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

Dennis A. Holt

Teacher, coach, son, husband, father, grandpa and Great Pop-Pop; Dennis Holt wore many “hats” in his 80 years of life. He left this earth on November 16th, 2023, under the wonderful care of Interim Hospice at Wausau Manor. The son of Lillian (Blaisdell) and Alvin Holt, he was born February 1st , 1943 in Wausau. He married Alana (Newman) Holt on November 26th, 1970.

A graduate of DC Everest Senior High, UW-Madison and UW-Stevens Point, he taught Spanish and coached track & field, wrestling and cross country at DC Everest, Manitowoc Roncalli, Reedsburg and Burlington High Schools. He was privileged to influence thousands of students and athletes in his 42 years in education and was named the district Teacher of The Year in 1989.

In 1994 and 1996 the DC Everest Track & Field teams he coached were the State of Wisconsin WIAA Division 1 Champions and state Runner-Up Champions in 1995. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Track Coaches Hall of Fame and the Holt/Peterson Jump Facility at Stiehm Stadium was named in his honor in 2011. He was also named as a DC Everest Distinguished Alumni in 2017.

Dennis enjoyed fishing, hunting, trapping and running until Parkinson’s Disease symptoms prevented him from participating in these activities. He was also an avid Packers and Badgers Fan, but what he truly enjoyed most in life was spending time with his family!

Survivors include his wife and three children, Stacy, Ryan (Karen) and Adrian (Michelle), six grandchildren, Alexandria Olson (Jake Bapp), Alec Buchberger, Ingrid and Ina Holt, Simon and Sam Holt, and a great-granddaughter Adriana Bapp. He is further survived by his brother, Rodney (Mary Lou), sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Brenda Richards, Carlene Newman (Charles Norman), Earl Jr. (Karen) Newman, Kenneth (Joyce) Newman, Keith Newman (Karen Sheldon), 15 nieces and nephews, numerous cousins and two sons-in-law, Rene Olson and David Buchberger. In addition to his parents he was predeceased by a grandson, Andrew Douglas Holt-Mielke, his mother and father-in-law Evelynn & Earl Newman, Sr. and brothers-in-law, Roger Richards and Jose Severino.

His wife lovingly cared for him in their home for fifteen years after his Parkinson’s diagnosis. The family would like to express their gratitude to his neurologist, Dr. Katie Spangler, the staff at Wausau Manor, including his favorite nurse, Angela Schlueter and Interim Hospice Care.

Visitation will be held 4-7 pm on Friday, November 24th, 2023 and from 9-10:30 am on Saturday, November 25th, 2023 with an 11 am worship service at Peace United Church of Christ, Schofield. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to Peace Church, Schofield, WI, the Parkinson’s Foundation or to the family in the name of Dennis Holt Student-Athlete Scholarship Fund.

The worship service will also be live streamed at PeaceChurchSchofield on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/@PeaceChurchSchofield

Bernice L. Kickbusch

Bernice Laura Kickbusch, 92, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, passed away peacefully on November 15, 2023, at her residence in Schofield, WI. She was born on April 19, 1931, in Wausau, WI, to her parents Anthony and Genovive (Kuklinski) Stankowski.

Bernice will forever be remembered as a devoted wife to her loving husband, Arthur Kickbusch who she married on August 6, 1949 with whom she shared countless cherished memories and 74 years of marriage. Together, they built a beautiful life filled with love and unwavering commitment.

As a loving mother, Bernice dedicated herself to raising her three children, Terry Kickbusch, Gary Kickbusch, and Renee Durkee. She instilled in them a sense of strong family values, compassion, and a deep appreciation for life’s simple joys.

Though Bernice held various roles throughout her life, she found great fulfillment working at H. Phillips and later at Wausau Furniture to her time at Grebe’s and J.C. Penny Department Store. Bernice’s exceptional work ethic and attention to detail earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues.

Outside of her professional endeavors, Bernice embraced a variety of hobbies. She would often be found excelling in a game of bingo, indulging in needlepoint projects, or seeking refuge from the Wisconsin winters as a snowbird in Apache Junction, AZ. Her competitive spirit was evident on the bowling lanes and shuffleboard courts, where she would engage in friendly rivalries with friends and family. Additionally, she found solace in camping at Camper’s Haven in Tomahawk, WI, surrounded by the beauty of Wisconsin’s nature.

Bernice’s life was defined by her unwavering faith and involvement in her community. She was an active member of the Trinity Lutheran Church, where she found spiritual solace and formed lifelong connections with her fellow parishioners.

Bernice will be deeply missed by her loved ones and all who had the pleasure of knowing her. She leaves behind a legacy of love, strength, and kindness.

Bernice leaves her beloved husband Arthur and three children: Terry (Jamie) Kickbusch, Gary (Marie) Kickbusch, and Renee (Dale) Durkee, along with five grandchildren: Thomas Durkee, Jessica (CJ) Bonifas, Justin (Sarah) Kickbusch, Jordan Kickbusch, and Brandon (Ashley) Kickbusch and seven great grandchildren: Sam, Will, Brenna, Leo, Margot, Emma, and Evelyn. She also leaves several nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. Bernice is preceded in death by two brothers: Raymond Stanke and Lawrence (Savina) Stankowski.

Visitation will be held on Monday, November 27th from 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM at Trinity Lutheran Church, 501 Stewart Avenue, Wausau, WI, with a funeral service to follow at 11 AM in the church. Burial will be in Restlawn Memorial Park. Helke Funeral Home of Wausau has been entrusted with arrangements.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to Trinity Lutheran Church and School.

Bernice’s family wishes to thank the staff at Rennes and Renaissance and Aspirus At Home Hospice.

Leon D. Wienke

Leon Dennis Wienke, passed away on November 14, 2023, at the age of 67. He was born in Wausau, WI on March 28, 1956, to his late parents, Martin and Margareta Wienke. Leon resided in Tripoli, WI until his passing.

Leon took pleasure in the simple joys of life.  He had a passion for hunting, fishing and playing cards. In his younger years, he enjoyed playing sheepshead.   After retiring, he enjoyed preparing mouthwatering smoked meats and sausages. Whether it was spending time outdoors or engaging in friendly card games, Leon found happiness in the company of family and friends.

Leon is survived by his siblings Marlene (Stephen) Kroening, Harold (Debra) Wienke, Diane (Bruce) Smith and Rita (John) Woller, who will forever cherish the memories they shared together. His loving companion, Robin Gebhardt, and her sons John and Jerry Newman held a special place in his heart.  Further survived by his sister-in-law, Frances Wienke, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Leon is preceded in death by parents, and brothers Roger and Roy.

He was a proud Army and Navy veteran, honoring his duty with integrity and dedication.

Per Leon’s wishes, no memorial service will be held.

His unexpected departure has left a void in the hearts of those who knew him, but his spirit and memory will live on forever.

Esther A Wendorf

On Thursday, November 16, 2023, Esther Wendorf joined her husband LeRoy of nearly 50 years on the heavenly polka dance floor.  He left 14 years earlier to reserve the best seats.

Her parents Jacob and Mary (Collins) Duginski were patiently waiting along with granddaughters Karissa Kasten and Chloe Fisher; brothers Leonard, Buddy and Matt and sisters Irene Kulawinski, Florence Zastrow, Lorraine Trantow, Rose Mary Hoffman, and infant twins Helen and Alice.

She will be sadly missed by her children, Debbie (Gary) Kasten, Mic Wendorf, and Sue (Chris) Fisher; grandchildren Ben (Jenah) Kasten and Luke (Abby Nyseth) Kasten. Noah and Vanessa Fisher; great grandchildren Harvey and Reese Kasten. She leaves behind two brothers, Eugene (Mary) and Vince.   Further survived by other relatives and friends.

After a short career at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Milwaukee they raised the kids in a happy home.  She did many special things to bring in a little extra.  A favorite family project was to help her make beer can hats during a fad in the 70’s, knitting and selling well over 100 of them.

After relocating closer to her hometown of Merrill she took up making custom curtains for many area homes.

She helped her son get started in the working world by driving us on a Buyer’s Guide delivery route of nearly 50 miles. She continued the route for many years after with her daughter, and later even her husband.

The summers were spent camping nearly every weekend.  She loved a good bicycle ride and after the kids were grown up Mom and Dad explored many back roads and state trails.

Per Esther’s wishes, a private service will be held.  In lieu of flowers, give a loved one an extra hug.