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

James L. Palmer

James Lyman Palmer of Weston, Wisconsin, passed away at the age of 77 on September 3, 2023. Jim was born on October 3, 1945, in Crandon, Wisconsin, to Marie Jane Lyman and Lyle Kenneth Palmer.   

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in January of 1969, Jim volunteered to join the United States Marine Corps and served one tour in Vietnam, for which he received the National Defense Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, among numerous other combat awards. Jim was honorably discharged as a sergeant and returned to Wisconsin to attend graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he received a master’s degree in education. After serving as a K-8 counselor with the Waupun Public School District for one year, Jim began as an instructor with the Northcentral Technical College (then NCTI), where he taught for 32 years in the area of public safety. During this time, there were very few law enforcement officers, EMTs and firefighters in central Wisconsin who were not familiar with Jim. He introduced many innovative programs to the residents of the Northcentral District, and he served as the chairman of the Marathon County Highway Safety Commission for more than 30 years.  

Jim’s greatest passions were his wife and family, and he thoroughly enjoyed meeting people, traveling, maintaining relationships with old friends, hunting, fishing, and working outdoors. He never lost his love of playing practical jokes and following Wisconsin’s professional and college sports teams. An avid softball player in his own right, Jim was a member of numerous teams in the Wausau Softball Association. He was also an active member of his local church, and a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Vets of America, and the Marine Corps League. A longtime member and past president of the Wausau Noon Optimist Club, Jim also volunteered his time for the Disabled American Veterans organization, along with countless other veteran-sponsored charitable endeavors. 

Jim was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings-George William (Kathy) Palmer, Lyall Jean (Dave) Noreika, Guy Allen (Patty) Palmer, and Marlene Joyce Palmer. He is survived by his wife, Deborah Kay Palmer, his children-James Lyle (Elizabeth) Palmer, Robert Kenneth Palmer, and Annette Marie (John) Hulleman; grandchildren-Ethan James Palmer, Alexander Liam Palmer, Emma Jane Hulleman, Benjamin Palmer Hulleman, Abel James Palmer, Edith Kay Palmer, Drake Allen Logan and Aryana Thi Nguyen; great-grandchildren Bennett and Briella Logan; and his siblings Constance Marie King and Glenn Russell Palmer; along with numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and other members of his beloved extended family. 

Jim’s family would like to give special thanks to Aspirus Comfort Care & Hospice Services in Wausau and the Rennes Health & Rehab Center in Weston. A memorial service to celebrate Jim’s life will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3 at the Brainard Funeral Home in Weston, preceded by a visitation at 1 p.m. 

Eugene V. Pagel

Eugene Vernon Pagel, age 53, passed away unexpectedly on September 5th, 2023 at his place of employment. He was born in Wausau, Wisconsin to Thomas and Gloria Pagel on August 7th, 1970. He attended Wausau East High School where he met the love of his life, Sandra VanDerLeest. They married on June 12th, 1993 and together they built a beautiful and loving family. 

Eugene was welcomed into Heaven by the loving arms of his grandparents, Vernon and Marie Pagel, and his grandfather, Eugene Anderson. 

He remains in the hearts of those still on Earth: his wife Sandra, son Nicholas, daughter Kaylee Cline, grandmother Delores Anderson, parents Thomas and Gloria, parents-in-law Leon and Bernice VanDerLeest, siblings Phillip (Tanya) and Ruth Jones, siblings-in-law, nephews, great-nephews and nieces, and countless others who were touched by his kind, generous, and loving presence. 

Eugene was always willing to help friends and family no matter the personal cost. Whether it be yard work, car troubles, construction projects, or simply a shoulder to cry on, he was always where he was needed. Eugene was a big kid at heart and enjoyed tinkering with his numerous toys. His most recent leisure projects included remote control trucks, a drone, and a dual-sport motorcycle. He could make anyone smile with his well-developed sense of humor. He was fluent in sarcasm, wrote the book on harmless pranks, and showed his love the most by cracking jokes at the expense of anyone and everyone, including himself. His nickname, “Pumbaa,” was entirely self-proclaimed (and only ever used by himself) as a reference to his gift for flatulence. He dedicated his life to his wife and children and would do just about anything to see them happy. He enjoyed talking about politics and his faith with Sandra, as well as attending numerous concerts, watching movies, and traveling to Missouri together. He always enjoyed hunting, working on or talking about cars, and shooting guns with “Buddy” or “Buckwheat” Nicholas. Eugene also enjoyed watching “Grease” hundreds of times, incessant jokes, and a ton of “don’t tell mom” moments with his “Buttercup” Kaylee. 

Visitation will be held at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church (238537 Del Rio Rd. Wausau, WI 54403) on Friday, September 15th from 4 PM to 7 PM and Saturday, September 16th from 9 AM to 11 AM with funeral services.

Donald S. Sobjeck Sr.

Donald Stephen Sobjeck Sr., a devoted family man, and proud Air Force veteran, passed away peacefully on September 10, 2023, at the Palliative Care Unit at Asprius Wausau Hospital. He was born on April 22, 1928, in Wausau, WI, to parents whose love and guidance shaped the man he became.

Donald attended Wausau Senior High School, before embarking on a career in the paper manufacturing industry as a machinist, where he dedicated his skills and expertise to the American Can Company. He was a proud member of the United Paperworkers International Union. 

Donald served his country with honor as a member of the Air Force from 1946-1949. His service instilled in him a deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by those who defend our freedom.

Outside of his professional life, Donald found joy in the simple pleasures. He was an avid fan of baseball, particularly the Milwaukee Brewers. With unwavering loyalty, he stood by his beloved Green Bay Packers and cheered on the Badgers. In his earlier years, he pursued his passion for art, indulging in the tranquility and self-expression of painting.

Above all, Donald cherished his family. He married Rita Gabel – Wendt on February 21, 1953. Together they raised their four children. Donald was a pillar of strength, providing unwavering support and guidance to his children throughout their lives.

One of Donald’s greatest joys was spending time with his grandchildren. He eagerly embraced the role of babysitter, creating lifelong memories and instilling in them lessons of love and kindness.

He is survived by three children: Debra (Bill) Regan, Donald Jr. (Lorraine) Sobjeck, and Cheryl (Ron) Whitley. He also leaves two beloved grandchildren: Erin Sobjeck and Kyle Sobjeck, along with other extended family and friends. He is preceded in death by his wife Rita Sobieck, parents: Stephen and Aldine Sobjeck, a son Randall Sobjeck, and a sister Jean (Kenneth) Edwards. 

Donald Stephen Sobjeck Sr. will forever be remembered as a devoted family man, a hard worker, and a loyal supporter. May his spirit find eternal peace, and may his memory be a guiding light for all who were fortunate enough to have known him.

At Donald’s request all services are private, and burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery. Helke Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. The family wishes to extend their heartfelt appreciation to the staff of the Palliative Care Unit at Aspirus. 

John Armstrong

John Armstrong, Mosinee, formerly of Eland, passed away on Saturday, September 9, 2023 at Aspirus Wausau Hospital surrounded by his family.

John, the son of Bernard and Margaret Meverden, was born in West Allis and graduated from the Wittenberg High School.

On October 12, 1963, he married the love of his life, Mary McGrath, who survives.  They were just one month short of their 60th anniversary. 

John retired from Union Pacific Railroad after 30 years of service.  He enjoyed deer hunting with his children, an occasional trip to the casino, an occasional cocktail, wintering in Alabama with Mary and was an avid Green Bay Packer fan.

John is survived by his loving wife, Mary; his four children, Amy, Johnny (Sandy) Armstrong, Tammy (fiancé Wayne Bamke) and Molly (Josh) Osswald; four grandchildren, Shanelle and Ryan Stanke, and “the little ones”- Sage and Trevor Blum; and a whole lot of grand fur babies.  He is furthered survived by his sister, Susan (Joe) Groshek; and his sister-in-law, RoseMary McGrath.

Private family services will be held.

In lieu of flowers, memorials/gifts may be donated to your local humane society in John’s memory.

The family would like to express a heartfelt thank you to the staff at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, especially the ICU Unit for the loving care and support for John and his family during his illness.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com

Joan E. Speers

Joan E Speers, age 84, passed away suddenly on Wednesday, August 9, 2023. Born in Ashland, WI on December 8,1938, Joan spent her early childhood in Park Falls, WI until her family relocated to Athens, WI in 1946. Joan married Gilbert Speers on April 27,1963. They lived in the Minneapolis area and settled in Robbinsdale, MN where Joan remained until her passing. 

Joan is preceded in death by her parents, Isabelle and Ernest Sollberger and her loving husband, Gilbert Speers. Joan is survived by her son, Brian Guessford (wife, Janet) from New Jersey. It was Joan’s greatest joy to reconnect with her son. She is also survived by her nieces, nephews, extended family, friends and her caregiver, Jacques Block.

Joan’s favorite pastime was to travel. Joan and Gilbert traveled to all 50 states and overseas many times. Joan also had many adventures with her bus tour friends. She enjoyed connecting with friends and family while she travelled. Joan was into genealogy and spent many hours documenting her family genealogy. She loved music and antiquing, she was an avid antiques collector with a passion for anything related to Normal Rockwell.

Visitation will be from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, followed by a funeral service held at the Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home in Athens, WI on Saturday, September 30,2023.  Rev. Joseph Bathke will officiate.  The committal will be at Calvary Cemetery in Athens for both Joan and Gilbert Speers directly after the service, with military honors for Gilbert conducted by the Athens Area Veterans.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com

Paul J. Hansen

Paul James Hansen passed away peacefully on September 4, 2023, in Antigo, Wisconsin.

Born on November 5, 1938, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to Mary and Gottlieb Theodore Hansen, Paul was the second of six children. Paul graduated from Menasha High School in 1957 and soon after joined the Army Reserves, where he served as a military policeman.

Throughout his life, Paul was a banker, salesman, and entrepreneur. However, it was his passion for fishing that truly defined him. Paul was not merely a fishing enthusiast; he was a guide, mentor, and craftsman. He was known for designing lures and was a true artisan whose creations were sought by many musky fishermen. With his words of wisdom, “Keep your rod tip up!”, he imparted his love for fishing to those around him.

Paul was preceded in death by his mother, Mary; stepfather, Alvin Sandberg; father, Gottlieb Theodore Hansen; as well as two grandsons, Austin Maples and Sean Hansen. 

Paul is survived by his long-time partner, Anne Hansen; five children, and their spouses: Paula (Leif Erik) Norbom, Andrea (James Frederick) Maples, Eric (Lucy) Hansen, Jeremy Hansen, and Nicole Hansen; along with nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date.

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

Daniel B. Tryba

Daniel B. Tryba, age passed away on Thursday, September 7, 2023.

Dan was born on October 30th, 1935 at the homestead in Hatley, WI. He passed away on Thursday September 7th, 2023 surrounded by family, Inner Peace Homecare staff and Aspirus Hospice.

He was married to the former Alvira Buchberger on July 18th, 1959.

Dan enjoyed his years playing the concertina with his wife and close friends. Dan always wanted to make others laugh and have a great time. He was a hard-working, dedicated man and always wanted the best for his family.

Dan is survived by his wife Alvira, He is further survived by his children, Laura (Norman) Geister and Gerald (Joy) Tryba.

He is further survived by his grandchildren, Andy (Kim) Kaetterhenry, Kristen Busby, Nick (Courtney) Tryba, Katey (Tyler) Knudsen, David Tryba and Tyler Tryba. He is also survived by his great-grandchildren Carter, Isabelle, Aubree, Kaden, Gabriella, Tucker and Alvera.

Daniel was preceded in death by his parents and his 9 brothers and sisters.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday September 15th, 2023 at John J. Buettgen Funeral Home in Schofield, WI.

Dan and family would like to take a moment to appreciate all the wonderful help from Inner Peace Homecare. Nicole and her team truly provided the best care for Dan in his time of need.

John J Buettgen Funeral Home is assisting the family at this time. Online condolences can be given at honorone.com

Gregory P. Rader

Gregory Rader, 63, of Antigo, died on Thursday, September 7, 2023 at The Bay at Eastview.

Gregory was born on November 11, 1959 in Fon du Lac, the son of John and Anna (Orovich) Rader.

Greg graduated from Mayville High School in 1977 and went on to graduate with an electrical engineering degree from Marquette University. Greg worked several jobs in this field and then went on to start his own business designing and constructing wooden mailboxes where a lot of them were installed in subdivisions in southern Wisconsin. Greg loved learning about the universe and reading books on Astronomy. He also liked learning about the history of the town he grew up in. He enjoyed watching the Packers and Badgers and spent most of his weekend watching football. Family was very important to him and talked a lot about growing up and having many family get togethers in such a loving family.

Greg is survived by a son, Zane Rader of LaCrosse; a daughter, Emily (Richard) Schmidt of Greenfield; grandson Logan Patrick; sister Jean Kuhn of Birnamwood; a brother, David Rader of Mayville; former wife Kelly (Wilmot) Rader of Mayville and sisters-in-law and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Greg was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers; a brother-in-law and a nephew.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11AM on Friday, September 15, 2023 at St. Philomena Catholic Church, Birnamwood. Fr. Vicente Llagas will officiate. Burial will be in the Parish Cemetery. Visitation will be on Friday from 10AM until the time of Mass at the church.

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

Jack E Norem

Jack E Norem, 88, Weston, WI, passed away on September 08, 2023, at his home with Emily Norem at his side.

Jack was born on June 20, 1935 in Waupun, WI to the late Harold and Irma (Pacer) Norem. He was united in marriage to Emily Mae Kelm on June 04, 1960 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Mattoon, WI.

Jack was a graduate of Antigo High School in 1953. Jack proudly served in the United States Navy from 1954-1958. He served during the Korean Conflict as an Electrician’s mate 2nd class. After his years of service, he worked at American Motors and Engineer Curtainwall.

Jack worked at Wausau Metals Window Walls for 30 years and retired in 1995. He also continued for Galenburg Equipment and Brickners Motors. He then proceeded to work for Northcentral Healthcare for 15 years.

He was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church where he was an Elder/Usher of the congregation and worked in janitorial services for 10 years, and recently they joined their local Mt. Olive Lutheran Church. He was a lifelong member of the Mattoon Sportsman Club, Schofield Fish and Game Club, American Legion and the NRA. He taught Hunter Safety for 42 years. He also served on the Hutchins Town Board as supervisor for 10 years.

Jack was an avid deer hunter. He loved fishing, camping, snowmobiling, and any time spent with family and friends. He was a beloved husband, brother, father, uncle, grandpa and great-grandpa. He was loved by all. Jack was a life-long fan of the Green Bay Packers and Polka music.

Jack is survived by his wife, Emily (Kelm) Norem; a son, Randy (Laura) Norem of Ringle, WI; son, Rick (Brenda) Norem of Bowler, WI; a daughter, Michelle Norem of Beaver Dam, WI; Twelve grandchildren; Jessica (Nick) Messerschmidt, Chelsea Norem, John (Emily) Gerber, Alicia (Gary) Nijack, Kailey (Hunter) Gross, Samantha (Jesse) Lawson, Stephanie (Adam) Scheffler, Brett Lukas, Dillon Lukas, Miranda (Aaron) Wagner, Christina (Jordan) Wagner, and Mike Wagner; and 11 great grandchildren; Lexus, Eli, Toni, Bailey, Roman, Kayla, Keeley, Keira, Everett, Henry, Josie and two great children on the way.

He is also survived by a sister, Peg Thomae; brother, Harold (Joanne) Norem; brother-in-law, Tim Hickman; brother-in-law, Jim King; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Jack was preceded in death by his parent; brothers James (Doris) and Larry (Kelly) Norem; sister, Joann (Vern) White; sister-in-law, Millie Hickman; brother-in-law, Phillip Thomae and three infant children.

Jack was so hospitable to everyone who came to visit him – you were always offered something to eat and drink. He always looked for the good in people first and foremost. He was infamous for his contagious laugh, beautiful smile and his catch phrases: “whatever trips your trigger”, “if it feels good do it”, “it is so good to hear your voice”,”thanks for coming to my house”, “thank you for calling (even when he called you), “hey ladybug”, “on your way back bring me a beer”.

“I am doing grrrr..eat”

You are forever in our hearts!!!

We love and miss you!!!