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

George D. Klinker

George Dennis Klinker, age 90, of Wausau, WI passed away on Saturday February 25, 2023 at Aspirus Hospital with family by his side.

George was born at home on August 16, 1932 to George and Mary (Kennedy) Klinker in New Lisbon, WI. After George graduated from New Lisbon High School in 1950 he joined the army where he became a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division during the Korean War. When his service in the Army was over, he attended UW-LaCrosse. After graduating with a degree in Elementary Education he furthered his studies at UW-Milwaukee in Elementary Administration. He started his career in the Wausau School District as an Elementary Principal at Maine School where he stayed for 32 years. During the later years he was also Principal at Berlin School. One of the things at Maine School that he was proud of was the development of the George Klinker Nature Trail.

In August of 1956 George married his high school sweetheart, Mary Anne Thompson. George and Mary Anne went on to have three daughters: Karen, Christine and Ruth Anne.

In 1992 George retired and spent his time hunting, fishing, caring for his pond and trails he made in his woods, and spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

George was preceded in death by his parents, stepmother Avis Ristow Klinker, siblings: Mary Jean Walworth, Keith Klinker, Dorothy Honish, and nephews: Kurt and Robert Klinker.

George is survived by his wife of 67 years. His children: Karen (Mark) Saxon, Christine (David) Krautkramer, and Ruth Anne Riehle.  Grandchildren; Daniel Saxon, Stephanie Saxon, Jessica (Ryan) Scott, Keri Jo (Erik) Messick, Jared (Bethany) Seubert, Brandon (fiancé Katrina Goestch) Riehle, Brett (fiancé Brenna Spoehr) Riehle, and Brittney Riehle. Great-Grandchildren; Aslyn and Krayton Scott, Kiera and Ariel Messick, Tyla Beilke-Seubert, Kali and Lakelyn Seubert, and many nieces and nephews. Step-siblings: Jerry (Jill) Ristow, Eileen Steckling. Step-Grandchildren; Kimberly (Brian) Van Hoof, Nathan (Monica) Krautkramer, Joshua (Jamie) Krautkramer, Trisha (Ricky) Volm. Step-Great-Grandchildren; Brandin, Blaze and Kara Van Hoof, Logan, Brayden, Kolten and Reid Krautkramer, Emma and Addyson Krautkramer, Carli and Cooper Volm.

Funeral Service will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 630 Adams Street, Wausau on Thursday March 9, 2023 at 11:00am with visitation starting at 9:30am. Burial will take place Friday March 10, 2023 at 11:00am in New Lisbon, WI at Brewster cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to Marathon County Humane Society or St Jude, organizations George felt strongly about.

The Family would like to thank Aspirus Palliative Care for their kindness and compassion.

George lived a full and happy life. May he rest in peace.

Karen R. Winter

Karen R. Winter, 72, of Wausau, beloved wife of the late Terry Winter, passed into Eternal Life on February 10, 2023. 

She was born April 12, 1950 to Marvin and Beverly (Miller) Schmidt in Beaver Dam, WI. On July 7, 2007 she married Terry Winter who preceded her in death in 2021. Karen enjoyed camping, spending time with her friends and family, as well as her dog Teddy.

She is survived by her children: Terry Schmidt, Logan Trautman, Becki Winter, Kati (Jeff) Gress, Cheri (Chris) Ress, Ami Johnson, Leah Koskey. She is also survived by her brothers: Robert Schmidt, Lloyd (Lori) Schmidt, and a sister, Ellen (Jack) McDonald. Karen also leaves her grandchildren: Jacob, William and Owen Ress, Matthew and Makayla Gress, Carli Johnson, Elsie and Maysie Winter Sienko, Dustyn Schmidt, Alex Salisbury, Logan and Connor Trautman. Karen is preceded in death by a brother, Jeff Schmidt, and daughter Traci Salisbury. 

Visitation will be held on, Friday, March 3, 2023 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 600 Stevens Drive, Wausua from 1 PM – 3 PM with a service to follow at 3 PM at the church. Helke Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. 

Edward D. Shulta

Edward D. Shulta, 91, of 705 Schmidt Avenue in Rothschild passed away February 28,  2023 at home with his family at his side. 

Edward was born January 31, 1932 in Wausau, WI to Alex and Celia (Barnish) Shulta.  He graduated from Wausau High School in 1951, where he’d played football and basketball for the legendary Win Brockmeyer, whose influence he would remember..  After high school he traveled while working for his brother Leonard who ran a steeplejack and masonry restoration business.   In 1953 he was drafted into the Army and was assigned as a cook.  He later became a mess Sergeant and served at Camp Kit Carson in Colorado Springs and at Fort Knox in Kentucky.  While home on leave in 1954 he was introduced to Ethel Weber by a mutual friend at Colonial Ballroom.  They married on September 15, 1956, and soon settled in Rothschild where Ed had started working at the paper mill.   In those days paperworkers worked 6 hour shifts, seven days straight, so Ed used his “spare time” to develop carpentry skills working alongside his father-in-law, John Weber.  In 1959 he completed the first of several family homes he would build in Rothschild where he and Ethel welcomed a son, Steven in 1960.   He built a second Rothschild home in 1965 and there they welcomed a daughter, Kay in 1966.   Never one to remain idle for very long, Ed would later build a house in Wausau,  another family home in Rothschild, a 4 unit apartment in Weston and a cottage at Star Lake in Vilas County where he and his family enjoyed frequent visits following his retirement from the paper mill after 42 years.   Always the true outdoorsman, he enjoyed fishing in all seasons, foraging to pick wild berries, making maple syrup every March, making firewood or just tirelessly attending to seasonal yard work.   Ed lived a simple but very exemplary life and he will be dearly missed.

Ed is survived by his spouse of 67 years, Ethel Shulta, son Steven (Kathy) Shulta of Janesville, WI, daughter Kay (Gary) Scott of Syracuse, NY, two grandsons, John (Brooke) Shulta of Cuba City, WI and David Shulta of Appleton WI, three grandaughters, Megan Scott, of Binghamton, NY, Molly Scott and Madeline Scott, both of Syracuse, NY, two sisters-in law, Nora Shulta of Schofield and Charlotte Traeger of Wausau plus numerous nieces and nephews.  

 Beside his parents, Ed was preceded by brothers, Leonard (Nora), Fabian (Verna) and Sylvester and sister Marge (Gene) Torzewski and sister-in-law Marion (David) Traska.  

Funeral Mass will be held at 11:30 AM on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 followed by burial at Restlawn Cemetery.   Visitation will be held from 9:30 AM until the time of Mass. Mass will be livestreamed and available on Ed’s obituary page at www.helke.com

The family would like to sincerely thank the many home visitors and caregivers for Ed over his final months, especially Elsie who endeared herself to Ed and Ethel with faithful weekly visits and wonderful cooking.  We’d also like to thank the very dedicated and compassionate home health and hospice teams at Interim and TLC.

Elaine E. Mueller

Elaine E. Mueller, Wausau, entered eternal life on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at Renaissance Assisted Living at age 96. She was born February 25, 1927 in Wausau, the daughter of John W. and Rose M. (Kroehn) Eschenbach.

She was Baptized, Confirmed, and educated at Zion Lutheran Church and School in Wausau. After graduating from Wausau High School in 1944 she worked for the U.S. War Production Board (Ration Board) until the end of WWII and then for the Boy Scouts of America. 

On May 13, 1950, she married Lloyd M. Mueller at Zion Lutheran Church.

Her Lutheran faith was uppermost in her life. She was a member of Zion Lutheran Church for over 80 years, during which time she volunteered in various capacities such as the church Cradle Roll, school library, church choir, Ladies Aid, Strassenfest and as a Cub Scout Den Mother.

For over 60 years Elaine enjoyed corresponding with her pen-pal, Tom Mussen, in Wakefield, England writing letters and sharing articles of interest. She was able to meet Tom and his wife in person on two occasions, once in the States and also in England. Elaine very much enjoyed traveling with her husband Lloyd, gardening, riding her bike (until age 79), and being a member of the YMCA for 53 years. She enjoyed being with her family at swim/gym nights and then later, swimming laps and participating in water exercise. She often mentioned how her “Y friends” were instrumental in her life.

Elaine held deep friendships with the women who started the “sewing club” in the 1960’s. There were also other special friends who helped and supported her over the past several years.

Elaine was a devoted wife and mother who loved and supported her family. She will be deeply missed and will remain in her family’s hearts always. She is survived by three sons, Thomas (Boone, NC); John (Heide, Onalaska, WI); Richard (Twin Cities); two grandsons, Joe (Onalaska, WI) and David (Wautoma, WI).

She was preceded in death by her parents and husband.

Funeral services will be at 1:00 P.M. on Monday, March 6, 2023 in the chapel at Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Wausau. Reverend Steven. K. Gjerde will officiate. Visitation will be from 12:00 Noon until the time of service at 1:00 P.M. Entombment will be at Restlawn Memorial Park Mausoleum. You may sign our family guestbook at www.Helke.com.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the caring and compassion staff at Renaissance Assisted Living.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Zion Lutheran Church in Wausau.

Darlene Gutknecht

Darlene Gutknecht, 92, of Wausau, passed away on Sunday, February 26, 2023 at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

She was born March 30, 1930 in the town of Rib Falls to the late Paul and Lydia (Felbaum) Graveen. She met her future husband Milton Gutknecht while they attended grade school together in the town of Rib Falls. They married at Salem Lutheran Church in the town of Hamburg on September 15, 1951 and had celebrated over 57 years of marriage at the time Milton passed. She cooked and waitressed for several years at the Labor Temple. Darlene was an active member and volunteer at Trinity Lutheran Church where she served on the Altar Guild, belonged to the 55+ Club and the quilting club. Darlene enjoyed collecting- especially plates, bells, birds, and baskets.

Survivors include her son, Jeff (Cheryl) Gutknecht of Wausau; daughter, Jackie (Dan) Schultz of Weston; grandson, Tim (Amy) Gutknecht of Wausau; granddaughter, Gloria (Scott) Brandt of Berlin; great grandchildren, Greyson, Berkeley, Courtney (Josh), Jarrett, and Devon (Megan); great great grandchildren Sophia, Ella, and Clara; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Darlene was preceded in death by her husband, Milton; parents, Paul and Lydia; one brother; and two sisters.

Funeral services will be at 11:00 am on Saturday, March 4, 2023, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Wausau. Visitation will be from 9:00 am until the time of services at the church. Reverend James Mayland will officiate. Burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery on Monday, March 6 at 10:00 am.

We would like to thank Lyn Hieronimus and Lisa Nowack for all their time and kindness in the comforting care they gave our mom.

Joyce Ann Kreft

Joyce Ann Kreft

December 20, 1941 – February 26, 2023

Joyce Ann Kreft of Athens, WI, left this world so very peacefully on Sunday afternoon, February 26, 2023, at age 81 with nieces and nephews by her side at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

Joyce Ann was born December 20, 1941, at her family’s farmhouse near Athens in the Town of Bern, the daughter of Cyril and Catherine (Schmidt) Kreft. She was the youngest child in a family of five children, arriving as a welcome surprise to her much older siblings.

Joyce Ann attended St. Anthony Grade School. She graduated from Athens High School in 1959. 

Immediately following graduation, she left for Lincolnwood, IL (suburb of Chicago) where she would live and work with the family of Dave and Pat Biasco until her retirement in 2015. “Joyce” was the loving and caring Mother’s Helper for a family of ten children, continuing to live with Mr. and Mrs. Biasco as empty nesters in Glenview, IL, and doting “Joycie” to their grandchildren. She was blessed to enjoy and love them as a dear and cherished second family as they did her.

Joyce Ann returned for a vacation in Athens, annually, in September to visit her family and the growing generations of nieces and nephews. Through the years many family members and Biasco family members received a beautifully detailed, hand stitched Christmas stocking or tree skirt or another keepsake. Yes, she loved sequins on these gifts of handiwork! Her creative talent showed itself in these lovingly made gifts.

For decades, she wrote weekly letters to her mother and received weekly letters in return with a copy of the local Athens newspaper. She was an avid sender of birthday and holiday cards to her relatives, the Biasco family, and others. Frequently, the envelopes were filled with mini sequins or tiny, glittery confetti surprises inside, and, always, stickers on the outside.

She enjoyed reading; cooking; baking; following current events and various professional sports (Bears, Packers, Cubs); listening to Chicago radio; and in recent years, long phone calls. Also, not to be missed, she watched her favorite afternoon TV “stories” (soap operas).

Upon retirement in 2015, Joyce Ann happily returned to Athens and enjoyed living at the Plisch Street senior apartments until her recent illness.

Joyce Ann is survived by 16 nieces and nephews: Duane (Deb) Kreft, Marathon, WI; Barbara Kreft, Merrill, WI; Gail (Larry) Kretschmer, Athens, WI; Clarice (Greg) Pelkey, Berlin, CT; Julene M. Romoren, Chicago, IL; Doris (Gary) McGinley, St. Peters, MO; Mary Helen Mroczenski, Waukesha, WI; Ronald Mroczenski, Greenfield, WI; Robert (Mickie) Mroczenski, New Berlin, WI; Roger (Peggy Krusick) Mroczenski, Milwaukee, WI; Dan (Mary) Mroczenski, Lakewood Ranch, FL; Elaine (Ken) Marciniak, Branson, MO; Rhonda (Dan) Thompson, Stratford, WI; Claude (Sue) Kreft, Athens, WI;  Glen (Florence) Kreft, Marathon, WI; Gary (Sharon) Kreft, Marathon, WI; and many great and great-great nieces and nephews. Joyce Ann is survived by former sister-in-law, Sally Whaples of Athens. Joyce is survived by the Biasco children: Linda, Sandy, Sharon, Chris, David, Mark, John, Paul, Mary, and Peter; and their 34 children.

Joyce Ann is predeceased by her parents, Cyril and Catherine Kreft; brothers and sister-in-law Donald (Theresa), and Jerome Kreft of Athens; her sisters and brothers-in-law Rita (Stanley) Waluk of New Britain, CT, and Vivian (Alex) Mroczenski of Abbotsford, WI, and niece Charlene (Orlando) Kreft Schmitt of Wausau, WI.

Special appreciation and gratitude are extended to the medical staff who cared for her at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, and the Athens Ambulance team.

Funeral Mass will be Monday, March 6, 2023 at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Athens at 12:00 PM. Rev. George Graham will preside. Visitation at St. Anthony Catholic Church will be Monday from 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM Mass. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Athens.  The funeral Mass will be livestreamed on the Peterson/Kraemer facebook page.

Memorials can be made to St. Anthony Catholic Church in Athens, WI.

Ollie M. Kyler

Ollie M. Kyler (nee Franke) passed away peacefully after a short illness on February 20 with her family at her side.

Ollie was born in Pasadena, California to Herbert and Mabel Franke. After moving back to Wausau, she attended Wausau Senior High and graduated with a teaching degree from UW-Madison. She taught English in the Wausau Public School system (mostly at John Muir) for more than three decades and remained close over the years to many of her former students.

She married M. Sid Kyler in Wausau in 1952 and raised two children and various pets. They lived a very active life traveling the world, enjoying the cottage in Harrison Hills and playing cribbage and bridge in round robins.  Sid preceded her in death in 2014. Also preceding her were her parents and one sister, Beverly Gunderson.

Ollie is survived by her son, Matthew (Kathy), and daughter, (Mary) Brooks Kyler Eberlein (James/Drake), sister Jamie Lemke, and grandchildren Kylen and Myles (Chesney) Eberlein. She also is survived by one great-grandson, Wyatt Eberlein, and many in her social circle, including her good friends at the Garden Apartments.

A celebration of her life will take place on Saturday, March 18 at 4:00 at the First Universalist Unitarian Church, 504 Grant Street in Wausau. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the charity of your choice. Special thanks go to the terrific healthcare she received at Aspirus Hospital, and to Dr. Brian Smith for his care and compassion for our family over the years.

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

Frank P. Wierzba Jr.

Frank P. Wierzba Jr., 41, of Wittenberg, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, February 27, 2023, in Wittenberg.

Frank was born on July 24, 1981, in Milwaukee, the son of Frank Sr. and Althea (Blanchette) Wierzba.

On April 3, 2009, Frank was united in marriage to the love of his life, Cassie Burkhart, in Wausau, WI and they were blessed with two sons, Frank III and Alex.

To know Frank was to love Frank. Frank worked for 20+ years at Nueske Meats in Wittenberg. He was a dedicated employee, loved his job, and they loved him. Frank never passed up the opportunity to travel with family and friends, loved hunting with his brothers, and fishing with his boys. He was also a member of the Shawano Bassmasters Club. Frank lived for sports and coaching his boys. One of his greatest joys was seeing Frankie get a pin or watching Alex goofily run the bases. He was the head coach of the Wittenberg Little League Team and helped coach wrestling. When he wasn’t coaching, he was hyping everyone else up. He was everyone’s biggest cheerleader. Frank was the most caring person and would give the shirt off his back for anyone in need. Frank was blessed with a big family and he loved spending time with each and every one of them as often as he could. His boys were, without a doubt, the light of his life.

Frank is survived by his wife, Cassie; two sons, Frank III and Alex; parents, Frank and Althea; siblings, Nikki (Jeff ‘Clyde’) Nievinski, Sam (Angie) Wierzba, Kurt (Megan) Wierzba, Audra (Jamie) Deruchowski, Megan (Dana) Faulks, Jake (Dezi) Wierzba and Jim Kolinski; mother and father-in-law, Anne (Rick) Rickert and Russ (Deb) Burkhart; brothers and sisters-in-law, Nick (Denise) Burkhart, Steve Burkhart and Victoria (Nick) Johnson; step brothers-in-law, Chris (Audrey) Collins, Zak Collins, Matt (Megan) Collins and Josh Collins. Frank is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, other relatives, and many friends.

Frank was preceded in death by his paternal and maternal grandparents; uncles, Brian Blanchette, David Wierzba, Andy Wierzba, Butch Meshak, Gary Molstad; aunts, Jolene Molstad, Sandy Wierzba, Patti Blanchette; great nephew, Jaxson; brother-in-law, Paul Burkhart; and step brother-in-law, John Collins.

Frank’s final gift to the world, and one that his boys are immensely proud of, is the gift of organ donation. Because of his selfless wishes, his donation will be able to better the lives of 50-60 individuals.

A Funeral Service will be held at 2 PM on Saturday, March 4, 2023, at Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home, Wittenberg. Visitation will be on Saturday, from 11 AM until the time of service at the funeral home. Since Frank loved all things sports related, the family invites you to wear W/B Charger apparel, or your favorite sports apparel. Memories and messages may be shared at schmidtschulta.com

Linda Grosskreutz

Linda Grosskreutz, 73, of Rothschild, WI passed away peacefully on February 22, 2023 of natural causes in her home. Linda is survived by her two children, Ryan Koenig, Milwaukee, WI and Lauren Koenig (Ben Nantell), Chapel Hill, NC, and her siblings Burt (Melanie Parish) Grosskreutz, Wausau; Dan (Karen Rainville) Grosskreutz, Wausau; and Gloria (Don) Krahl, Glendale Hts, IL. She is preceded in death by parents Alice and Kenneth Grosskreutz, and siblings Barbara Morrill, Gary Grosskreutz and Bonnie Brown.

Linda was a loving, devoted, and proud mother, often telling family, neighbors, and friends about her children’s most recent accomplishments. She was known for her authenticity, unique sense of humor, honesty, and willingness to speak her mind. She was never afraid to voice her opinions, even if they were unpopular. Her outspoken nature was a testament to her strength of character and her unwavering commitment to living life on her own terms.

Linda was born in Wausau and raised on her parent’s farm in the Town of Wien. She graduated Edgar High School as an honor student before spending five years in Milwaukee. There she enjoyed time with her friends and attending concerts. She then returned to central Wisconsin where she raised her children and worked at Greenheck Fan Corporation. With the company for 39 years, Linda was one of the first and longest tenured women to work in the plant, paving the way for more women to have opportunities in manufacturing. Her work ethic and dedication to provide for her family were admired by many.

As a collector, Linda had a keen eye for finding unique and interesting items. Her collections were a reflection of her eclectic taste and style. She had a passion for exploring her family genealogy, staying informed with current events, and keeping her mind sharp with word puzzles. Linda adored animals of all kinds, especially her beloved guinea pigs, Prince and Picachu, along with the wildlife in her own backyard. Her thoughtfulness and generosity extended to both humans and animals alike.

A remembrance for Linda will be held at John J. Buettgen Funeral Home in Schofield on March 10, 2023 from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM.  Online condolences may be expressed at HonorOne.com

Madonna J. Szews

Madonna J. Szews, 61, of Hatley, died on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at her home, under the care of her family and Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services.

Madonna was born on May 2, 1961, in Wausau, the daughter of Donald and Elizabeth (Landowski) Budnik.

On May 11, 1985, Madonna was united in marriage to William ‘Bill’ Szews, at St. Florian Catholic Church, Hatley.

Madonna received all of her sacraments at St. Florian Catholic Church. She was baptized, had her first communion, confirmed, married and now she will have her funeral mass.

Madonna enjoyed gardening, fishing, hunting, and canning. She liked to swim in their family pool and play bingo on her computer. Madonna loved spending time with her family. She was a great cook and enjoyed making meals for them. She loved her two granddaughters and would babysit them and spoil them with hugs and cookies.

Madonna is survived by her husband, Bill; two sons, Alexander (Alexis) Szews and William ‘Billy’ Szews; two granddaughters, Alycia and Raelynn; nine siblings, Jerome (Diane) Budnik, Jaqueline (Eugene) Geurink, Carol (William) Bublitz, Kevin (Denise) Budnik, Fay (Aaron) Kurth, Donald (Lynn) Budnik, Patti (Myron) Baumann, Elizabeth (Bryan) Benaszeski and Judith (Tim) Vreeland; five brothers and sisters-in-law, Judy (Richard) Popp, Penny (Terry) Esker, Joe (Dino Puccio) Szews, and Randy Szews; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Madonna was preceded in death by her parents; her mother and father-in-law, Ernest and Mary Jane Szews; niece, Kimberly Marie Geurink and sister-in-law, Carrie Szews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 AM on Monday, March 6, 2023, at St. Florian Catholic Church, Hatley. Rev. Gregory Bohren will officiate. Burial will be in the Parish Cemetery. Visitation will be on Monday, from 9 AM until the time of Mass at the church.

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