Michael W. Serwa

Michael Wayne Serwa, 54, of Hatley, Wisconsin, died unexpectedly on March 5th, 2021 from unknown causes to be determined by autopsy. He was on a weekend trip of ice fishing with friends in Minnesota, 8 hours away from his family who were deeply shocked and saddened.

Born on January 15th, 1967 to parents Ronald and late Georgia Serwa in Waukegan, Illinois. Surviving family includes his spouse Jana Serwa, his children Morgan Wojciechowski (Jon Wojciechowski), Madilyn Fischer (Joseph Fischer), Mitchel Serwa, his grandchildren, who knew him as their Bumpa, Levi Fischer, Cade Wojciechowski, Emerson Fischer, his brother Matthew Serwa (Loralee Serwa) and their children Myles Serwa, Maclayna Serwa, and Locklyn Serwa, and his wife’s family Bonnie Haley (Late Frederick Haley), Laurette Johnson (Dean Johnson), Frederick Haley, David Haley, Malisa Heater (Roddy Heater). Preceding in death by grandparents Joseph and Zona Sawby, and Edward and Fran Chambless.

Mike and Jana met at U.W. Marinette, were together since then and were married for 33 years. His love for her was unconditional and passionate.

He achieved a bachelor’s in business from the University of Green Bay. He was recently retired from Vortex Tool Company INC as the Vice President, a tool manufacturing company he helped establish in 2002.

He enjoyed playing golf and volleyball with his wife and friends. In his earlier years he played football and in High School he was a State Champion at Peshtigo High. He was also a passionate outdoors man. He loved fishing, hunting, mushroom hunting and trapping.

Mike was known for his eccentric taste in music, always singing loudly with swag dance moves. Fun followed him and truly carried him through. He was a big teddy bear that gave the best hugs. He was the most loving father, the kind that said, “Be good, don’t lick the bus window” as he dropped you off at high school.

His retirement included building a beautiful shed on a nice piece of hunting land, where he spent all his time. He became a chicken farmer, had two tiny black kittens, and an old English setter (Jada Serwa). He owned a truck with a winch and an air compressor and would rescue you if you had a flat or needed a jump. He loved traveling with his wife and treated her to many vacations that also doubled as hunting/fishing trips. My dad will truly be missed by so many. R.I.P. Big Guy!

The family of Mike would like to send a special thank you to Andy Radies, for being there for him in his final moments.

Memorials may be directed to Mike’s family for a future charitable donation in his memory.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Michael will be at 4:00 PM on Sunday, March 14, 2021 at St. Florian’s Catholic Church (500 Church Lane, Hatley, WI 54440).  Fr. Greg Bohren will officiate.  Visitation will be from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM on Friday, March 12 at Brainard Funeral Home Everest Chapel; resuming at 1:00 PM on Sunday at the church until the time of service.  The service will be livestreamed beginning at 4:00 PM on Sunday at brainardfuneral.com.  Brainard Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements; you may sign our family guestbook at brainardfuneral.com.

Don Christianson

Don Christianson, age 84, a long-time resident of Wausau died at home on March 8, 2021, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

Don was born March 2, 1937, to Orville and Alberta (Harris) Christianson in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jane, and his son Jay.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Lynn, and his son Ben.

After graduating from the Eau Claire public schools in 1955, he attended UW – Eau Claire and obtained a degree in elementary education.

He was then employed by the Wausau School District to teach fifth grade at Longfellow School, and later, sixth grade at Central Washington School. Don truly enjoyed his fifth- and sixth-grade students.

At the end of his first year of teaching, Don married Jane Rand in Black River Falls and they departed for Boulder, Colorado where, after four summers, he obtained a Master’s Degree in school administration from the University of Colorado.

In 1966, Don was named principal of Stettin School. Over the next thirty years, he served as principal at Stettin, Hewitt-Texas, G.D. Jones, and Hawthorne Hills and, at the same time, built and directed the district’s audio–visual and elementary library programs.

He was a past member of the Marathon County Retired Educators’ Association.

At the suggestion of neighbors, Don was asked to fill a vacancy on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors and the Wausau City Council representing Wausau’s second ward.

He was later elected to the post and served a total of five years. During that time, he was appointed to serve on the Marathon County Park Commission and served continually until 2013.

He volunteered as a ski patroller on the Rib Mountain/Granite Peak Ski Patrol and served for several years as the patrol director.

He was a member of the Noon Optimist Club and served a term as the club president. He truly enjoyed working at the club’s many youth projects and he, Jane, and the boys, enjoyed working at the club’s brat and beer stands at the Wisconsin Valley Fair.

Toward the end of his career in education and part of retirement, Don took his life-time love of woodworking and began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. He worked with other volunteers and the homes’ prospective owners to construct over thirty-five homes for deserving families. He enjoyed the work of building and watching the families move into their new homes.

Due to COVID, there will not be a visitation at this time.
Memorial funds will be donated to the Ben Christianson Earth Stewardship Scholarship.

Family and friends are asked to go to www.brainardfuneral.com to leave online condolences and words of remembrance.

Alfred T. Kluz

Alfred Kluz, 91, of Weston, passed away on Sunday, March 7, 2021, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

Alfred was born on August 7, 1929, on the family farm in Kronenwetter, one of ten children born to the late Paul and Bertha (Bialek) Kluz. He served his country honorably in the U.S. Army, where he was stationed in Fort Bragg as part of the 82nd Airborne Division. On August 25, 1956, he married Margaret Kurszewski at St. Therese Church in Schofield. She preceded him in death on May 13, 2010.

In his working life, Alfred was a certified diesel mechanic and skilled welder. After retirement, he remained active, continuing to help on the family farm, and most recently, recycling materials by engineering them into anything from a mini-tractor to a gravity watering system to a bird feeder that can attract three woodpeckers at once, creating the most delicious homemade doughnuts, and specializing in making gladiolas bloom. Alfred could bring a smile to anyone.

Survivors include his six children, Carl Kluz of Schofield, Daniel (Nancy) Kluz of Colorado, Mary Kluz of Wausau, Paul Kluz of Madison, Charles (Oh) Kluz of California, and Jeanne Grant of St. Paul; one sister, Emily Bucks of Tomahawk; one brother, Philip (Dorothy) Kluz of Mosinee; and 11 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents and wife Margaret, he was further preceded in death by 7 siblings and a step-granddaughter, Amanda Ludwa.

Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 12, 2021, at St. Mark Parish, 602 Military Rd., Rothschild. Rev. Allan Slowiak will officiate. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Kronenwetter. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service on Friday at the church. Both visitation and mass are open to the public. Masks will be required and social distancing will be practiced.

Donations in his name to St. Mark’s Catholic Church (or simply hanging a bird feeder) would be a welcome way to honor Alfred’s memory.

Brainard Funeral Home – Everest Chapel, Weston is assisting the family with arrangements. You may leave messages and condolences for Alfred’s family by visiting brainardfuneral.com.

James L. Mertes

James Leon Mertes, “Mert”, 77, Wausau passed away Sunday, March 7, 2021 at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

Mert was born March 6, 1944 in Wausau, son of the late Joseph and Wanda (Scutkowski) Mertes.  He graduated from Wausau High School in 1963 where he met Geralyn LaVake.  They were married on October 31, 1964 at St. Anne Catholic Church, Wausau.  Mert worked at Hammer Blow Tool, retiring after 37 years in 2006.

Mert enjoyed life! He was lighthearted and always had a witty word or remark to lighten any mood or bring a laugh!  Growing up he loved picking nightcrawlers and fishing with his buddy Tom Holzem.  He loved summers at the family cottage fishing and relaxing.  In his younger years you could often find Mert and Geri spending Thursday nights shooting pool or cheering on their long-time buddy Charlie Schoenfeld.  Mert and Charlie enjoyed fall gun deer seasons together as well. He spent many hours, nickels, dimes and quarters playing games of Sheepshead.  Mert enjoyed cooking for his family. He was an avid history buff especially loving World War II.

Mert is survived by his wife of 56 years, Geralyn Mertes, son Jason and daughter-in-law, Michelle Mertes, granddaughter, Rachel Mertes, grandson’s, Tyler and Colin Mertes, all of Wausau, brother and sister-in-law, LeRoy and Sandi LaVake, Tomahawk, brother-in-law, Michael LaVake, Wausau, sister-in-law, Tonya LaVake, Bettendorf, IA and many nieces and nephews.  Mert is further survived by his companion, Tigger, his cat.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Wanda Mertes, sister, Lorraine Hunsicker, brother Warren Mertes and his son, Shane Mertes.

A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 13, 2021 at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 6205 Alderson Street, Weston.  The Rev. Lance Hoelscher will officiate. 

Visitation will be held on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of services all at the church.  Social distancing guidelines will be in place as well as facemasks required by everyone who will attend. 

The service will be recorded and will be available to view at a later date on the Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home website.  Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com

Joan R. Zahrt

Joan Zahrt, age 89, of Wausau, was called to eternal life on Monday, March 8, 2021, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. 

Joan was born on April 3, 1931, in the Town of Scott to the late Herbert and Rose (Schult) Kleinschmidt.  She was baptized on April 25, 1931, and then confirmed in her Christian faith on April 2, 1944; both at St John’s Lutheran Church in Hamburg.  A 1948 graduate of Merrill High School, Joan pursued secretarial school in Milwaukee.  She was employed as an Executive Secretary at Hoffers Paint and Glass for most of her career. 

Joan was a wonderful wife to Merlin and a devoted mother to Kristine and Lowell.  She was a faithful member of Trinity Lutheran Church for over 50 years.  She regularly attended Bible class and volunteered at Bethesda Thrift Shop for more than 20 years. 

Proud of her German heritage, Joan excelled at Genealogy projects and always shared the wealth of knowledge she had learned.  Joan enjoyed reading and completing crossword puzzles.  She crocheted many afghans for her family and friends.  Important to her was the time spent traveling, including three trips to Europe to trace her ancestry.  Merlin and Joan traveled across 49 of the 50 states and especially enjoyed spending time at the family cottage on Manson Lake pontooning, fishing, and relaxing with a game of Scrabble.  She loved her family more than words can express. 

She is survived by her loving husband of 55 years, Merlin Zahrt, Wausau; children, Kristine (Thomas) Schult, Wausau, and Lowell (Diane) Zahrt, Wausau; grandchildren, Alicia Schult, Dustin Zahrt, Jordan Schult, and Ashley Schult; as well as great-grandchildren, Hunter, Bella, Alexa, Isaiah, Evelyn, Ava, and Jacob.  She was preceded in death by her parents, and brother, Jim Kleinschmidt. 

“Well done, well done, my good and faithful one.  Welcome to the place where you belong!” 

The funeral service will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 13, 2021, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 501 Stewart Avenue, Wausau.  Rev. Timothy Smith will officiate.  Visitation will take place from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at the church.  Private interment will be in Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Trinity Lutheran Church & School. 

You may sign our family guestbook at www.helke.com 

Gerald F. Kanieck

Gerald ‘Jerry’ Frank Kaniecki, 78 of the Wittenberg area, passed away on Monday, March 8, 2021 at Marshfield Medical Center, Weston.

He was born on June 25, 1942, the son of Frank and Violet (Woytasik) Kaniecki.

Jerry was a 1960 graduate of Mosinee High School. On August 31, 1963, Jerry was united in marriage to Bette Olson. She survives.

Jerry farmed for many years in the town of Franzen, a job he truly loved. He also worked as a Journeyman machinist and tool and die maker for several companies.

He enjoyed fishing and hunting and could fix just about anything.

Most important to Jerry was the time spent with his family, especially his grandchildren and great-granddaughter.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Bette; two daughters, Julie (Mark) Meshak of Wittenberg and Kathy (Vern) Gagas of Custer; two grandchildren, Sarah Meshak of Stevens Point and Steven Meshak of Antigo and a great-granddaughter, Lyla Grace.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Frank Kaniecki and grandparents.

As per Jerry’s wishes, there will be no service. A gathering of family and friends will be held later this year.

Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home of Wittenberg/Birnamwood is assisting the family with arrangements. Memories and messages of support may be shared at schmidtschulta.com

The family would like to thank the staff at Marshfield Medical Center for the kind and compassionate care given to Jerry.