karen) Melbinger of Marshfield, Rob (DiAna) Melbinger of Portland, Oregon, daughter Rhonda Melbinger of Boise, Idaho, grandchildren Cam (Stacy) Melbinger, Isaiah and Aidan Melbinger and great grandchildren Riley and Parker Melbinger. Brothers Jerry (Sally) Saindon of Marshfield and Dick (Marilyn) Saindon of Marshfield.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

He will be sadly missed by his dog Reagan and cat Tootie.

Celebration of life will be at a later date. Burial will be private.

The family extends a very heartfelt thank you to the Spencer and Marshfield paramedics and Marathon County Sheriffs department for the care and support they gave to the family.

Kory Morris

Kory Morris

Kory Morris passed away to soon at the age 34 on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020.  He was born on Dec. 2, 1986.

Kory is survived by Kim (Shawn) Rozmarynowski, mother, Jerry Morris, dad, Mack Morris, loving brother, Frank (Marge) Morris, grandparents. Along with many aunts, uncles and cousins. 

He was preceded in death by Marvin (Jean) Niehusen, grandparents, and a younger sister, Paige Katie Morris.

Growing up, Kory was such a happy kid who loved skateboarding and spending time with friends. Kory was such a kind-hearted man who will be missed by many friends and family.

Alan Draeger

Alan R. Draeger, 75, of Wausau died on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. A funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Birnamwood.  Rev. Erik Olson will preside.  Visitation will be on Sunday from 1 p.m. until the time of service at the funeral home.  Military rites will be held immediately following the service by members of the Darling Gunderson American Legion, Birnamwood.

Martin Burgess

Martin Burgess

Martin A. Burgess, 95, of Birnamwood died on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, at Cloverleaf Terrace CBRF under the care of Ascension at Home Hospice.

Martin was born on Aug. 3, 1925, in Casper, Wyoming, the son of Glenn Sr. and Evangeline (LeVeque) Burgess.

When Martin was a young boy, Clyde Ice entered his life and became a mentor who would mold him into the man he became. Clyde taught Martin how to fly an airplane at the age of 12. You could say that Martin was Clyde’s shadow. Martin loved everything about aviation.

Martin graduated from Spearfish High School where he excelled at track. He and his brother won many state titles. After graduation, Martin entered the U.S. Navy on April 30, 1943, and was a navigator on an LST in the Pacific. He was honorably discharged on Feb. 5, 1946. On Feb. 14, 1947, Martin was united in marriage to Bonnie Lang in Lisbon, Iowa. She preceded him in death on Oct. 6, 2007.

Martin was a building contractor and had a talent for engineering. He built many beautiful homes across the United States including Iowa, California, Colorado and Arkansas. Martin loved the outdoors. Whether it was in the air, on the ranch near Medicine Bow, Wyoming, or in a river fly fishing. He treasured his many trips with family and friends and was devoted to his family. Martin was an optimist no matter what came his way. The Never Forgotten Honor Flight was a true joy for Martin and in 2019, Martin was able to take a Dream Flight in Stevens Point.

Martin is survived by his four children, Leslye (Neil) Thompson of Tampa, Florida, Mark (Elizabeth) Burgess of Wausau, Roslyn (Brad) McKay of Wittenberg and Dan (Jennifer) Burgess of Boulder City, Nevada; 12 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; sister, Annette Schultz of Chicago and many other nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Martin was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Bonnie; a daughter, Gail Jo; two brothers, Glenn Jr. and Joseph and a sister, Beatrice Trople.

A celebration gathering of family and friends will take place at a later date in Lisbon, Iowa. Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home of Wittenberg is assisting the family with arrangements. Memories and messages of support may be shared at Memorials in honor of Martin to Ascension at Home Hospice would be greatly appreciated.

In the words of Martin, Keep your powder dry, your line wet and enjoy everything in moderation.

Martin’s family wishes to offer their gratitude and thanks to the excellent care given to Martin by Jaime and the entire staff at Cloverleaf Terrace and the wonderful Nurses and caregivers from Ascension at Home.

Joan Pavlichek

Joan Pavlichek

Joan A. Pavlichek, 92, of Wittenberg passed away peacefully on Monday afternoon, Dec. 14, 2020, in River Falls.

Joan was born June 26, 1928, in the town of Rolling Stone, Langlade County, the daughter of David and Agnes (Zielinski) Pawlak.

Joan attended Sunnyside School in Rolling Stone and graduated from Antigo High School in 1945. She then went on to receive a degree in cosmetology in 1946.

On Aug. 26, 1950, she married the love of her life, Earl Pavlichek from Bryant, Wisconsin.

Motivated to own and operate her own beauty salon, they moved to Wittenberg where she and Earl built a home with an attached three-chair salon. In 1955, Joan opened Joan’s Beauty Bar which she operated for the next 59 years. She loved helping her ladies look and feel their best. Her employees became close friends. We are not really sure when Joan completely retired as she always found the time to do Anita Wruck and Betty Anderson’s hair.

Joan was a member of Holy Family-St. William Catholic Church in Wittenberg. She was a past president and secretary of Catholic Christian Mothers and always looked forward to helping with the deer hunter’s dinner. She was an officer for the Wittenberg Area Chamber of Commerce and was also a regular worker for many elections.

Joan loved to golf on women’s night at Maple Hills. She enjoyed playing in her bridge league. Dancing with Earl was one of Joan’s favorite pastimes. Polkas brought her great joy and she would tap her toes, even into her final days. During football season Joan would put on her Packers sweatshirt and Packers earrings and cheer on the Pack. She also loved spending time with family at her cabin on Lake Metonga. She was known for her sense of humor and for finding ways to make fun out of the ordinary.

Survivors include her daughter, Kathleen (Charles Elboim) Mott of Santa Rosa, California and her son Joe (Kim) Pavlichek of River Falls. Three grandsons; Nathan (Sylvia) Mott, Zachary (Kassie Sican) Pavlichek and Jacob (Nicole Soley) Bukkila. Two granddaughters; Kelsey (Nick) Miner and Kristin (Joe) Mahoney. Three great granddaughters; Morgan and Eleanor Mott and Molly Miner.
Joan was preceded in death by her dear husband Earl on Feb. 12, 2006. She was also preceded in death by her three brothers Harold, Andrew, Robert, sister Beth and her parents.

Due to the current pandemic concerns, a graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, at Queen of Peace Cemetery, Antigo, with Deacon Michael Brandt officiating. A celebration of Joan’s life will be held at a safer, later date. Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home of Wittenberg is assisting the family with funeral arrangements. Memories and messages of support may be shared at

Joan’s family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Our House Senior Living and the staff of Allina Health Hospice and Palliative Care. They also appreciate the assistance of Schmidt-Schulta Funeral Home and Bakken-Young Funeral Home.
The family requests that memorials be sent to Holy Family Catholic Church, 106 N. Elm St., Wittenberg, WI) or to Allina Health Hospice and Palliative Care, 1055 Westgate Drive, #100, St. Paul, MN, 55114) in honor of Joan Pavlichek.