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

Toni M. Plunkett

“Tough as Nails” Toni M. Plunkett, 49, lost her five-year battle to cancer, peacefully, at home, on Sunday, March 12, 2023.

Toni Marie Hellwig was born April 17, 1973, in Racine, Wisconsin to John Hellwig and Marti Albrecht. She married Justin Plunkett on December 11, 2010. She will be remembered for her love of snow, so the storm on Sunday, when she passed, was Toni saying goodbye. Toni also loved being a mom. She loved animals, decorating for the holidays, and all things Disney. She always had one Christmas tree in the house, but it was decorated monthly pending the events of that month. She always went all out on Halloween, and she loved every minute of it. Toni was a very loved and admired person who always put everyone else’s needs before hers. She was so strong. And so brave. But she deserves to rest now.

Toni is survived by her husband, Justin Plunkett; children, Ashley Kurszewski, Anthony Kurszewski, Emma Plunkett, and Ella Plunkett; grandchild, Liam Kurszewski; dad, John (Barb) Hellwig; mom, Marti (Steve Spire) Albrecht; siblings, Greg, Kellie, Traci, John, Katherine, and Chris; sisters-in-law, Christa, Genevieve, Sae and Pam; brothers-in-law, Bob, Andrew, and Sam; parents-in-law, Jeff and Vicki Plunkett; pets, Binx, Louie, and Bella; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

A celebration of Toni’s life is being planned and will occur in the coming months.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by visiting www.stjude.org

“‘Ohana’ means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

Viola A. Prott

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Viola (Vi) Prott on Friday, March 10, 2023. Vi was born in March 1930 to Emil and Alma Frogner in Colfax, WI.

Vi was a kind, independent and selfless woman who loved the simple things in life. She had a contagious laugh and a smile that could light up a room. Vi enjoyed reading, walking, animals, was an avid seamstress, and loved to crochet and knit.

She had the curiosity of a child and the wisdom of so many of her generation who have seen the world change. She was also always her proud of her Norwegian heritage. Above all else, Vi loved nothing more than spending time with her family. 

Vi came to Wausau to work at Employers Mutual Company, where she met her husband, Robert (Bob), a widower with two very young children. Bob and Vi married in 1957 and she was a devoted wife and mother, beloved by her two children for the rest of her life.

Vi is survived by her son, Jon Prott, her daughter, Roxie (Dennis) Page, four grandchildren, Chad (Sue) Page, Kyle (Elizabeth) Page, Alison (Ben) Johnson, and Haylee (Kory) Kaiser, four great-grandchildren, Finley, Harper, Parker, and Skyler, and a niece, Patty (Larry) Nicholas.

Vi was preceded in death by her husband Robert, great-grandson, Beau Riley Kaiser, her parents, and siblings, Edwin, Ken, and Alvina.

A private service was held at Restlawn Cemetery in Wausau. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Aspirus Hospital for the wonderful care provided to our mom and a big heartfelt thank you to Wausau Aspirus Hospice House. Your kindness and support will never be forgotten.

We will always cherish Vi’s memory, and she will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.

If you wish, please make a donation in memory of Grandma Vi


Harvey V. Thurs

Harvey V. Thurs, 90, entered his eternal life on Saturday, March 11, 2023 holding the hand of his wife, Mavis, of 69 years and surrounded by family. Harvey treasured his family, his 10 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren.

He was born on August 22, 1932  in Hamburg, WI, son of the late Gust and Gertrude (Mueller) Thurs.. He attended Maple Grove School.  He met Mavis Kriewald at a dance at Schmidt’s Ballroom and they were  married on September 19, 1953. Together they ran a family farm until 1965.  At that time, they moved to Weston, WI and he became a Painter and then Glazier with Hoffer’s Glass Company.  He had many long-lasting friendships with his co-workers.  He enjoyed his retirement and numerous travels with his wife to Ireland, Hawaii, Holland, Germany with the Pommerscher Verein German Club and many bus trips. 

Harvey will be remembered for his wonderful craftsman skills, gardening, time spent up north with family, especially numerous tractor rides on his Alice A/Ford 8N with grandkids and great grandchildren.  He also loved playing sheepshead cards, strawberry and cherry picking, and making wine.  He looked forward to family visits and nightly phone calls speaking German with his brother, Elgart. His sweet tooth was satisfied with his love for candy bars, cut-out sugar cookies, ice cream treats, and his” chocolate-mint dessert” aka Copenhagen.

Harvey was a very caring man and always put others first; you could always find him helping his brothers, family and neighbors.  He was a 13 year colon cancer survivor; a true hero showing great strength and courage during his illness.  

He was a life-long Christian, being baptized and confirmed at St. Peter’s Church in Hamburg, WI.  He was a member at Mt Calvary Lutheran Church, Rothschild, WI from 1965-time of his death.  He served on church council, and if asked, he always helped, he happily served and shared his woodworking skills with the church by doing multiple projects,and he was also the grounds keeper. 

We wish to thank the doctors at Aspirus Cancer Center, especially Dr Hamied Rezazadeh and Dr Jennine Larsen, for making him a cancer survivor.  We cannot thank Aspirus Hospice Care Team enough for their wonderful comfort care over the last 6 months. 

He was preceded in death by his parents Gust and Gertrude Thurs, his in-laws, Harold and Alice Kriewald, Brothers, Wilmar (Alladine) Thurs, Norman Thurs, and Orville (Iris) Thurs, and sister-in-laws Shirley Thurs and JoAnne Schubring.  Brother-in-law, Gerald Kriewald.

He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Mavis, and his brother Elgart Thurs. Children Cheryl (Ken) Utecht, Kim (Jill) Thurs, Char (Jeff) Marcell, and Amy (Pete) Jaglinski.  His 10 grandchildren – Lucas Utecht, Heather Grusznski, Mike Thurs, Sarah Thurs, Nicole Riemer, Tara Lancelle, Tanner, Bryce, Seth and Kyle Jaglinski.  And his 12 precious great-Grandchildren: Coen and Anna Utecht, Jude and Adelynn Grusznski, Jacob and Madilyn Thurs, Caleb and Aubrie Riemer, Gavin, Isabelle and Jasper Lancelle, and Jackson Jaglinski with another great grandchild due in May.  

Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, March 20, 2023 at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 503 Schmidt Ave, Rothschild.  The Rev. Philip Bogen will officiate.  Entombment will be at Restlawn Memorial Park.  Visitation will be held on Sunday, March 19, 2023 from 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm and again on Monday, March 20, 2023  from 9:30 AM until the time of the service all at the church.

Harvey lived his daily life with a strong  faith and continued to share God’s message until the end.  He will be deeply missed but his legacy will live on through his family.

In lieu of flowers the family will donate memorials to Aspirus Comfort Care & Hospice Services, Wausau, WI https://www.aspirus.org/donate-now and Mt Calvary Lutheran Church, 503 Schmidt Ave, Rothschild, WI.

Bryan G. Schilling

Bryan G. Schilling, 61, of Rib Mountain, passed away on Monday, March 13, 2023 at Aspirus Hospice House, Wausau.

Bryan was born May 14, 1961 in Oshkosh, son of Phyllis (Bauman) Schilling, Rib Mountain, and the late Glen Schilling.  On June 21, 1986 he married the love of his life, Elizabeth “Beth” Luebke at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Oshkosh.  She survives.

For more than 32 years Bryan was a teacher at Stratford High School, Marathon High School, and D.C. Everest Middle School and Junior High School where he taught business education.  He was also a WIAA official from 1979 – 2022.  One of his favorite highlights while officiating over the years was to have his son reffing with him.

Bryan had a big heart, which he used unconditionally to love his wife and children.  Bryan supported his children in every activity they were involved with.  He simply was there for everything for the kids!!  Bryan was a lifelong Packers, Brewers, Bucks, and Badgers fan and never shied away from any other spectator sports on TV or the radio.  He fulfilled his lifelong dreams of attending a Super Bowl game in Minneapolis with his son and watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean with his daughter.

The last part of Bryan’s legacy is the devotion to his wife Beth.  She was his biggest supporter since day one.  Together they raised their family to love and support one another.  A bond that will never be broken.

Survivors include his loving wife, Elizabeth “Beth” Schilling, Rib Mountain, his daughter, Sara Schilling, Portland, son, Eric Schilling, Weston, daughter-in-law, Kirsten Rock, Weston, loving mother, Phyllis Schilling, Rib Mountain, and his mother-in-law, Barbara Luebke, Oshkosh.

Bryan was preceded in death by his father, Glen, brother, Todd, and his father-in-law, Rev. Merton Luebke.

Funeral services will be at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, March 27, 2023 at Saint Andrew Lutheran Church, Rib Mountain, with Rev. Leslie O’Callaghan officiating.  Visitation will begin at 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 26 at Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 3400 Stewart Avenue, Wausau, and continue at the church on Monday beginning at 10:00 a.m. until the time of service.  Burial will follow in Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau.  Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Wausau, is in charge of arrangements.  Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com.

The family thanks Dr. Christopher Peterson and the staff at the Aspirus Cancer Center for their dedicated and reassuring care during Bryan’s pancreatic cancer treatment.  Also a special thank you to the entire staff at Aspirus Hospice House for their compassionate care and support during Bryan’s journey.

Duane L. Bricko

Duane L. Bricko, 91, Town of Ringle passed away on Monday, March 13, 2023 with Family at his side while under the care of Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services at Cedar Creek Manor, Kronenwetter.

He was born November 8, 1931 in Elderon, son of the late Chester and Jennie (Berglund) Bricko. Duane married Ercelle Zoromski in 1953 and she passed away in 1995. He then married Pattie (Tietz) Hack in Wausau in 2001.  She survives.

For more than 40 years Duane worked at 3M in Wausau. Holding many positions over the years including Quarry Supervisor in which the job required him to be a Licensed Blaster in the State of Wisconsin, Crushing and Trucking Department Head, and Coloring Department Head. Some of his favorite pastimes included fishing perch and (lots of) walleyes and hunting trips to Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Canada. Snowmobiling, taking vacation trips, gardening in his Ringle backyard and watching the Green Bay Packers.  Duane also enjoyed the Sunday Polka Show on the radio, shooting trap at the Weston Hit and Miss Trap Club and held various positions with the Club. He also held various positions with the Hatley Snowmobile Club. 

Duane proudly served his country in the United States Army during the Korean War, 1952 – 1954.

Survivors include his wife, Pattie Bricko, Ringle, his children, Pamela (Mark) Dexter, Rothschild, Roderic Bricko, Ringle, Mary Mulder, Wausau, Denise Bricko, Kaukauna, Paul (Julie) Bricko, Weston, three step children, Elizabeth Hack, AZ, Annie Hack, Wausau and Susan Hack, Wausau, 7 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, three step grandchildren and his siblings, Annette (Toke) Klabunde, Kronenwetter and Lyle (Barb) Bricko, Wausau and many nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents and first wife, Ercelle he was preceded in death by granddaughter, Michelle Folta and siblings, Jerry, Denny, Vince, Marcellene, Cathy and Beverly.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Friday, March 17, 2023 at St. Agnes Catholic Church, Weston.  The Rev. Greg Bohren will preside. Burial will be in the parish cemetery. Visitation will be held on Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 1302 Sixth Street, Wausau and again on Friday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of services at the church. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com

Grace M. Manthe

Grace Marie Manthei (Atwood, Oesterreicher, Kutchera), 85, of Wausau, passed into glory on Friday, March 3, 2023 at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

She was born on March 1, 1938 at her paternal grandparents’ house in Wausau to Karl and Hilma (Plautz) Manthei.  Grace attended local schools while growing up and graduated from Wausau High School with the class of 1956.  In 1969 Grace graduated as a lab assistant from Wausau Memorial Hospital.  For 30 years Grace worked as an administrative assistant at N.T.C. where she met many students over the years that became another part of her family.  She was an active member of Grace United Church of Christ in Wausau since 1945 and also of the Antique Study Club at the Marathon County Historical Society.

Grace’s legacy is the way she lived; beautiful, kind, and spiritual.  And like the trademark characteristics that are the women of our family, she was independent and tenacious.  She had a passion for music of all genres and shared her love with her children, grands, and great-grands, she truly lived in a musical.

There was no sitting on the fence for Grace, she was not afraid to pick a side or stand up for what was right even if it meant going all the way up the chain to the White House.

Grace did not come into lives lightly.  She loved so fiercely that it left you no choice but to do the same.  Often times her love was shared in the form of a card that was personalized just for you.  She held court on her porch, and enjoyed talking and laughing with friends, family, and the children in the neighborhood.

She was an avid collector of antiques and memories, always finding the delicate balance of living in the present while cherishing the past.  Grace will be missed by all those who knew and loved her, but it’s only for awhile that we must part, so bless the memories that lay within your heart.

Survivors include her daughter, Diana Helms; grandchildren, Shawn (Meagan) Tousignant and great-grandchildren, Zander, Sabastion, and Corbin; Tiffany (Todd) Rhea and great-grandchild, Tripp; Joshua (Heather) Cordell and great-grandchild, Tinley; and Kathryn Helms; daughter, Lisa (Ron) Bergeth; grandchildren, Nathanial (Rachael) Streich and great-grandchildren, Brianna, Jonathon, Rhyder, and Dominic; and Emily (Ivan) Aceves and great-grandchildren, Ariana, Xavier, and Santiago; siblings, Faye Henley, Alyce (Lou) Windhurst, Karla (David) Markowski, and Randy (Julie) Sawyer; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Grace has passed into glory to be met by all those she loved: grandparents, August (Lydia) Plautz and Dan (Marie) Robare; parents, Karl and Hilma Manthei; brother, Karl Manthei Jr.; step-father, Lou Sawyer; beloved son, Raymond Atwood; sons-in-law, James Streich and Michael Helms; and great-granddaughter, Lola Liberty Carter.

A funeral service will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 18, 2023 at Grace United Church of Christ, 535 South Third Avenue, Wausau, with Rev. Wayne Drueck officiating.  Visitation will begin at 9:00 a.m. until the time of service at the church.  Private family burial will take place in Pine Grove Cemetery, Wausau.  Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com.

“My bucket list is almost filled—one more journey to go.”  G.M.K.

Gerald Studinski

Gerald “Stud” Studinski, 62, passed away after a short battle with cancer on March 8, 2023 with his loving wife, Sharon, by his side holding his hand.

Gerald was born August 21, 1960 to the late Rhody and Patricia (Kruzitski) Studinski. He worked for FF Mengel and then worked for American Asphalt until he retired in 2015.

Gerald had a passion for cars and opened his own body shop in his backyard (Custer Body Shop). He spent most of his time in his shop working. He loved taking trips to look at cars and pick up car parts. In his time away from the shop he enjoyed attending car shows, watching Nascar, fishing, and shooting the bull with neighbors and friends.

He knew everyone and everyone knew him. Gerald was quite the character and he didn’t need to impress anyone. He was a straight shooter and told it as it was.

He married his greatest love, Sharon Tessmer, on January 1, 1998 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He welcomed her four children and together they built their family.

Survivors include his wife, Sharon, her children: Robert (Valdemar Lombardo) Deppe, Seth (Kara) Deppe, Heidi Deppe and Zebulon (Sara) Winkler. Seven grandchildren: Alexandria, Austin, Sarah, Danielle, Benjamin, Emeral, Marcella and three great-grandchildren: Aubrey, Gracie, Bennett. His siblings: Barb (Phil) Alm, Randy (Cori) Studinski and, Laurie (Randy) Lutz; three nephews: Shane, Nate (Katy), Adam (Jessica); two nieces: Breanna (Dan), Brittany (Matt); six great-nieces and two great-nephews. Two special Godsons: Rick and Adam. He is also survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends.

Preceding him in death are his parents Rhody and Patricia Studinski, niece Katie Alm, and great nephew Arlo Alm.

Visitation will be held on Friday, April 21st from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Custer. Mass will follow at 1:00 pm.

A special thank you to his care team at Aspirus Stevens Point Hospital for their professional and compassionate care: Dr. Ravindra Hanumaiah, Dr. Rezwan Islam, Dr. Eric Anderson, Dr. Christopher Swiecki, Nurse Kay, and Nurse Virgie.

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

Karen J. Weber-Rotta

Karen J. Weber-Rotta (Diane Diaz), 80 of Weston, died on Friday, March 10, 2023, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

Karen was born on November 30, 1942, in Mattoon, the daughter of Raymond and Margaret (Bossell) Fischer.

On May 26, 1962, Karen was united in marriage to Francis Weber at St. Boniface Catholic Church, Aniwa. They later divorced in 1989 and he preceded her in death on July 26, 2010. She later married Gordon Rotta on January 6, 1990 in Wittenberg. He preceded her in death on May 22, 2004.

Karen worked as a phlebotomist and in radio sales, but mostly as a farm wife. She loved singing, music, arts and crafts and playing the keyboard. Karen also had a love for animals, especially dogs. She was a devoted Catholic and always prayed the rosary. Karen really enjoyed spending time with her children, grandchildren and great grandchild.

Karen is survived by her children, Christina Weber of Lakeville, MN and Andrew Weber of Tucson, AZ; sister, Judith (Robert “Willie”) Brandt of Weston; brothers, James (Madelyn) Fischer of Apopka, FL and John (Janet) Fischer of Aniwa, as well as numerous grandchildren, step grandchildren, one great grandchild and other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, Francis and Gordon; parents and daughters, Jane Heil and Diane Anderson.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 AM on Friday, May 5, 2023, at St. Boniface Catholic Church, Aniwa. Fr. Vicente Llagas will officiate. Burial will be in the Parish cemetery. Visitation will be held on Friday from 9 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.

Jerome B. Thrun

Jerome “Jerry” Bernard Thrun, 83, of Birnamwood, passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at Cloverleaf Terrace in Birnamwood.

Jerry was born in Stevens Point, on December 15, 1939, to Bernard Thrun and Cecelia (Borski) Thrun and attended Stevens Point area schools.

He married Lorraine Drescinski on May 19, 1962, and had two children: Clint and Christina, who were his pride and joy. He worked for Murphy’s Foundry for many years until his divorce. At which time, Jerome chose to travel. He’d love to drive to Florida and work in the orange groves during the day and sleep on the beaches listening to the sounds of the ocean at night. Upon returning from his travels, he married Lucille Nelson who brought four children to the marriage. Jerry loved and treated them as his own: Vicki Layde, Dorothy Schwersenska (Geiger), Tanya Bernico (Geiger) and Daniel Geiger. Although they divorced, as well, in the early 90’s, Jerry made a lifelong impact in the children’s lives and remained their step-father until passing.

His nickname for many years was “Geronimo,” due to his truly individual and independent spirit. Anyone who knew and loved Jerry knew he was a force to be reckoned with, as he had a giving heart and candid communication. Throughout the years, he housed many people who needed a helping hand to get back on their feet, even when he had limited resources to share and give himself. He loved to drive his motorcycle, fish, take walks, ride his bicycle through the area and watch the birds in his yard. He lived for almost 40 years next to the Wildlife Campground in Birnamwood where he dearly loved the land and area. His greatest love in life was God. He always had a close relationship to God, but it was his last 10 years in life that he truly gave his life to God, studying and sharing the scripture of The New Testament. He was an honest man, a lifelong learner, philosopher, and a man of character who appreciated beauty and the simple things in life. All who knew him knew he was a unique individual who will be sorely missed by his loved ones and friends.

Jerry is survived by his son and daughter in law, Clint and Sherry Thrun; Grandchildren, Tyler Thrun and his wife Melissa Thrun, Matthew Thrun and Christina Thrun of Birnamwood; Stepchild and best friend, Vicki Layde; stepchildren Dorothy Schwerenska (Geiger), Tanya Bernico (Geiger) and Daniel Geiger of the Oshkosh area; and his five sisters, Marge (Jake) Ceplina of Wisconsin Rapids, Darlene (Larry) Scipior of Stevens Point, Nancy Thrun of Stevens Point, Patty Radomski of Scottsdale, AZ and Rosemary Walenski of Stevens Point.

Jerry was preceded in death by his Father Bernard Thrun; Mother Cecelia Walenski (Thrun); Daughter Christina Thrun; Step-Father Al Walenski and Sister Joan (Gene) Browan.

A Funeral Service will be held at 11 AM, on Friday, March 17, 2023, at Schmidt Schulta Funeral Home in Birnamwood. Rev. Wes Jedras will officiate. Visitation will be on Friday, from 9 AM until the time of service starting at the funeral home. A luncheon will be held afterward at Chet & Emil’s in Birnamwood for family and friends.