Lou A. Oelke

Lou Ann Oelke, age 88 of Wausau, died on Sunday, July 3, 2022.

Lou Ann was born on July 18, 1933, to William and Lucille (Hoenisch) Hanke in Wausau, Wisconsin. She married James Herman Oelke on May 17, 1954, and they went on to have four daughters.

LouAnn was an active and enthusiastic volunteer in the community including: Marathon American Legion Auxiliary, St Peter ladies Aide, St Peter’s school, and Bethesda thrift.

LouAnn was also a very talented craft person. knitting, crochetting, sewing, mending and embroidery to name just a few talents.  We kept her busy with requests which she generally obliged. She loved keeping all the littles in her circle warm with heaps of sweaters, hats, blankets, and endless mittens.

Lou Ann and James had a very loving relationship.  James introduced Lou Ann as his bride all 45 years of marriage. It never failed to make her feel loved and beautiful.

Lou Ann joins her parents, her husband James, daughters Jamie Oelke and Carol (Tom) Chack, grandson Michael Chack, sister-in-law Florene (David) Colrud and brothers James “Jim” and William “Bill” (Mary) Hanke in Heaven. She is survived by daughters Janice (Kyle)  Nelson of Wausau and Christine (John) Barrickman of Seattle, Washington as well as her grandchildren: Noah (Lindsey) King, Joshua (Samantha) King, Tyler King and Shanna King all Hatley. Jacob and Ian Barrickman both of Seattle, Washington and Timothy Chack of Salem (Diana), Step Grandchildren Brock Nelson and Kristen Nelson. Lou Ann is also survived by great-grandchildren: Nathaniel and Tanner King of Hatley, Kaden Nelson of Wausau and Carol Chack of Salem.

Funeral Service for Lou Ann Oelke will be held at 11:00 A.M. Friday, July 8 at the Helke Funeral Home, Wausau with Pastor Kevin Schnake officiating. A visitation will be held from 10:00 A.M. until the time of services. Burial will take place at Restlawn Cemetery in Wausau. Casketbearers will be her grandsons: Noah, Joshua, Tyler, Jacob, Timothy and Nathaniel.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Lou Ann’s family to be designated at a later date.

A special thank you to Lindsey King, Kevin Nelson and the entire staff on the 4th floor at North Central Health Care for your care and compassion of Louann. 

Grace E. Pregont

Grace Esther Pregont, aged “92 and ½” – as she would say, of Wausau, went home to be with her Lord, with her family by her side at her home, on Saturday, July 2, 2022. 

She was born on December 14, 1929, in Wausau, the daughter of the late Ervin and Esther (Zemke) Goetsch.  On July 1, 1950, she married Claude Pregont.  He preceded her in death on January 13, 2011.   

Grace was dedicated and devoted to her religious faith which was very important to her. She enjoyed attending bible class with her dear friends for over 52-years. She also enjoyed going to her cottage up north, where she and Claude spent time fishing together.  Grace was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She enjoyed preparing food for everyone, and her kitchen was always open. Grace would light up the room with her sense of humor and joke telling, and she was a cherished friend to all that met her.  

Survivors include her three children, Clark (Jacque) Pregont of Atchison, KS, Debi Pregont (Fischer) of Wausau, and Bruce (Melinda) Pregont of Ringle; six grandchildren, Bobby (Shauna) Fischer, Becca (Jason) Sliwicki, Rachel (Emily) Pregont, Justin (Melinda) Pregont, Lauran Roble, and Brent Pregont; 11 great-grandchildren, Anna, Will, Ceci, Ruby, Walter, Maya, Xavier, Louis, Viviane, Addilynn and Brianna; and one brother, Jerry (Ellen) Goetsch of Rothschild. 

She was preceded in death by her husband Claude, three brothers, Alvin, Ralph, and Wayne Goetsch, and one sister, Sylvia Torzewski. 

Funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, July 8, 2022, at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 512 McClellan St. Wausau.  Rev. Gary Froseth will officiate Burial will be in Maple Grove Cemetery, town of Maine.  Visitation will be from 10:00 A.M. until the time of service at the church.  Helke Funeral Home, Wausau, is assisting the family with arrangements. 

You may leave messages and condolences for her family at helke.com. 

The family would like to thank Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services for the excellent care shown not only to Grace, but to her family as well.   

“See You in Heaven” 

Thomas D. Fisher

Thomas D. Fisher, age 56, died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, July 3, 2022.

Thomas was born on September 16, 1965 in Eau Claire to the late Duane and Bonnie (Easker) Fisher. He was a 1984 graduate of D.C. Everest High School.  He enjoyed outdoor activities such as ice fishing and ATVing.

Thomas is survived by his siblings Maggie (Ken) Smitala, Jane (Joe) Ramuta and Ben Fisher; daughter Halie Fisher; and nieces and nephews Mariah and Nick Smitala and Lawson and Kienna Ramuta.

He is preceded in death by his parents Duane and Bonnie Fisher and brother Pete Fisher.

Private family services will be held.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to a substance abuse charity of your choice is suggested.

Doris J. Kerstner

Doris J. Kerstner, age 86, of Wausau died on Sunday, July 3, 2022 at her sons home with her family by her side.

Doris was born on July 17 1935 to the late Albert and Eleanor (Forsberg) Strelow.  She married Donald Kerstner in Bowler in 1954.                     

Doris loved to cook and share meals with family and friends, especially on holidays.  She enjoyed crafting with friends, weaving baskets, coloring her pencil sketches and creating greeting cards.  She stained a lot of Don’s hand-crafted furniture.  In retirement she enjoyed working at the C.V.A.  She and Don liked to golf with her sister, Bonnie and her husband Gus and spend winter months in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

She was a long-time member of Trinity Lutheran Church on Stewart Ave, Wausau.

She is survived by her son’s Sheldon (Arlene) and Kevin and sister Bonnie Moede and nieces and nephews.

Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, July 15, 2022 at Brainard Funeral Home, 522 Adams St., Wausau.  The Rev. Timothy Smith will officiate.  Visitation will take place from 10:00 am until the time of service at the funeral home on Friday.

Arleen T. Shipway

Arleen Tressa Shipway April 1, 1932 to June 30, 2022

Arleen was born in Stratford, Wisconsin; the eldest of three children to Henry and Hattie Rau.  Arleen and her sister Joyce would take the train to Wausau in the 1950s to kick up their heels.  On one of the trips to Wausau she met her beloved husband “Chuck” who was home on leave from the Air Force.  Chuck and Arleen were married for over 67 years until his passing earlier this year.  Over the years, they became partners in the ups and downs of life.  In 1966 Arleen’s sister, Joyce, passed away from cancer.  Arleen and Joyce were very close having lost their father and infant brother Henry at a very young age.  After Joyce’s passing, Arleen became a surrogate mother to Joyce’s three children in addition to being a mother to her own five children and the primary caregiver of her mother. Later, Arleen was also the caregiver for Chuck as she helped him through his long battle with Guillain-Barré Syndrome whiles simultaneously caring for her bedridden mother.  Three words that describe Arleen are caring, loving, and selfless.  She said, “Do not jump to judgements about someone’s life as you do not know the struggles they are going through, so do not be so quick to judge.”  In a recent video, Arleen was asked what her favorite age was, and she responded, “I enjoyed all of them.”  She had a deep appreciation for the life she was given and never complained about the struggles she experienced during her life.

Arleen worked as an administrative assistant for Wausau Insurance and a bookkeeper for Pauly Cheese.  She loved her many years in different circles at St. Stephen Lutheran church.  Another passion of hers was animals – there was a not a cat or dog she didn’t love.

In retirement, Chuck and Arleen loved to spend time with their children and grandchildren, who provided them with such joy.  They also loved to travel and explore new places.  Most of all Arleen would say “enjoy the beautiful day.”  In the summer you could find them out on their deck listening to the Brewers and enjoying the day.  They so enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. Chuck and Arleen are back together again on their deck.

Arleen was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Hattie Rau; infant brother, Henry; sister, Joyce; brother-in-law Gordon Brown; sister-in-law Virginia Shipway; brother-in-law Orville Heinz; and husband, Chuck, who passed on January 16, 2022.

She is survived by her five children; Debra Shipway (Gary Mussell) of Warrenville, IL, Kim Shipway of Scottsdale, AZ, Michael (Lee) Shipway of Wausau, Richard Shipway of Milwaukee, Barb (Jim) Haakenson of Indianapolis, IN; four grandchildren; Patrick (Julie) Shipway of Burnsville, MN, Samantha Shipway of New Richmond, Brandon Haakenson of Tempe, AZ, Katrina Haakenson of Indianapolis, IN; two great grandchildren Isabella and Lily Shipway; sister-in-law, JoAnn Heinz; and numerous nephews and a niece.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 am Saturday July 9 at St. Stephen Lutheran church. Visitation is from 10:00-11:00 am. at the church.  Brainard Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.  Online condolences can be given at www.brainardfuneral.com.  The family wishes to thank Aspirus Hospice Care for their care and support.  In lieu of flowers, Arleen wished for donations to be made to St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Wausau.     

Bernard G. Breitenbach

Bernard “Ben” Breitenbach, 84, Rothschild, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Monday, July 4, 2022 at Aspirus Hospice House, Wausau.

Ben was born on July 13, 1937, the son of Bernard and Mary Breitenbach. Ben is a graduate of Merrill High School, class of 1956. After graduation, Ben enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Upon return to Merrill, Ben was employed with National Tea Company.

Ben married his bride, Iris, and they would have celebrated 61 years of marriage on October 28th. Ben moved his family to Wausau to start a new career path with Wisconsin Public Service in 1969. He started his work at the Hydro Plant, as an operator, and later made the move to the WPS Weston Power Plant as an operator.

Ben loved his family and the outdoors. Family vacations are recalled with fond memories and a few laughs, as it was always an adventure when the Breitenbachs set out. Ben loved hunting and fishing, and was a true, responsible sportsman, providing an example to his son, son-in-law and grandson. Many will easily picture him with a beagle at his side, and most will readily admit he was the king of calling in a turkey. Ben and Iris instilled a love of nature, not only to their children, but to their grandchildren as well. Long hikes with Dad/Grandpa or floats down the Copper River, which ran through Camp Cranberry, were common events. “Grandpa’s shack” was a haven from everyday life… high school and college exam weeks, or family just needing a port in the storm. You could always count on being fed well! Deer hunting season was a much loved tradition for Ben and Jeff at “the shack”.

Ben is survived by his bride, Iris, his loving children Colleen (Steven) Kemp, Jeffrey (Molly) Breitenbach, his niece Polly (Wayne) Polak and his beloved grandchildren, Keith, Brooklyn, Brynna and Elle; soon to be grandson-in-laws, Jad and Bryton, extended family and friends, and lastly his loved dog, Kelly Morgan.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 11, 2022 at St. Mark Catholic Church, Rothschild.  Rev. Allan Slowiak will preside. Visitation will be on Monday from 9:00 a.m. until time of services at the church.  Burial will be beside his long-time friend and brother-in-law, Butch, at Oak Hill Cemetery, Irma,

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the National Wild Turkey Federation or Aspirus Hospice House, Wausau.

Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Wausau is in charge of arrangements.  Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com

Gale R Ver­poorten

ATHENS – Gale R Ver­poorten 74, of Athens WI passed away at her home on June 30th, 2022.

She was born A New Years Baby on January 1st, 1948 to Herman and Vicki Kramm in Ath­ens WI. She married her love of her life Orville Verpoorten on Oct 24th 1964. They celebrated 54 years of marriage before his passing in 2018 and was blessed with 5 children that she loved dear­ly. Michelle ( Jim) Davis, Michael Verpoorten, Yvette (Pat) Chieves, Jason ( Kathy) Verpoorten & Terri ( Brian) Parsley. She also was blessed with 15 grandchildren & 2 great grandchildren.

Gale lived life to the fullest and if you were to see her, she always had time to chat & she loved talking to everyone, even people she did not know yet. Through the years she enjoyed many activities including snowmobiling, shooting skeet, and she could fix her car if she needed to. On her many travels to visit with people or go shopping, if there was a garage sale sign, she stopped or asked you to stop for her to hunt for additions to her col­lections of antique jewelry that she loved to sit to look at. For most of her career she was a CNA for the Wausau VNA and took extra care for all her patients. Sometimes she shared her rummage sale treasures with them to brighten their day. In her retirement years, visiting with her family & friends was most important to her. She looked forward to her weekly meals with her family. Gale loved attended many local events and drawings with her children to support her local community. Annual local fairs were a highlight to her to travel to and she always helped out by volunteering in the 4-H ice cream stands. During Christmas time in her festive sweater vests she would ring bells for the Salvation Army. She was an avid cribbage card player & attended weekly bingo with her friends. Gale will be greatly missed by everyone for her loving heart, sparky personality, and smiley face.

Funeral services will be 11:30 a.m.  Saturday, July 9, 2022 at St Paul Lutheran Church 224526 Grass Creek Ln Athens WI 54411.  Visitation will be Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services all at the church.

Lillian M. Bauman

Lillian was born on June 18, 1927 in Colby, Wisconsin, daughter of the late Walter and Edith (Smart) Wurthmann. 

As a child she attended the Rusk School in Town of Frankfort. She then graduated from Colby High School in 1945.   Lillian attended and graduated from Stevens Point Teachers College with a Rural Teachers Certificate in 1947.   She started her teaching career in a one room country school in the Town of Wein.  During that time, she rented a room from the Louie Bauman Family.  Uncle Louie played the part of matchmaker by introducing Lillian to his nephew, Leonard. Louie’s plan worked well and Leonard and Lillian married at First Methodist Church in Wausau on May 19, 1947.  In 1964 she completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from the University of Stevens Point.  She taught in Edgar at both the elementary and middle school levels until she retired in 1987.  Lillian was a proud educator. Long after her retirement, she reminisced about students and her time as a teacher.

When Leonard decided to buy Len’s Lanes in Fenwood in 1975, Lillian was right by his side in operating the business. She cooked up a mean hot beef and Friday fish fry.  They sold the business in 1984.

Lillian continued to teach until 1987, when they decided it was time to escape the winter weather and go to Arizona.  Lillian enjoyed spending the winters in Arizona with her husband in their motorhome. She spent much of her time reading upwards of 30 books each winter. Lillian and Leonard were members of the Good Sam RV Club and enjoyed making new friends wherever they traveled.

Lillian was involved in her community and had many interests. She was a member of the Fenwood Homemakers. Lillian was an active member at her church where she was involved in the Women’s church group and taught Sunday School. Ever the teacher, she continued to do some teaching in her retirement by tutoring. Lillian played the saxophone in a dance band when she was young; this led to a favorite pastime of her and Leonard’s, dancing. Other hobbies she enjoyed were bowling, stitching, sewing, and scrapbooking.  Later in life, Lillian spent her years at Birchwood Highlands Apartments and enjoyed meeting new friends and continuing her love of games.

There is nothing Lillian loved more than spending time with her family. One of her favorite things to do was watching her grandchildren grow up and attend their recitals and sporting events. She especially loved playing cards with her family and passed on that love to her children and grandchildren. Later on, she would keep score and cheer everyone on.

She is survived by Brant (Rosa) Bauman of Tempe, Arizona, Brian Bauman of San Francisco, California, Jean (Chuck) Krause of Appleton, Wisconsin, and Jay (Sue) Bauman of Minocqua, Wisconsin; five grandchildren, Scott Bauman, Kaitlin Krause, Elliot Krause, Rachel (Noah) Bauman Tostrud and Emily Bauman.

Lillian was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard; her brother Ervin Wurthmann and her sister Helen Jackson.

Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Friday, July 8, 2022 at St. John Lutheran Church, ELCA, town of Wien.  Rev. Gail Sowell will officiate.  Burial will be in the church cemetery.  Visitation will be Friday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services all at the church.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Care Partners and Interm Hospice Care for their loving care of Lillian.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com

Carol M. Engman

Carol M. Engman, 75, Wausau passed away Monday, July 4, 2022, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

She was born October 6, 1946, in Unity, daughter of the late Leo and Hazel (Tibbitts) Hebert.  On October 16, 1965, she married David Engman at St. Anne Catholic Church, Wausau.  He preceded her in death on November 26, 2005.

For many years Carol worked at Nanik Corporation in Wausau.  Some of her favorite pastimes included golfing, fishing and traveling with her family.  She also enjoyed taking RV trips with her late husband Dave to numerous NASCAR races, next to the casino was a bonus.  She also was a master at woodworking and cherished making birdfeeders and houses as gifts for friends and family.  Carol enjoyed the company of her cats, past and present, Mindy, Thumper, Tigger and Cali.

Survivors include her children, Kari (Greg) Thomae, Wausau, Troy (Jennifer) Engman, Mosinee, 6 grandchildren, Kayla (Jeff), Tyler (Teagan), Dakota (Brooklyn), Brittany, Breanna (Chris) and Bradley (Josh), 2 step-grandchildren, Nicholas and Elizabeth, 6 great grandchildren, Cameron, Carson, Madisyn, August, Emery and baby Wrecke on the way and her siblings, Vivian Podevels, Florence Edblom, Franklin Hebert, Alice Kasten and Rose Wicker and other family members and close friends.

Besides her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by her mother and father-in-law, Edwin and Arletta Engman, five siblings, Marie Hartl, Adella Schmitz, Joan Jones, John Hebert, Leonard Hebert and a sister-in-law, Deborah Engman.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Monday, July 11, 2022, at The Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Wausau.  The Rev. Samuel Martin will preside.  Burial will be in Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau.  Visitation will be held on Monday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services all at the church.  Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Wausau is in charge of arrangements.  Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com 

Thomas E. Gallant, MD, FACC

On June 30th, 2022, Thomas Gallant passed away surrounded by his family following a valiant fight against pancreatic cancer. He will forever be remembered as a loving husband, a doting father, an adoring grandfather, an avid reader, an involved community member, a fierce intellect, a skilled physician, and a respected colleague.

Tom was born on December 3, 1949, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Francis J. and A. Marita (Courtney) Gallant. He grew up in South Paris, Maine, attending Paris public schools and Oxford Hills High School, from which he graduated in 1967 with honors. Tom studied at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where he was a member of the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, a chemistry major and a Senior Scholar, graduating cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1971. Immediately after college graduation, he matriculated to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, where he was a member of the first 3-year MD program class, graduating in 1974 cum laude and being elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society.

Tom completed a medicine/pediatrics internship at the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont in Burlington, where he subsequently served a diagnostic radiology residency before being certified in diagnostic radiology by the American Board of Radiology. He was the first cardiac radiology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he also completed a fellowship in vascular radiology. After serving briefly as an Instructor in Radiology at MGH/Harvard Medical School, he joined Northwest Radiologists in Indianapolis, Indiana, practicing at St Vincent’s Hospital for two years. Thomas then joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he practiced for four years, advancing from assistant professor to associate professor of radiology and directing the cardiac radiology and interventional radiology sections. During the years at Vermont, Harvard, St Vincents, and Cincinnati, Tom published several scientific papers and book chapters, presenting his work to national and international audiences. He served as an examiner for the American Board of Radiology in the diagnostic radiology section and for the cardiac and interventional radiology special competency section for several years. He was also elected to fellowship in the American College of Cardiology as a cardiac radiologist.

Thomas joined the Marshfield Clinic in 1986, practicing there for 31 years in the interventional and cardiac radiology sections and serving on the executive committee, as medical director for hospital radiology, chair of the radiation protection committee and teaching in the school of radiography. After his retirement in 2017, Tom continued to teach in the radiography school, and remained close with many colleagues who endured as lifelong friends.

Tom and Christiana Holzer met at Colby and were married in 1973 in her hometown of Gallipolis, Ohio. Nathan was born in 1976, Andrew in 1981, and Lara in 1984. Christi and Tom divorced in 1999, but both remained active in the lives of their children. Tom married Suzanne (Hirsch) Tuszka in 2006 and they have resided in Wausau, Wisconsin, since that time. Suzanne’s children, Cassandra and Zach play active roles in Tom’s life, along with their respective partners Caleb and Jenna. Nathan married a classmate from Marshfield, Briana Fahey, in 2011, and later succumbed to colon carcinoma in 2014 after a courageous battle with the disease. Nathan remained forever in Tom’s heart, and he and his family honored his legacy at every opportunity. Lara married Stephen (“Ted”) in 2012, and Andrew lives with his partner, Susanna.

Lara’s children, Miles Thomas and Calvin Nathan, were born in 2014 and 2018 respectively. These boys were bright lights in Tom’s life, along with Cassandra’s children, Oscar and Olive. Tom, a.k.a. Grandpa Tom or “Baki”, will be sorely missed; his legacy will live on through his grandchildren’s passion for reading, their love of science, their curiosity, and the kindness of their hearts.

Tom and Suzanne were active members at St John’s Episcopal Church in Wausau where both served terms on the Vestry, and Tom was also a junior warden. They subsequently transferred their membership to St James’ Episcopal in Mosinee where Tom was junior warden.

Since retirement, Tom has spent his years traveling North America in his array of camper vans and RV’s, fishing and boating on the lake, enjoying various cuisines (Prince Edward Island mussels and lobster rolls were favorites), and generally living life to the fullest. Above all, he enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren. Even though far apart at times, he was an active and frequent presence in all of their lives–celebrating birthdays and holidays, helping with home renovations, and regaling them with his countless stories and jokes (many of which contained graphic detail from a long medical career).

Cancer has brought much heartbreak to Tom and his family over the years. In light of this, we kindly request that–in lieu of flowers–gifts be made to support efforts to find a cure. Please consider donating to the Cancer Research Institute (cancerresearch.org) in his name.

Services will be held at John J. Buettgen Funeral Home on Wednesday, July 6, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. until the time of Service at 7:00 p.m.

John J. Buettgen Funeral Home is assisting family at this time. Online condolences may be expressed at HonorOne.com