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

Duane L. Hafeman

Duane L. Hafeman, 81, Tomahawk, former Wausau area resident passed away peacefully Saturday, December 17 at the Aspirus Tomahawk Hospital, Tomahawk, WI. Duane was born September 28, 1941, in Wausau, Wisconsin to the late Leonard and Gladys (Nelson) Hafeman. He married Sandra L. (Clairmore) in 1963 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Wausau and she preceded him in death on August 14, 2010. Duane worked as a general laborer at MBX Packaging Specialists, Wausau for 46 years until his retirement in 2010.

Duane was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Wausau. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. Duane enjoyed cheering on the Green Bay Packers, playing BINGO and the occasional trips to the casino.

He is survived by his three sons: Randall (Jennifer), Ron and Steve Hafeman all of Wausau, two granddaughters: Katlynn (Austin) Kaiser of Mosinee and Ashley Hafeman of Wausau, step-grandsons: Jessie and Justin Godfrey of Wausau, great-granddaughter: Avery Kaiser of Mosinee, three stepbrothers: Rodney (Patti) of Wausau, Lenny (Allison) and Scott (Karen) Hafeman both of Schofield. Also survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends. Duane is preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and brother Jerry Hafeman.

Services for Duane will be held at 7:00 P.M. Wednesday, December 21 at the Helke Funeral Home, Wausau. Visitation will be held from 4:00 P.M. until the time of services at the funeral home on Wednesday.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Duane’s family that will be designated at a later date. The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at Riverview Health Services for the wonderful care that was given to their father.

Helke Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements

Ronald H. Machel

Ron Machel (80) passed away peacefully on Friday, December 16 at his home in Burnsville, MN, surrounded by his loving family and his lab Brandi. He was born on May 6, 1942 in Wausau, WI to Harold Machel and Mildred (Kiepke) Machel Koenig. He was raised on the family farm in the Town of Maine and later moved to Wausau, where he graduated from Wausau High School in 1960. After high school, he enlisted in the army and was stationed in Washington State during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After honorably discharging, he went to North Central Technical Institute where he trained to be an engineering drafter, and later worked in Milwaukee for a short time as a drafter. In October of 1968 he was married to Bonita Buttke (div), moved to MN, and started a family. They were blessed with four children – Rob, Sara, Heidi, and Holly. Throughout his life, Ron utilized his multiple talents in several career fields working as a General Contractor for his own construction company, Real Estate Agent, and a Building Engineer for Hennepin County, from which he retired in 2005.

Ron worked hard and played hard. He enjoyed a life of spending time with family, traveling, skiing, playing the accordion, golfing, and relaxing at the lake home he built in Harrison Hills, WI. He traveled the world and found extraordinary joy and appreciation in all things German – he often marveled at German engineering and he loved “gemutlicheit,” or good times with family and friends. He cultivated a cross-continental bond by embracing his German friends as family. At home he was an active member of the Germanic American Institute in St. Paul and the Pommerscher Verein Club in Wausau. Ron brought the joy of polka music to many by playing his accordion for family and friends, as well as playing as a strolling accordionist for several German restaurants and events. He was an avid skier and spent many years as a ski patroller on the hills at Afton Alps and traveling to majestic mountains throughout the world with the Ullr Ski Club. He had a kind spirit and was always ready to make a new friend by sharing a joke or a polka. He had many special and meaningful relationships. He loved his family and was a faithful Lutheran. Ron will be dearly missed by his family and friends and will forever remain in our hearts.

Ron is survived by his son and daughters, Rob (Jen) Machel, Sara (Jeff) Beach, Heidi (Kevin) Houck, Holly Machel; grandchildren, Elena and Isabel Machel, Alden and Emma Beach, Adela, Lilian, and Bernadette Houck; sister, Nancy (Paul) Storm Spano; step-brother, Lyle Koenig; and beloved dog Brandi. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Mildred; step-father, Norman Koenig; brother-in-law, Valroy Storm; niece and goddaughter, Lisa Storm; step-brother, Lee Koenig.

Visitation will be held Thursday, December 22, 2022, from 10-11 AM, followed by Funeral Service at 11:00 AM, at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 12650 Johnny Cake Ridge Rd., Apple Valley, MN with a reception to follow. Ron loved telling stories and sharing memories. There will be an opportunity during the service for anyone who wants to share a memory or story about him. Livestream will be provided by McNearney-Schmidt Funeral and Cremation.  


A Celebration of Life and Interment will be held May 6, 2023 in Wausau, WI, with details to follow.

Memorials preferred to Germanic-American Institute, St. Paul, or Pommerscher Verein, Wausau, or Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Apple Valley.

Fern J. Clausen

Fern J. Clausen, age 93, of Schofield, WI, went to her eternal home on Saturday, December 17, 2022, at Cedar Ridge Elder Services while under the care of Aspirus Comfort Care & Hospice Services.  She was born on May 5, 1929, in Merrill, and was the daughter to the late Ralph B. and Elsa L. (Hassel) Duranceau. Fern was baptized into the Christian faith in January of 1930 and confirmed into that faith in June of 1945.  She grew up on the family dairy farm, where she helped with the farm chores and duties. Fern attended school at Jefferson School in the town of Texas and went on to also attend Normal School.  She met the love of her life, Carl Clausen, and the two exchanged marriage vows on September 18, 1948, at St. John Lutheran Church in Merrill.  Sadly, he preceded her in death. 

In her younger years, Fern worked as a CNA at a variety of healthcare facilities, but her true passion was cooking, and she was very proud to be kitchen manager at Wausau East High School for 20 years, and during many summers at Camp Deerhorn in Rhinelander, until her retirement.  Even after retirement, Fern would look forward to cooking for the family gatherings, holidays, and reunions.  Fern would also do some traveling, including trips to Canada, San Francisco, and Arizona.  She enjoyed tending to her gardens and canning vegetables.  Fern was a member of the Merry Makers Birthday Club and Trinity Lutheran Church in Wausau. She was able to go on mission trips to Central America, where the group worked on building homes and repairing an orphanage. Fern is remembered as a woman of unwavering faith, amazingly strong, independent, and very hardworking.  She will be sadly missed by all those that loved her.

Fern is survived by her children: Eunice (Stephen) Mann of Merrill, Paul (Doris) Clausen of Aniwa, Robin (Mark) Bentley of Athens and Craig (Sandra) Clausen of Stevens Point, grandchildren: Tamara (Delmar) Winter of Wausau, Terry (Sarah) Mann of Tomahawk, Heather (Tim) Klimek of Merrill, Colleen (Chris) Sprague of Merrill, John (Teslynne) Clausen of Aniwa, Jordan (Hailey Brewer) Bentley of Aniwa, Tyler Clausen of Madison and Ethan Clausen of Wausau, great grandchildren: Andrew Winter, Macey and Norah Mann, Zachary, Katelyn, Trenton, Kayla and Kimberly Klimek, David, Isabella and Colin Sprague, Paul and Anna Clausen and 2 more soon to arrive, sisters: Marilyn “Mert” Kufahl, Eloise Schultz and Goldie Broeren, brother: Loren (Aracely) Duranceau, sisters-in-law: Carol Duranceau and Virginia Herrera, along with numerous nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents, husband: Carl Clausen, infant son: Keith Clausen and siblings: Vivian Duranceau, Alfred (Gladys) Duranceau, Daryl (Kathleen) Duranceau, Ellen (Edward) Schultz, Arleen (Albert) Kunke, Iris (Clinton) Claussen, Lloyd Duranceau and Jean Duranceau, brothers-in-law: Lawrence Schultz, Jack Broeren and Kenneth Kufahl.

Funeral Services for Fern will be held on Thursday, December 22, 2022, at 11am at Trinity Lutheran Church, 501 Stewart Avenue, Wausau, with a visitation from 10am until the time of the service, also at the church.  Pastor Jim Mayland will officiate.  Visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, from 4pm-8pm at Waid Funeral Home in Merrill. Interment at Merrill Memorial Park Cemetery will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Fern’s name may be directed to the American Cancer Association, The Alzheimer’s Association, or the Trinity Lutheran Church in Wausau.

Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements.  Online condolences are encouraged and may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.

Nola G. Jaecks

Nola G. Jaecks, 86, formerly of Wausau passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, while under the care of Compassus Hospice at her daughter’s Karen’s home in Rhinelander.

She was born November 22, 1936, in Plover, daughter of the late Henry and Esther (Coon) Parks.  On November 5, 1955, she married Ronald Jaecks in Wausau.  He passed away on May 22, 2021.

Nola was a proud homemaker and also held various secretarial positions in the community.  She enjoyed raising her children and had the privilege to help raise her grandsons by providing housing while they attended school and work in the area.  Some of her favorite pastimes included reading, gardening, canning, and baking.  

Nola was a great mentor and listener.  She enjoyed helping others by teaching them how to make do with whatever they already had by substituting items whenever possible.

Survivors include her children: Kay (Jeff) Teal, Tomahawk, Roger (Kyong) Jaecks, Columbus, GA and Karen (Brad) White, Rhinelander; grandchildren:  Brandon (Morgen) Teal, Edgerton, Justin (Annastacia) White, Superior and Colin White, Rhinelander; step-grandchildren: Charles (Wendy) Green, Georgia and Judy Green, Georgia; great-grandchildren:  Cadence, Dorian, Alexander, Aria, Maxton, Reverie and Henry; step great-grandchildren: Casey and Gavin Green, Georgia; her brother: Kylo (Kathy) Parks, Faribault, MN and many nieces and nephews.

Besides her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by her grandson, Matthew Teal and her brothers: Delmer, Harley, and Marlow Parks and sister, Ellowaine Parks.

A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday, January 2, 2023 at the Cornerstone Lutheran Church, 625 Washington St., Wausau.  Visitation will be held from 9:00 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

Curtis J. Low

Curtis J. Low, 73 of Birnamwood, died on December 18, 2022 in the comfort of his home under the care of Aspirus LeRoyer Hospice. Curt was born on May 17, 1949 in Tigerton, the son of Jesse and Adeline Low.

On October 12, 1968, Curt married the love of his life Evelyn Matz at St. Matthews Church in Bowler. Curt graduated from Wittenberg High School and started logging until he went to work for Wick Building Systems for 16 years. In the spring of 1988, Curt and his brother, started Low Bros. Lumber Company in Wittenberg. Curt had a talent and a love for designing and building homes. In his career he built 167 homes until he retired in 2012. Curt and Evie worked as a team to build four duplexes which they rented out. Curt was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Wittenberg.

Curt loved hunting, fishing and shooting pool but mostly he loved spending time with his family. Curt loved woodworking and he was so proud of the cedar hope chests he built for his granddaughters. He loved going daily to have coffee at Trucks with his friends. Curt was the person you called when you needed something because “he knew a guy”.

Curt is survived by his wife, Evelyn, son, Jeff (Nichol) Low, daughter, Teresa (Jeff) Deicher, five grandchildren, Deseray (Husband Nate) McHugh, Nathan Low, Emmalita Low (friend Dustin), Madelyn Deicher, Kristy Deicher (Fiancé Logan), great-grandchildren, Hunter, Theodore, Vincent, two brothers, Ken Low and Kevin (Denise) Low, two sisters, Carolyn Pfefferle and Julie (Jerry) Trebus, one sister-in-law Helen Low, two brother-in-laws, Chet Matz and Gary Spranger, Sr. special friend Samantha Pember and children, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Curt is preceded in death by his parents, two brothers Bob Low and Donald Low (infancy), three sisters, Mary Elizabeth Low (infancy), Sharon Matz and Gail Spranger, one brother-in-law Albert (Doc) Pfefferle and one sister-in-law Nancy Low.

A funeral service will be held at 11AM on Thursday, December 22, 2022 at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Wittenberg. Rev. Sharon Fox Bogen will officiate. Visitation will be from 4PM to 7PM on Wednesday at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg and again on Thursday from 9AM until the time of service at the church.

Curt’s family would like to thank Aspirus LeRoyer Hospice staff for the comforting and wonderful care they provided to Curt and also to his family. Thank you to the Aspirus Hospital and Emergency Room doctors and staff.

Memories and messages of support may be shared at schmidtschulta.com