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

Larry D. Johnson

Larry D. Johnson, 60, of Wausau, passed away unexpectedly Sunday, December 25, 2022. 

Larry was born on February 11, 1962, to David and Gertrude Johnson in Merrill, WI. He was baptized at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Merrill. The Johnson family moved to Wausau in 1965. Larry was confirmed at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and was a 1980 graduate of Wausau West. Larry was united in marriage to Terri Marschall at Trinity Lutheran Church in Wausau on July 26, 1986.  

Larry entered the apprenticeship program and became a journeyman Sheet Metal Worker in 1990. He worked for the union until his retirement in 2014. He was a volunteer firefighter for the Village of Maine for 25 years.  

Larry and his wife purchased his parents’ home in the Village of Maine where they raised their two children. He enjoyed four-wheeler rides in the woods with his dog, Gracie, summers spent camping, and making maple syrup in the spring with family and friends. He was an avid Green Bay Packer fan and enjoyed watching Gunsmoke and Bonanza reruns. Larry was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather who supported his family any way he could. If family or friends needed something, he was always the first one there and willing to help.  

He is survived by his wife, Terri; children, Mitchel (Mackenzie) Johnson, Madeline (Brandon) Smith; grandchildren, Myles and Maizy Johnson and Lincoln Smith; parents, David and Gertrude Johnson; sister, Debra (Robert) Thompson; mother-in-law, Helen Marschall; dog, Gracie and extended family and friends. He is preceded in death by his father-in-law, Clarence Marschall.   

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, January 3, 2023, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Wausau. Visitation will be from 9-11 AM until the service at 11AM. Burial will be at 10AM on January 5, 2023, at Merrill Memorial Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials to Trinity Lutheran Church or Village of Maine Fire Department.  

Shannon Steppert-Benes

Shannon Steppert-Benes, age 41, of Weston, passed away on Friday, December 16, 2022, at Marshfield Medical Center in Weston, WI. 

She was born in Wausau on June 15, 1981, daughter of Scot and Vicki (Sillars) Steppert.  Shannon had a great love of nature and enjoyed camping and swimming.  She was a Pagan and practicing Wiccan. From the time she was a small girl, she always loved fairies. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends. 

She is survived by her mother, Vicki Steppert of Weston; child, Silver Steppert of Weston; two sons, Devlin and Charles James Benes, both of Wausau; three grandchildren, Hope, Nova and Sage plus one more “on the way”; her brother, Mike Steppert of Weston, and special friend, Veronica Leonard and her son Anthony of Wittenberg. 

She was preceded in death by her father, Scot Steppert, and maternal grandparents, Arlene and Chuck Sillars. 

Private services have been held.  Brainard Funeral Home Wausau Chapel assisted the family with arrangements. 

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

Lynn M. LaPorte

Our dearly beloved Lynn M. LaPorte, age 74, left us way too soon on Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at Mount View Care Center in Wausau. 

Lynn was born on June 3, 1948 to Loren and Marjorie (Hunt) LaPorte.  She graduated from D.C. Everest High School and went on to get her master’s degree in Physical Education from UW LaCrosse.  She taught Physical Education for 36 years at West Bend East High School.  Lynn was a pioneer in the creation of girl’s interscholastic athletic competition.  She began her coaching in girl’s softball and basketball but found her true calling and was instrumental in developing the girl’s volleyball program.  She led her teams to ten conference championships, 9 WIAA state tournament apperances, of which included 3 state championships in 1983, 1993 and 1995.  In 2012, she was inducted into the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame.  The friendship and well being of young people was always dear to her heart.

Her family was always the most important thing to her, she loved us deeply and was generous to a fault.  She was deeply devoted and loyal to her many friends and brought laughter with her everywhere.  Her other loves were her feline roomies Tre, Desi and Luci.  Lynn was passionate about traveling and made trips all around the world.

Lynn is lovingly survived by her father, Loren LaPorte of Rothschild; siblings Mary (Kent) Luedtke of Neillsville, Bruce (Shelley) LaPorte of Rothschild; and Scott LaPorte of Neenah; nieces and nephews Kim (Scott) Swita, Ryan (Brooke) Luedtke and Greg Luedtke and Larissa (Doug) Rebhahn, Dustin (Teresa) LaPorte and Alaina LaPorte; 12 great nieces and nephews and many wonderful relatives and friends. 

Funeral Service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, January 7, 2022 at St. Mark Catholic Church, 602 Military Rd, Rothschild.  The Rev. Al Slowiak will officiate.  The service will be available via livestream on Lynn’s obituary page at www.brainardfuneral.com. Visitation will be held from 9:30 AM until the time of service at the church on Saturday.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family to establish an athletic scholarship in Lynn’s name.

Rest in Peace good and gentle soul

William R. Melanson

William R. “Bill” Melanson, 83, of Wausau passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family. 

Bill was born on October 27, 1939 in Wausau, son of the late William and Vesta (Gleis) Melanson. Bill graduated from Wausau High School class of 1958. He was united in marriage to Lorraine Krohn on September 1, 1962 at Our Saviors Lutheran Church. Bill and Lorraine recently celebrated 60 years of marriage. 

Early in Bill’s career he worked for the Marathon County Sheriffs Department. Bill was also a part time Game Warden serving for 37 years. He was also a truck driver in the Wausau area. In his earlier days he enjoyed playing hockey and softball. 

Bill purchased Keeper Tackle in 1980, which he operated out of his basement spending many hours making fishing tackle. He spent many days on the water as a fishing guide for Keeper Tackle Guide Service. Bill shared his passion of fishing with his family, friends, and clients. He was a member of Bill’s Musky Club and the 12 Apostles Musky Club. 

Bill enjoyed his time at the cottage with family and friends, where he continued to share his passion for hunting and trapping. Bill had an infectious smile and loved to share stories. 

Bill’s legacy for the outdoors will continue on through his grandson Alex along with many others that he greatly impacted. 

He is survived by his wife of 60 years Lorraine and their children: Roy (Kelly) Melanson, Brenda (Cary) Pellowski. Two grandsons: Alex Pellowski and Ken (Kou) Kroeplin along with great grandchildren: Amelia and Elizabeth Kroeplin. Bill is also survived by numerous extended family and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, along with two sisters: Mary Lewitzke and Birdie Michalski. 

Visitation will be held on Friday, December 30th from 9 AM – 11 AM at Brainard Funeral Home, 522 Adams Street, Wausau. A funeral service will follow at 11 AM in the funeral home with Pastor Jeff Mahnke officiating. Burial will be in Stettin Christian Cemetery. Bill was not a “get dressed up kinda guy” so please feel free to come casual or wear your hunting attire. 

Bill’s family wishes to thank Aspirus Hospice Comfort Care for the wonderful care given to him in his final days. 

Wanda Bergmann

Wanda “Full Throttle” Bergmann (as co-workers would call her) enjoyed an active life.

Her biggest accomplishment in life was having her daughters, Michelle and Danielle.  They were her queens (both Marathon Fun Days queens), and Wanda always encouraged them that there wasn’t anything they couldn’t do in life.

She married her best friend, Lee Bergmann in 1991, he taught her how to bow hunt (which she became obsessed with) and secondly he and she would compete fishing together.

Her favorite place was at their cabin. Lee and Wanda built their dream sanctuary “Hermitville” and in 2020 had their pond dug right off the lawn making it her church for prayer.  There is no better place to be than at the cabin sitting on the glider on the porch watching the abundance of wildlife. It was heaven on earth.  

Wanda loved her five siblings, Joni Filipiak, Gordon Weiler, Paul Weiler, Gerald Weiler and Jenny Nowak.

Wanda felt peace joining her dad Eugene Weiler and good friend Bill Lemmer up with our heavenly father.

A celebration of life will be at Hermitville for immediate family and friends.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com

Thomas F. Burke II

Thomas F. “Tom” Burke II, 77, Edgar died Thursday, December 22, 2022, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

He was born December 9, 1945, in Richland Center, son of the late Thomas and Marie (Nicks) Burke. Tom married the love of his life, Jean Sonnentag on September 3, 1966, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Edgar.

Tom worked at Marathon Cheese for 34 years first as a truck driver and was well known as “The Blue Goose” and retired from the maintenance department. Tom took much pride in maintaining the Edgar cemetery for more than 31 years. A great listener, Tom would help anyone who needed it. His smile was contagious, and he had the most positive outlook on life.

Tom always greeted people with a firm handshake, a hug or even a kiss.

Some of his favorite pastimes included watching the Brewers, Bucks, Packers and the Edgar Wildcats. Tom loved to support his grandchildren at all their school events. He enjoyed deer hunting with his brother-in-law Jerry and his nephews the Michlig Boys. He enjoyed camping with family and friends and attending and participating in antique tractor pulls.

Tom was a veteran of the United States Army in the 611th Ordnance during the Vietnam war. He was proud to have taken a trip on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight this past year. Tom was a respected member of the Edgar VFW post 10187. He was dedicated to raising the flag at the local football games and being a part of the military guard in the local parades. Participating in military honors at many events, Tom also volunteered his time on countless occasions.

He was an usher and a eucharistic minister for his church. Tom fried fish for the Lenten fish fries and in the summers cooked burgers at the church’s hamburger stand.

Tom was a thoughtful and caring soul that always put others before himself. He was a devoted and dedicated husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend to many. He leaves behind many who loved him and whose lives were enriched by knowing him. Always upbeat no matter what kind of day he was having, Tom will long be remembered for his outgoing personality and cheery disposition.  

Survivors include his loving wife, Jean Burke, Edgar, his children, Thomas (Heather Duesselmann) Burke III, Rib Mountain, Joseph (Tiffany) Burke, Edgar and Amanda (Nathan) Albrecht, Edgar, 10 grandchildren, Isabella D’Burke (Tyler Hudson), William D’Burke, Brody, Rachel Ann and McKinley Burke and Taylor, Halle, Parker, Marshall and Evelyn Albrecht, his siblings, Mary Drexler, Stratford, His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, Rome, brother-in-law Charles Louis and numerous nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Rachel Burke, his brothers, Patrick and John (Ann) Burke, his sister, Rita Louis, his nephew, Marlin Sonnentag, his mother and father in-law Lillian and Jerome Sonnentag and his brothers-in-law, James Drexler, Leo Michig and Gary Brusky.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday January 3, 2023, at St. John Catholic Church, Edgar. His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke will preside. Burial will be in the parish cemetery with military honors. Visitation will be held on Monday from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and again on Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the funeral mass all at the church. There will be a parish rosary service at 8:00 p.m. Monday evening at the church. Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Edgar is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com

John M. Bant

On Christmas Day, 2022, John Bant went to his heavenly home to be with the Lord. John was born on February 7, 1941, in Evergreen Park, Illinois to John and Margaret (Pesko) Bant. His family moved to Prentice in 1946, where John grew up. He graduated from Prentice High School in 1959 and immediately joined the United States Army, proudly serving his country in Korea until 1962. After the service, he moved to Chicago, before moving back to Wisconsin in 1964 where he worked road construction and logging. In 1967, he moved to Eau Claire and enrolled in college.

On September 7, 1968, he married the love of his life Margaret (Peggy) Guzinski at St. John’s Catholic Church in Prentice, WI. Their marriage was blessed with two children, Barbara and Michael. 

After graduating from UW – Eau Claire in 1971 with a degree in accounting, he began a career with the Bertelson Company (now Wipfli) in Eau Claire. In 1974, John and Peggy moved to Wausau and joined St. Matthew’s Catholic Church where John served on various committees. John began working at Midstate Contracting and then in 1984, John was one of three principals that formed a new mechanical contracting company, Mechanical Incorporated located in Tomahawk, WI where he worked until his retirement in August 2000.

Above anything else, John’s favorite thing to do was to be with Peggy, their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren spending time together. From time spent tilling up land and planting fields on his tractor at their cabin, to thousands of games of cribbage, golfing and getting a hole-in-one, to hunting and fishing, John shared his love of family with all of them. John and Peggy spent many years visiting warmer climates and historical sites throughout the United States, taking along their children and grandchildren. In 2019, John was able to go on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight with his son Michael as his chaperone.

John is survived by his beloved wife Peggy and their children: Barbara (Michael) Brown and Michael (Jacquelyn) Bant. Three grandchildren Megan (Matthew) Dahlquist, Bryan (Kazia) Rehwinkel and John Bant, along with two great grandchildren, Kynslei Koehler-Dahlquist and Beckett Dahlquist. He is further survived by his brother Thomas Bant, a brother-in-law, sisters-in-law and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Marge, his brothers James and Robert and his sister, Nancy Altman.

The family would like to thank the nurses, CNA’s and doctors at Aspirus IMC unit for their compassionate and outstanding care that John received.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 31, 2022, at St. Matthew Catholic Church, Wausau.  The Rev. Sebastian Kolodziejczyk will preside.  Burial will be in the Prentice Cemetery at a later date.  Visitation will be held on Saturday 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

Charlotte Siekierzynski

Charlotte Siekierzynski, 83, of Hatley passed away on December 20, 2022.

She was born March 7, 1939, to the late Frank and Esther (Steinbach) Kurth. She is survived by her daughter, Kay (Tom) Sulzer, grandsons, Benjamin, Zachery and Alexander Sulzer, and sister Agnes Pliske. She was preceded in death by her sisters Frieda Hoeppner and Alvina Schreier.

She married Edwin Siekierzynski on September 26, 1964. Together they owned and operated a gravel quarry in the town of Reid. Charlotte enjoyed gardening, reading and listening to polka music.

Services will be held at John J. Buettgen Funeral Home on Thursday, December 29, 2022.  Friends and family may gather from 4:00 p.m. until the time of service at 6:30 p.m.

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

Philip J. Gorski

Philip J. Gorski, 93 passed away on December 27, 2022. He was born on August 31, 1929, to Peter and Mary Gorski. He married Violet Gorski, who predeceased him in November of 2020, after 67 years together.

Philip retired from Marathon Electric after 40 years of service. He enjoyed watching the Brewers and Packers

He is survived by his 4 children, Brenda Dalbec, Wausau, Cheryl Zimmerman, Green Bay, Kevin (Barb) Gorski, Felton , DE, and Keith Gorski, Wausau. Also sister Phyllis Kasprak, in-laws Mary Ann Landowski, Shirley (George) Gorski, Carol (Errol) Kapellusch and Jerry Grulkoski. Also surviving are 5 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife Violet, brothers Daniel (Violet) Gorski, Raymond (Georgianna) Gorski, sisters Rita (Ray) Gross and Sister Mary Francelma.

Mid Wisconsin Cremation Society is assisting family at this time.  Online condolences may be expressed at MWCS.WS

Cecilia D. Tushkowski

Cecilia D. Tushkowski, 94, formerly of Galloway, died on Monday, December 26, 2022, at Edgewater Haven in Port Edwards.

Cecilia was born on November 4, 1928, in Marathon City. The daughter of Peter and Emma (Garski) Gruna.

On April 26, 1947, Cecilia was united in marriage to Edwin Tushkowski in Fancher. He preceded her in death on July 28, 1998.

Cecilia worked as a cook for the Galloway and Elderon Elementary Schools and retired from the Wittenberg Elementary School. She enjoyed cake decorating, knitting, sewing and was a wonderful cook. Faith was a very important part of Cecilia’s life. She was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church where she was in the choir and taught catechism.

Cecilia is survived by two sons, Michael (Betsy) Tushkowski and Tony (Renae) Tushkowski; eight grandchildren, Brandon (Katie) Tushkowski, Ian (Julie) Tushkowski, Sarah (Denny) Dumont, Cindy (Jacob) Thompson, Jessi Jacobitz, Mitchell (Nina) Rebarchek, Tyler Tush (Julie Bako) , and Quinn Tushkowski; 15 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.

Cecilia was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; one son, Thomas and one sister and brother-in-law, Gertie (Jim) Augustino.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1 PM on Friday, December 30, 2022, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Galloway. Rev. Thomas Nirappel will officiate. Burial will be in the parish cemetery. Visitation will be on Friday, from 11 AM until the time of Mass at the church.

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