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

Richard A. Diestler

Mr. Richard Allen Diestler, age 85, passed away on December 16, 2022 surrounded by his family.

Richard was born in Birnamwood, WI to Arnold and Edna Diestler. Richard married the love of his life, Dolores Swanson, on August 8th, 1959 in Birnamwood, WI and they shared 63 beautiful years together.

He was preceded in death by Arnold Diestler (Father), Edna Diestler (Mother), Marjorie, Lois, and Ann (sisters), and Roger (brother). 

He is survived by his devoted and loving wife; two children, Beverly (William) Champine of Shawano, Wis., Bonnie (Daniel) Langhoff of Merrill, Wis.; five grandchildren, Sasha (Blake) Everett, Mariah, Nikiya, Tanner, and Alyssa Kopp; two great-grandchildren, Ezekiel and Daxon Everett; one brother, Bobby (Jan) Diestler; one brother-in-law, Weldon Swanson; and Susan (niece) and Ron (cousin) Goodman. 

Visitation will be held on Friday, December 23rd from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Mount` Olive Lutheran Church in Weston. Services for Mr. Diestler will begin at 12 p.m. with Pastor Mike Fox officiating. A luncheon will be served following the service.

Richard proudly served in the United States Air Force from 1954-1958. He told many proud stories of his time serving our country but his favorite was how he met Dolores in 1957 when he was on furlough. After starting a family, he began his apprenticeship and went on to excel in his career as an electrician. 

In his later years, he spent his time as a NASCAR racing fan and restoring two Chevy trucks. He won over 100 trophies at car shows across the state. He read his Bible every night and loved attending his church. He also loved music especially listening to the banjo.

Richard was hard-working and would help anyone in need. There was nothing he couldn’t fix and no one he wouldn’t help. And for all his varied and numerous accomplishments, he always considered his family to be his greatest achievement.

He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Whether he was attending a pageant or sporting event, he loved being a dad, grandpa and great-grandpa. And he looked for any chance to have a party! Richard and Dolores are known for their fabulous anniversary parties. And Richard was always the first one ready to open his presents on Christmas Eve! 

Richard would call his closest family members on their birthday and would always tell them, “Have a perfect day.” Well our wish as your family is that every single day in Heaven is absolutely perfect. We love you and will miss you every day! Until we meet again…

Wendy S. Gregory

Wendy Sue Gregory, age 51, passed away Saturday December 10,2022, after a courageous battle with Cancer with her family by her side. She was born on October 9, 1971 and was the daughter of the late Gayle Koszarek and Michael Bailey. Wendy married Keith Gregory July 21, 2007.

Wendy lived life through the simple pleasures; chatting with friends and family, staying up on the latest glamour and fashion trends, spending time in Antigo with her family, she loved the outdoors and the many family dogs they had especially her beloved Shadow. The Dells was a favorite family trip with the kids every year. The water parks were treasured family time. Wendy also had a knack for caring for people. For 10+ years she worked for the VNA of Wausau before transitioning into private home care in the Wausau community. She also managed the family pool business for many years.

Wendy is survived by her husband Keith Gregory, son Matthew Spencer, daughters Zoey Gregory and Ava Gregory all of Wausau ; Three sisters Michelle (James) Wanca of Antigo, Amy Koszarek of Antigo, Kim (Richard) Hurlbert of Antigo ; One brother William (Michele) Bailey of Merrill ; Brother-in-laws Todd (Kim) Gregory of Greenville, Mike (Pam) Gregory of Kronenwetter and one Sister-in-law Colette Gregory of Rothschild; 16 nieces and nephews, Nathan Bailey, Beth Martzahl, Brandon Wanca, Ryan Wanca, Logan Wanca, Brianna Wanca, Kennedy Colby, Kale Siegman, Cierra Hurlbert, Edan Hurlbert, Reed Hurlbert, Gavin Gregory, Lorin Gregory, Travis Gregory, Tara Gregory and Marissa (Colin) Helke.

A funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday December 27, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at St Therese Catholic Church Rothschild WI. Visitation will be held from 9:30 a.m. until the time of Mass at 11:00 a.m.

John J. Buettgen Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.  Online condolences may be expressed at HonorOne.com

Robert Emmes

Robert “Bobby” Emmes, 73, of Weston, passed away on Monday, December 19, 2022 at Marshfield Medical Center-Weston.

He was born on April 3, 1949, to the late Helen (Erwin) Emmes in Wisconsin Rapids.  Bobby grew up in Wisconsin Rapids and graduated in 1967 from Lincoln High School.  He served in the U.S. Army and the reserves.  After his military service, he attended Northcentral Technical College earning a degree in residential design.   Later in life he moved to Wausau and in 2006 married Gayle Fust in a beautiful backyard ceremony at their Weston home.  He worked as a sales representative and driver for AGA Gas, Inc. and had other career interests from which he retired in 2009.

Bobby enjoyed his Harley (Mariah) and was an avid rider with his wife, Gayle.  They would frequently take road trips across the state with friends.  He loved his John Deere tractor and was highly known for his immaculate yard.  It was not unusual to see him on his hands and knees picking weeds and touching up the grass.  He was also a fan of wrestling, especially the Lincoln High wrestling team, the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Badgers, and NASCAR.  Bobby was a shot glass collector and had over 200 in his collection.  Most of all, he loved his granddaughters.  He would find any reason to come down and spend time with them, would often wrestle with them, and took them on many fun-filled adventures. He always enjoyed watching them dance in recitals.

Survivors include his wife, Gayle; daughter, Kara Volz; granddaughters, Lauren and Lilly; stepdaughters, Connie Gleason and Dawn (Jim) Steiner; sister, Pat Lauermann; he enjoyed a special bond with nieces, Amy (Bob) Umland and Pam (John) Schneider; nephews, Scott Trull and Joshua Lauermann, numerous great-nieces, nephews, and step-grandchildren;  Betsy Emmes; and his dog, Maggie Sue.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Helen Emmes; and beloved dog, Gabby.

Private family services will take place at a later date.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com.

Darlene J. Apfelbeck

Darlene “Cookie” Jean Apfelbeck, 81, of Kronenwetter passed away at Aspirus Wausau hospital surrounded by her family on December 17, 2022. She was born to Leo and Margaret (Zweiffel) Spatz on 06/30/1941.

She is survived by her loving husband Robert Apfelbeck, two sons, Clayton (Karen) Apfelbeck of Kronenwetter, Daniel (Vicki) Apfelbeck of Kronenwetter, five brothers Donald (Jane) Spatz of Kronenwetter, Ronald (Rosemary) Spatz of Phillips, Richard (Patti) Spatz of Weston, Jerome (Corrine) Spatz of Kronenwetter, Kenneth (Lori) Spatz of Ringle, five sisters, Jean (Don) Steckbauer of Wausau, Susan (Larry) Stoltz of Kronenwetter, Sandra (Leonard) Knight of Rib Mountain, Cindy Spatz of Kronenwetter, Debra (Michael) King of Mosinee, Sister in law Linda (Glen) Spatz of Wausau, grandson, C.J. Apfelbeck, granddaughters Aaron (Dan) Desnoyer, and Dr. Taylor Apfelbeck (Alex Nguyen).

She is preceded in death by three brothers William Spatz, Allan Spatz, Glen Spatz, two sisters Kathleen Spatz (infant) and Karen (Roy) Hotchkiss.

Cookie had many interests throughout her life. She loved to do needle work, creating projects with plastic canvas, crafting, and growing plants. She spent many hours in her wood working shop where she loved to create handmade gifts for family and friends. Her and Bob loved to ride snowmobiles, go camping, and travel. She especially loved the upper peninsula of Michigan, Florida, and 2 family trips out west, visiting Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Zion Canyon just to name a few places. She also helped extensively in the family business, doing the accounting and even drove truck and operated front end loader. Her family is going to miss her traveling pan of cookies on special occasions.

She found fulfillment in taking care of her family and the home that she loved so much. She also enjoyed helping family and friends with child care.

Services will be held at John J. Buettgen Funeral Home on Wednesday, December 28, 2022. Friends and family may gather from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service at 11:00 a.m. Burial will follow at Gate of Heaven.

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

Ruby V. Wildberg

Ruby Vivian Wildberg, 95, of Ogema passed away peacefully with her loving family surrounding her on December 7, 2022. She was born on March 28, 1927, to the late Oscar and Selma (Bergeson) Swan.

She is survived by her three loving sons; Bradley (Kristin) Wildberg, Mark (Pamala) Wildberg, Scott (Amy) Wildberg, 8 grandchildren; Sarah Cullen, Annie (Matt) Mickelson, Erin Wildberg, Nikole (Ryan) Foster, Macy (Nick) Erickson, Heidi (Aaron)

Leiby, Logan (Bailey Holm) Wildberg, Lindsey Wildberg, 6 great grandchildren; Cruz, Chase, Dylan, Beckam, Sutton, Riley, brother Oscar Swan and many nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her husband Dale Wildberg, daughter Sonya, granddaughter Mindy and 10 brothers and sisters. 

Ruby and Dale married on December 17, 1951, in Medford. They built their family home and worked the land farming and raising dairy cattle. Ruby loved her family and being surrounded by her grandchildren. Friends were always welcome for a visit and coffee. She was a faithful member of Ogema Baptist church from her Baptism in 1946 to present day.

Services will be held at the Ogema Baptist Church on January 7, 2023, with family and friends gathering at 10 a.m. and service at 11:00 followed by a luncheon.

Mid Wisconsin Cremation Society is assisting family at this time. Online

condolences may be expressed at MWCS.WS

Johnny J. Edwards

Johnny J. Edwards, 58 of Aniwa, died unexpectedly on Friday, December 16, 2022.

Johnny was born on July 7, 1964, in Antigo, the son of George and Bridgette (Ullman) Edwards.

In 1989, Johnny was united in marriage to Evelyn Stearns in Haines, AK. The two later got divorced.

Johnny worked as a mechanic at Smitty’s Garage in Alaska. While in Alaska he was also a commercial fisherman for several years. Johnny loved being out on the water with fishing being his favorite. He could always be found working on things and making them run again.

Johnny is survived by his children, Shaila Poole, Christopher Stearns, Daniel Perreault, Suzuki Edwards, Haylee Edwards and Elvis Wool; several grandchildren; mother, Bridgette; 10 siblings, Lila Ourada, Cindy (Abe) Walrath, Eric (Paula) Berg, Georgianne (Rick) Rickert, David (Joanne) Edwards, Julia (Steve) Stahel, Chris (Linda) Berg, Tina Kurz, Ricky (Tara) Edwards and Ruby (Frank) Stallings; ex-wife, Evelyn; dog, Scrappy, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, family and friends.

Johnny was preceded in death by his father; step-father, Robert Berg; brother, George and brothers-in- law, Tom Ourada and Jay Kurz.

No services will be held.

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

Rita A. Bessette

Rita Anne Bessette, 44 of Schofield, died on Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at Marshfield Medical Center, Weston.

Rita was born on October 28, 1978, in Wausau, the daughter of Bradley and Ruth (Schara) Bessette.

Rita went to Northcentral Technical College, to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, where she graduated in 1999. She worked as a CNA at Lake Aire Manor, in Norrie, for many years. Rita loved singing karaoke, swimming and going to concerts. She enjoyed making trips to the casino and she seemed to always come out ahead. Her favorite time was spent with family and friends. Rita will be remembered as being the life of the party.

Rita is survived by her mother, Ruth; siblings, Renee (Stephan) Robertson, Robert Bessette, Brett Bessette and Colleen Bessette; eight nieces and nephews, William (Melissa) Bessette, Travis Ploeger, Jason Ploeger, Stephanie Robertson, Juanita Dublin, Dante Dublin, Mandylynn Dublin and Feona Dublin; three great nieces and nephews, Logan Bessette, Emily Bessette and Elijah Richland; chosen sister, Becky DeHart and her three children, Leeland, Jase and Jordan High, who Rita treated as her own; fur baby, Chico, along with aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Rita was preceded in death by her father, Bradley.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

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