Obituaries are a community service courtesy of Helke and Brainard Funeral Homes.

Roland “Junior” Zerneke, Jr.

Roland Zerneke, Jr., 77. Our beloved Husband and Father passed away on December 7, 2022, in Wausau. 

Junior was born on August 23, 1945, in Wausau, Wisconsin to the late Roland and Margaret (Brummond) Zerneke. In 1970, he took over his father’s business for 32 years until ill health forced his retirement, Westside Battery and Electric. His brother Billy later joined in the business. He was longtime member of Westside Businessman’s Associations. He met the love of his life, Antoinette “Peggy” Loos in 1967. They were united in marriage on May 17, 1969, and shared 53 years together. 

Junior enjoyed fishing, hunting, gardening, golfing, bowling, going to family cottage up north, and watching his son Mark’s stock car racing. 

He is survived by his wife Peggy, his sons, Roland III, Robb, and Mark, grandchildren, Alice, Megan, Matthew, and Braden, siblings, Bill (Beth) and Karen (Leif) Nestingen, and many nieces, nephews, other family members and friends.

He is preceded in death by nurturing mother Clara, sisters Marilyn (Roy), Joyce ( Tom), and Ellen (Virgil). 

A private service will be held for the family. Helke Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. To leave condolences and memories for the family, please visit, www.helke.com. 

Delores “Dee” Heilmeier

Delores “Dee” Helen Heilmeier, born April 1, 1935, age 87, of Weston, WI, was welcomed into heaven on December 5, 2022 with her children together at her side.

Dee grew up in Wausau and attended Wausau High School. She married Jack Heilmeier at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on May 5, 1956, after he diligently pursued the opportunity to court her.

Dee had a fierce flame within her admired by many. She greeted all of life’s obstacles with strength and bravery, while also anchoring her household with love and grace. Her children were her pride, and she never missed a little league game or the night before a spelling test.

Dee put her heart and soul into her work and welcomed the camaraderie of the workplace. She spent many years working in the radiology department at Marshfield Clinic. And when she finally retired, her work ethic did not, and she found great joy with her volunteer position at St. Claire’s Hospital Gift Shop.

Dee had a razor-sharp wit that brought light, laughter and a little sass to any situation. She had a special flair that could turn even a simple trip to the gas station into a lifelong memory with her. Her creativity spanned beyond her words too, whether she was oil painting the harmony she found in nature, sewing Thanksgiving dresses for her daughters, or refining her delicious chicken dumpling or split pea soups. Her holiday kuchen was unmatched.

“Two dark chocolates a day” were important words to live by according to Dee, but she cherished exercise and movement just as much. Whether it was a long bike ride with friends, her weekly stretching classes (which she maintained at age 87), spending time outdoors with one of her and Jack’s German Shepherds at their Northern Wisconsin cabin, or dancing to the fastest polka of the night, Dee lived and loved every day with intention.

After navigating four challenging months in the complexities of the healthcare system, God knew it was time to bring Dee home. Her family takes comfort in knowing that her husband Jack was undoubtedly waiting at heaven’s gate in his ’63 ½ Ford Galaxie 500 to take his beautiful wife home to eternal glory.

Dee was preceded in death by brothers, Anthony, Lloyd, Ervin, Ivan and Donald; sisters Leona and Irene. She is survived by three children, daughter Mary Kujawa and husband Tom of Weston, WI, son Roy Heilmeier and daughter-in-law Laurie of Weston, WI, daughter Laura Hoppe and husband Gregg of Marathon, WI; four grandchildren, Lindsay Barr and husband Nate of Seattle, WA, Samuel Heilmeier and wife Julie of Weston, WI, Hannah Heilmeier of Chicago, IL, and Amanda Kujawa of Denver, CO; sister Margie Heeren, and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and one great grandchild on the way.

Following cremation, a visitation will be held from 9:30 – 11:00 AM followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM, Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at Saint Therese Parish, 113 W Kort St, Rothschild, WI 54474.

Therese E. Drongowski

Therese “Terri” E. Nelson-Drongowski, 73, Wausau, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at Benedictine Living Community, Wausau, under the care of Promedica Hospice.

She was born March 1, 1949 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, daughter of the late Orville and Florida (Binnette) Moore.  In 1990, she married Bernard Nelson in Madison, he preceded her in death 2004.  In 2008, she married Gerald Drongowski, he preceded her in death in 2015. 

Terri attended Mudelein College in Chicago, Illinois, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies.  She furthered her education at the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University, earning a Masters of Davinity degree and then moved back to the East Coast and attended Syracuse University, earning a Master’s degree in Social Work.

Terri was a former Nun, a foster mom and worked as a Child Protective Service Worker for many years.  Among her favorite pastimes, she enjoyed traveling and loved animals.

Survivors include, three children, Jessica Montano, Argyle, Raelene Nelson, Gillett and Justin Nelson, Dodgeville; two foster children, Jessica (Thorsten) Richardson, Shullsburg and Gina Hill, Florida; five grandchildren, Domanic Strehlow, Hayden, Wyatt and Makyla Bieszk and Aidan Pollastro; and foster grandchildren, Tyler and Jerico Sampson, Kesean Caffey, Braydin Sherman-Hill, Arianna Peterson, Sherylrinna Anderson, Jeremy Richardson, Zander Hines, Trey Miller and Zoey-Jayne Richardson.

Besides her parents and both husbands, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Jadalynn Nelson.

Private services will be held.  Burial will be in the Friendenshain Cemetery.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff and residents that Therese loved so much!

Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 1302 Sixth Street, Wausau is in charge of arrangements.  Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com

Richard “Scratch” Borchardt

Richard “Rick” “Scratch” Borchardt, 61, Mosinee, WI, reached for the angels the morning of Sunday, December 4, 2022. He is now at peace, after a valiant battle with renal disease.

He was born on March 2, 1961. He married Autumn Zimick on August 14, 2009. Scratch had a passion for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, deer hunting, fishing, and doing things his own way. Scratch held a variety of jobs throughout his life with retirement from Securitas in 2020.

He is survived by his wife Autumn, a son Zack Palmer and a biological daughter, Bobbi Jo, who 

 affectionately called him Uncle Scratch. His brothers, Larry “Toes” and Chuck. Family and friends further survive him.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Frank and Rosie, and a sister, Ivy.

Scratch requested an open house Remembrance of Life Celebration. This will take place on Sunday, December 18, 2022, from Noon to 5:00pm, at 801 14th Street, Mosinee.

The family would like to thank Compassus Hospice for the excellent care, especially Rosanne.

Mid Wisconsin Crematory is assisting the family. Online condolences may be expressed at MWCS.WS