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

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Kathy Brietzke

Kathy Brietzke

Kathy Jo Brietzke, 66, Weston, died Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, surrounded by her loving daughters under the care of Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services.

Kathy was born June 27, 1954, in Wausau to the late Herbert and Betty (Cartwright) Friedrich.  Following her graduation from Wausau West High School in 1972, she began working for the city of Wausau as a crossing guard.  Over the years she transferred into the parking control division of the Wausau Police Department and eventually became a receptionist there.  She retired after serving the Wausau community for over 20 years.

She was a devoted wife and fun-loving momma who dearly loved her grandchildren.  Her tough exterior quickly melted away when her generosity and nature to put everyone else first above her came through.  Kathy loved to shop, collecting many salt and pepper shakers and cookie jars over the years.  She also enjoyed traveling, working in her garden and watching the Hallmark Channel and murder mysteries.

Kathy is survived by her husband, Ervin Brietzke; daughters, Jaime Kelly, Staci (Paul) Kamke and Tiffani (Chris) Plautz; step-daughter, LaNah (Tim) Krueger; grandchildren, Toryn, Mason, Maizi, Emma and Brianna; siblings, Kim Friedrich, Scott (Marcia) Friedrich and Tammy Friedrich; grand-furbabies, MoMo, Piper and Luna; and extended family and friends.

There will be a visitation on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Brainard Funeral Home Everest Chapel, Weston.  Facemasks and social distancing are respectfully requested by all those attending.  There will be a private service for Kathy that will be livestreamed beginning at 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, at  Brainard Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements; you may sign our family guestbook at

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Shriners Hospitals for Children (Processing Center, PO Box 863765, Orlando, FL 32886).

Sincere appreciation goes to the doctors, nurses and staff of the Aspirus Cancer Center and Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services for their compassionate care for Kathy.

Jerry Hettinga

Jerry Hettinga

Jerry Lee Hettinga, 61, of Weston, died on Dec. 19, 2020, peacefully at his residence, ending a progressive battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Jerry was born June, 13, 1959, to Reimer and Clara Hettinga. Through the years Jerry worked in the farming industry and over the road truck Driving. Jerry was an avid sports fan. He was especially fond of the Raiders Football franchise. Jerry enjoyed his Loud Rock music. Jerry enjoyed live concerts and attended many Styx concerts through the years. Jerry truly embraced being a grandparent while healthy and able.

Jerry is survived by his wife Peggy, his loving children, Cory (Odessa) of Medford, Renee (Wayne) of Weston, grandchildren Keegan, Noah, Easton, Claire, Wyatt and Audrey, Brothers Leslie (Toni), Gary (Lisa), Sister Lois and Beverly, and extended Family and friends.

He is preceded in death by his Parents (Reimer and Clara), brother (Clifford) and sister (Bonnie).

A memorial visitation will be from 11 a.m. to noon, with the service to follow on Dec. 28, 2020, at Brainard Funeral Home, Weston. Social distancing will be observed and face masks will be encouraged. Livestream and a recording will be available at, as well. A private committal will take place at Forestville Cemetery and date is pending.

Sincere appreciation goes to nurses and all staff caring for Jerry through his fight over the years.

Clarence Schreiner

Clarence Schreiner

Clarence “Hunce” Schreiner was called to his heavenly home on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, at Marshfield Hospital at the age of 81.

Hunce was born July 30, 1939, in the town of Bern to the late Rudolph and Helen (Weiler) Schreiner.  He was united in marriage to Nancy Gebert on Oct. 12, 1957, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Stetsonville.  In their 26 years of marriage, they had 13 children before Nancy was called to heaven on Dec. 6, 1983.  Hunce later married Darlene “Dolly” (Duerr) Hoff on July 2, 1994, and his family grew by three stepchildren.  Hunce and Dolly also enjoyed 26 years of marriage.

Hunce graduated from Athens High School in 1957.  He joined the workforce and was employed by Janke Construction and Holiday Construction for many years.  He was very proud to work across the state on many water, sewer line and dam projects. He enjoyed operating large equipment even after his construction career ended. If driving by one of his old work projects, he spoke with pride of the work he’d done.  He left the workforce in the early 1980s to join his wife Nancy and children in running the dairy farm they started together in the early 1960s.  After being united in marriage, Dolly joined Hunce in operating the farm until their retirement from farming in 1998.  The farm was sold, and they moved into town to enjoy their retirement years.

In addition to farming and construction, Hunce was a well known DeKalb Seed Corn Dealer for approximately 50 years. His other accomplishments include serving on the Board of Directors for Little Black Mutual Insurance for 23 years, and being a founding member of the Athens Sno Pak snowmobile club in 1969.

Hunce was proud of his lifelong membership at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Athens.  There he sang in the Church Choir, served on the Parish Council, volunteered to bake the fish for Lenten fish fries, and at Athens Fair Time he was a faithful volunteer to helping put up and tear down the old food stand.  His church and faith was one of his strongest characteristics. 

Hunce enjoyed anything outdoors.  He was an avid hunter, even as his health tried to get in his way he was able to deer hunt for the last time this year.  If he wasn’t able to hunt, he was thrilled just to sit with the crew at their hunting shack.  Hunce loved to fish!  His favorite fishing spot was in Canada where he’d go for weeks at a time, but in the past few years he was able to be fulfilled with the annual family fishing trip to Canada.  So many memories created for him, and along with his family to treasure forever.

Called to their heavenly home before Hunce were his parents, Rudy and Helen; his first wife, Nancy; his angel daughter, Mary Anne; stepson, Michael Hoff; stepdaughter, Linda (Hoff) Halopka; brother, Frank; and sister, Katie Westfall.

With amazement and love in his eyes, he would sit back and just look at the beautiful family he created at our annual Christmas gatherings!

Hunce is survived by his loving wife, Dolly, along with his six sons and six daughters:

Karl (Lisa Clark) – Athens                              Linda (Randy) Kraft – Athens                      

Tom (Cindy) – Athens                                     Lori (Dennis) Zettler – Athens

Kurt (Renee) – Athens                                   Lisa (John) McCord – Athens

Jim (Tammy) – Athens                                   Lana (Joe) Wogernese – Abbotsford

Ken (Kim) – Abbotsford                                 Tami (Brian Hughes) – Athens

Patrick (Sarah) – Athens                                Sara (Ryan) Kelley – Laona

He is also survived by a stepdaughter, Nettie (Keith) Kremsreiter, Athens; stepdaughter-in-law, Joy Hoff, Medford; and stepson-in-law, Todd Halopka, Dorchester; 37 grandchildren; 10 step-grandchildren; 44 great-grandchildren; and 14 step-great-grandchildren; one brother, Andrew (Luella) Schreiner; and three sisters, Marie Hein and Gloria Brodziski, all of Athens and Ceil (Warren) Bartelt, Merrill.  

Hunce cherished the lifelong relationship with Nancy’s side of the family; such a wonderful family that welcomed Dolly and treated her like one of their own.  He is also survived by many sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law from both Nancy and Dolly’s families.

On Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, visitation will be hosted at St. Anthony Catholic Church, Athens, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., with a prayer service held at 5 p.m.  The funeral Mass will be held Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, at 11 a.m. with visitation from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. Father George Graham will preside.  Burial will be in the Calvary Cemetery, Athens.  Current social distancing and masking protocols will be followed.  The funeral Mass will be live streamed on the Peterson/Kraemer Facebook page.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Schreiner Family.  The donations will be directed to the organizations and charities according to Hunce’s wishes. 

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

Donald Steckbauer

On Dec. 17, 2020, Jesus said, Donald, you fought a good fight these last five years, you suffered enough, now it is time to come home.

Donald was born March 19, 1939, in Aniwa, son of the late Robert and Lorina (Loos) Steckbauer.  On April 27, 1968, he was united in marriage to Jean Spatz at St. Anne Catholic Church, Wausau.

For 35 years, Donald worked for Marathon Electric Corp. until his retirement.  Among his favorite pastimes, he enjoyed playing the organ at church, going up north to the family cottage, tending to his flower beds, mowing his lawn with his John Deere mower and traveling to the Wisconsin Dells.  He will be deeply missed by his wife, Jean.

Survivors include, his loving wife of 52 years, Jean; one brother, Robert Steckbauer, Wausau; three nephews and one niece.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by one brother, Eugene; his sister and brother-in-law, Alice (Victor) Fisher; and two sisters-in-law, Delores Steckbauer and Beverly Steckbauer.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, at St. Anne Catholic Church, Wausau.  Rev. Tom Lindner will preside.  Burial will be at Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau.  Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until time of services at the church.  Social distancing will be observed and face masks will be required to attend. 

Online condolences may be expressed at

Anne Freels

Anne Freels

Anne F. Freels, 70, Wausau, died Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, peacefully at her home.

She was born Sept. 29, 1950, in Detroit, Michigan, daughter of the late Marion and Myra (Tomaszawski) Lukasik. 

Anne was a homemaker who enjoyed spending time with her children, grandson and friends, going for car rides in the country, waterfalls, bird watching and painting. Those that knew her, knew that Anne enjoyed staying up late drinking coffee and listening to AM 550 radio.

Survivors include her son, Jason (Laura) Freels; daughter, Amy (Brad) Sherfinski; grandson, Alex Vierzba; siblings, Fran Schneider, Thomas Lukasik, Stacy (David) Smelser; Luke Lukasik; and her cat companion, Spitfire.

Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her infant brother Frank Lukasik, brother Michael Lukasik and sister Susan Edwards.

There are no services planned at this time.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Vincent de Paul of Wausau, or Faith in Action, Marathon County.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Merlin “Merlie” Pruss

Merlin “Merlie” Pruss

Merlin “Merlie” Pruss, 87, went from the arms of his loving family into the arms of his Savior Jesus Christ and all the Saints in Heaven on Friday, Dec. 18.

He was born on the family homestead in Hamburg on April 5, 1933, the son of the late Walter and Greta (Haehlke) Pruss. He was baptized and became a child of God and then confirmed by the Rev. Herman Schedler at St. Paul’s/St. John’s Lutheran Church Hamburg.  He attended Barney School, a one-room Schoolhouse, and graduated from Athens High School with the Class of 1951, where he had the honor of being Prom King, and played on the Athens Blue Jay Basketball team.

He met Marlene Jean Buttke at a dance at Schmidt’s Ballroom and they were married on June 11, 1955.  They were blessed with two sons, Timothy and John. He was a dairy farmer on the family farm and in 2013 they moved to Fond du Lac to be closer to family. They enjoyed 65 years of marriage.

Merlie had a great interest in sports, playing baseball with the Marathon County Baseball League and the Huehnerfuss Exports. He took great pride in playing ball for St. John’s Lutheran Church with his two sons, Tim and John, all on the same team.  He bowled for Mason Lanes League and played Dartball. After his years of playing sports, he enjoyed watching the Milwaukee Brewers.

Merlie was an active member in his church, serving as Elder and President of the local AAL Branch. Merlie had the opportunity to serve as Director and President of the Athens Cooperative Board of Directors and served on the Board of Directors for Wausau Mutual Insurance Company.  He was a member of the Berlin-Hamburg Lions Club and felt strong at heart for his membership with the Pommerscher Verein.  The German language was always spoken in his household since his immigrant Grandfather Ernest lived with their family.  Earlier Merlie served with the Civil Defense.

He enjoyed playing Sheephead and listening to Polka music.  In later years watching the birds, squirrels, and wildlife while eating chocolate-covered peanuts, was one of his great pastimes and joys. Merlie was a kind and gentle man, we will miss him very much.  He met many friends and liked to socialize with people which he did while serving at the Athens Community Hall, Mason Lanes, Huehnerfuss’s, and Merlie’s Place. 

He is survived by his wife Marlene, his two sons, Timothy (Kim) of Fond du Lac and John (Paula) of Ashland -Grandchildren- Elizabeth Pruss, Rebecca Pruss and Gabriel Pruss, Andrew Pruss and Jacob Pruss. His brothers and sisters-in-law: Donald and LouAnn Zamzow – Schofield,  Allen and Karen Buttke – Wausau, and Bonita Buttke- Minnetonka, MN and nieces, and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Greta Pruss, his mother, and father-in-law Bernhard and Margaret Buttke, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Glen and Elaine Oelke.

Visitation for Merlie will be held Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Hamburg, followed by the funeral service at 11:30 a.m., and a committal service at St John’s Cemetery. Merlie’s service will be made available for future viewing at

Masks and social distancing will be required at the church.

A very special thanks to Timothy and Kim and John and Paula for their love, care, and support shown to Dad.  The family would like to thank Pastor James Borgwardt of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fond du lac, Wisconsin, for his comforting words and devotions.

Helke Funeral Home of Wausau is assisting with arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at

Sandy Piotrowski

Sandra L. Piotrowski, 69, of Wausau died on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, at Marshfield Medical Center-Weston.  

Sandy was born on April 3, 1951, to the late Wilford and Stella (Sekola) Frokjar.  Growing up she loved horses.  She had horses of her own and would dream of one day ponying at the Arlington Racetrack.  She graduated high school in 1969 and later met David Piotrowski.  On June 14, 1973, they were married, just nine months after they met.  Together they had one daughter, Venisa.  Sandy was a homemaker who volunteered with St. Anne’s Elementary School and Newman High School.  She loved a challenging crossword puzzle, so much so that every morning Dave would pick up breakfast and the newspaper with the daily crossword puzzle in it.  Sandy and Dave enjoyed going on road trips together.  From geocaching to casinos, they always enjoyed sightseeing and each other’s company along the way to their destination.  

Sandy is survived by her husband of 47 years, Dave Piotrowski, and daughter Venisa Piotrowski, both of Wausau; sister Bonnie (Dave) Webster and niece Erica Webster all of Hawkins, Wisconsin.  She is also survived by many diverse relatives.

Besides her parents, Sandy is preceded in death by her infant sister Nancy and niece Stephanie Webster.  

A future family celebration will be held at a later date in Hawkins.  

The family would like to thank the emergency department staff at Marshfield Medical Center – Weston for their kindness and compassion.  

Helke Funeral Home is assisting the family.  Online condolences may be given at

Edward Adamski

Edward Adamski

Edward J. Adamski of Wausau, Wisconsin, returned home to God on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020, at the age of 77.  Born Feb. 15, 1943, to Joseph Adamski and Pearl Adamski (Michalski). 

He married in October of 1963 to Harriet Adamski (Hannemann).  Harriet was the love of his life and together they raised four children. 

Edward dedicated over 40 years of his life to Wausau Paper until he retired in 2008.  Ed was an avid crafter, fisherman, gardener and animal lover.  He enjoyed taking road trips, tinkering in the garage and watching movies.  His wife, Harriet, said he could fix anything she asked of him.  He loved cooking and baking with his wife too.  Although, what he loved most of all was his family. 

He is survived by his wife, Harriet Adamski (Hannemann), sister Virginia Krueger (Tom), four children: Rose Polster (Rick), Joe Adamski (Sharon), Christine McKinnon (Todd), and Mike Adamski (Keith).  His three grandchildren: Ryan Polster (Bethany), Rylee Polster (Kong), and Justin Schmitz (Caitlin). 

He was never seen without his plaid shirt and suspenders.  Even on Sundays at Saint Anne’s church, he could be seen wearing his plaid shirt.  He will be remembered as a fighter, protector, loving son, brother, husband, father and friend.  His favorite saying, “It is what it is,” will forever ring in our ears.  A private celebration of life will be held at a later date. 

Helke Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements; you may sign our family guestbook at

Sincere gratitude goes to the doctors, nurses and health care workers who have compassionately cared for Edward.

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 Sheriff’s Department for the care and support they gave to the family.

James Bapp

James Bapp

James was an avid hunter and fisherman.  James had a passion for drawing and painting.  He liked pastels, putting together models and spending time with the family.

James was an honored member of the army.  He will be missed especially by his beloved companion Digger. 

He is suvived by his wife Donna Bapp, sons Tom (Lisa), Brian (Christy) Bapp and a daughter Amy (Keeb) Alfhiem.  Also a brother Terry (Kim) Bapp. Also survived by Gladis Wells, and family, his grandkids, Jake, Bapp, Julia Bapp, Deven Bapp, Ryan Alfiem, Heather Mielke, and great grandkids Adriana Bapp, Trenton Roberts, Helaku Bapp.

James will always be remembered as a loving, caring person.  A military ceremony will take place a a later date in the center of Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Waupaca.

Lee Meisner

Lee Meisner

Lee E. Meisner, 71, of Wittenberg, formerly of Tigerton, passed away on Dec. 18, 2020, at Rose Mary Manor in Mattoon. Lee was born on April 10, 1949, to Elmer and Erma (Arndt) Meisner in Shawano.

He attended K-12 in Tigerton. Following high school, Lee worked on the family farm and then at Nolan Sales in Marion. He later attended North Central Technical School in Wausau where he studied to be an electromechanical technician. After tech school, he began working for Marion Plywood Corp. for approximately 30 years until his retirement in 2015. As Lee grew older, he obtained an avid movie collection and added to his firearm collection. He enjoyed hunting and gardening as well. He even planted watermelons on the roof of the garage. He always enjoyed putting his own twist in carpentry and enjoyed reminiscing back to the days when he worked on the farm. With him, it seemed there was a story around every corner, coming from his time working for Nolan Sales and his time at Marion Plywood. One of his favorite stories to tell was when he was coming back from an auction and he picked up a truck load of green beans for a cold six-pack of beer.

Lee is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth (Savanna) of Shawano; sisters, Yvonne (Loren) Watter and Patricia Johnson, both of Wittenberg; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Erma; his brother, Danial and brothers-in-law, Duaine Klingbile and Reginald Johnson.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg. Rev. Matthew Christians will officiate. Visitation will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at the funeral home. Memories and messages of support may be shared at

Angeline Milanowski

Angeline Milanowski

Angeline P. Milanowski, 93, formerly of Hatley, died on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, at Cedar Ridge Elder Services, Schofield.

Angeline was born on June 22, 1927, in the town of Reid, the daughter of Simon and Mary (Kosidowski) Trzebiatowski.

On Nov. 16, 1946, Angeline was united in marriage to Theodore Milanowski in Hatley. He preceded her in death on June 30, 2004.

Angeline was employed at Marathon Electric for 35 years until her retirement. She was a member of St. Florian Catholic Church, Hatley, and it’s Rosary Society. Angeline loved baking, playing bingo and spending time with her family, especially her great-grandson, Lucas.

Angeline is survived by her son, Ray (Theresa) Milanowski of Hatley; grandson Cody (Jess) Milanowski of Hatley and great-grandson, Lucas.

Angeline was preceded in death by her husband; parents and siblings, Ed, Joe, Henry and Chester.

A private Mass of Christian burial was held at St. Florian Catholic Church. Fr. Gregory Bohren officiated and burial was in the Parish cemetery.

Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg, assisted the family. Memories and messages of support may be shared at