Obituaries for Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2009-04-29T00:00:00Z Obituaries for Wednesday, April 29, 2009Tribune staff La Crosse Tribune
April 29, 2009 12:00 am  • 

David Charles Karnitz | Thomas G. Murphy | Maxine Fern Olson | Ila Mae Pattison | Alphonse "Al" F. Peters | Roger J. Rieck | Joan S. Shimshak | Burdett William Wakeman | Marcel C. Waldera | Betty Jane Weist | Ardys L. Wischmeyer

David Charles Karnitz

LAKE MILLS, Wis. - David Charles Karnitz, 56, of Lake Mills went home to be with his Savior on Monday, April 27, 2009, after a 10-month battle with stomach cancer.

David was born Nov. 17, 1952, in Minneapolis to Emil and Lyla (Jabs) Karnitz. He became part of God's family through Holy Baptism at Pilgrim Evangelical Lutheran Church in Minneapolis on Dec. 7, 1952, and was confirmed in his faith April 16, 1967, at Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park, Minn.

David graduated from high school at Martin Luther Academy in New Ulm, Minn., in 1971 and Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm in 1977 with a degree in Elementary Education. During his career, he served at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran School in Hoskins, Neb., from 1977 to 1979; St. John's Evangelical Lutheran School in Dakota, Minn. from 1979 to 1988; Our Savior Evangelical Lutheran School in Wausau, Wis., from 1988 to 1993; and St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran School in Lake Mills from 1993 to 2008. Over the years, he served as a teacher, principal, coach and technology director, among other things. Dave loved the outdoors and enjoyed taking his students on an annual camping trip, as well as hunting and fishing with his friends.

He is survived by his parents; a brother, James (Patricia); a brother, Mark; two nephews; a niece; as well as other relatives and many friends.

Memorial services will be held at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in Prior Lake, Minn., on Saturday, May 2, at 11 a.m. with visitation at 10:30 a.m. and at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lake Mills on Saturday, May 9, at 3 p.m. with visitation at 1 p.m.

Memorials may be given to the Technology Fund at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran School in Lake Mills.

Thomas G. Murphy

Thomas G. Murphy, 68, formerly of La Crosse, died April 21, 2009, after a courageous struggle with cancer. You will live on forever in our hearts.

Tom was born Aug. 22, 1940, to William and Frances Murphy (of La Crosse).

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Karen; daughters, Sandra (Todd) Huffman and Michelle (Brandon) Kusnier; grandchildren, Andrew and Ashley; brother, William "Buzz" (Joyce) Murphy; sisters, Marion (Don) Pischke, Sharon (Richard) Culbert and Frances Murphy; brother-in-law, Frank Clingan; father-in-law, Ronald Hoppe; and many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Margaret Clingan; and brother-in-law Richard Culbert.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 2, at Church of the Crucifixion, 423 S. Second St., La Crescent, Minn.

Memorials are preferred to Windmill Animal Rescue 350 Main St., PO Box 163, Elko New Market, MN 55054.

Maxine Fern Olson

SOLDIERS GROVE - Maxine Fern Olson, 88, of Soldiers Grove passed away Sunday, April 26, 2009, at Sannes Skogdalen Nursing Home in Soldiers Grove.

She was born Dec. 31, 1920, in Soldiers Grove to Glen and Nell (Wanless) Phillips. She grew up in the Soldiers Grove area and was united in marriage to Gordon A. Olson on Oct. 25, 1941. She was a homemaker and farmed with her husband until 1976. She then went to work at Sannes Skogdalen Nursing Home and worked there for many years until she retired.

Maxine was a former member of the Yankeetown Homemakers Club and was a member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church and the Esther Circle. She was also a member of the William A. Schoville Post 2220 Legion Auxiliary.

Maxine is survived by her six children, Kenneth (Gloria) of Broadhead, Wis, Gary (Sue) of Soldiers Grove, Arden (Janet) of Boaz, Wis., Marsha (Jon) Stritesky of Elkhorn, Wis., Bill (Rita) of Soldiers Grove and Jeff (Pam) of Soldiers Grove; 19 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and by some very dear friends and neighbors, Janet and Bob Froiseth and Mary Campbell. She is also survived by three sisters, Vivian (Donald) Townsend of Soldiers Grove, Betty (Willy) Crook of Readstown and Gloria Glass of Readstown; two brothers, Ross (Delma) Phillips of Soldiers Grove and Bob (Joyce) Phillips of Altura, Minn.; five sisters-in-law, Mildred Phillips, Darlene Phillips, Thela Olson, Ruth Olson and Pauline Olson; and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Gordon; twin infant sons; her parents, Glen and Nell Phillips; one sister, Garnet Davenport; and three brothers, Keith, Dale and Glen Jr. She was also preceded in death by her sisters-in-law, Beatrice Lawrence, Deah Dowell, Myrtle Burkum, Ingabor Rein, Lois Phillips and Onah Olson; and her brothers-in-law, Theodore Olson, Oleanor Olson, Ossie Olson, Marlin Olson, Tommy Olson, Justin Rein, Ervin Burkum, John Glass and Buren Davenport.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 2, at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Soldiers Grove. Pastor Pam Lojewski will officiate, and burial will be at Forest Hill Cemetery in Soldiers Grove. Friends may call at the church on Friday, May 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until time of services. On Friday evening, the Legion Auxiliary will perform a service at the church.

Memorials may be directed to the North Crawford Rescue Squad.

Online condolences may be offered at

Ila Mae Pattison

STRAWBERRY POINT, Iowa - Ila Mae Pattison, 91, of Straw-berry Point died Mon-day, April 27, 2009, at her home in Strawberry Point.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 1, at the United Methodist Church in Strawberry Point, with the Rev. Ron Blix officiating. Burial will follow at Cass Township Cemetery in Strawberry Point. Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at Leonard-Muller Funeral Home in Strawberry Point and also for an hour before services on Friday at the church.

She is survived by three daughters, Karen Schmidt and her husband, Bruno, of Springfield, Mo.; Kathy Lunan and her husband, Jim, of Wildwood, Mo., and Kay Dockendorff and her husband, Chuck, of La Crescent, Minn.; eight grandchildren, Brian Schmidt and his wife, Kara, of Sachse, Texas, Kevin Schmidt and his wife, Tracy, of Battlefield, Mo., Scott Lunan and his wife, Karla, of Olathe, Kan., Thad Lunan of Wildwood, Kari Dockendorff of Salt Lake City and Kelly Dockendorff, Andy Dockendorff and Tony Dockendorff, all of La Crescent; and three great-grandchildren, Patrick, Matthew and Xzavier Schmidt.

Ila Mae was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, George; and one sister, Dorothy Ackman.

Online condolences may be offered at

Alphonse 'Al' F. Peters

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN - Alphonse "Al" F. Peters, 86, of rural Prairie du Chien died Monday, April 27, 2009, at his home. Memorial Mass of Resurrection will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. John's Catholic Church in Patch Grove, Wis. Burial will be at a later date in Wauzeka (Wis.) Cemetery. Friends may call from 9 a.m. to services Saturday at the church. Garrity Funeral Home of Prairie du Chien is assisting the family.

Roger J. Rieck

EASTMAN, Wis. - Roger J. Rieck, 72, of Eastman died Monday, April 27, 2009, at Great River Care Center in McGregor, Iowa. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Mount Sterling (Wis.) Lutheran Church. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Friends may call after 4 p.m. Thursday at Garrity Funeral Home in Prairie du Chien and 10 a.m. to services Friday at the church.

Joan S. Shimshak

LA CRESCENT, Minn. - Joan S. Shimshak, 73, of La Crescent passed away peacefully at her home with her loving husband at her side Monday, April 27, 2009, after a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).

Joan was born to Otto and Stella (Holter) Bjergum on May 14, 1935, in Caledonia, Minn. Stella moved with her two girls to La Crosse in 1943 to seek employment. Joan graduated from La Crosse Central High School in 1953. After high school, she attended and completed her degree at the La Crosse Beauty School. She then went to work for the La Crosse Telephone Co. as an operator and later worked for Gateway Transfer Co. as a PBX operator. It was during this time Joan met and married John C. Shimshak. They were married for 53 wonderful years.

Joan and John decided to start a family and have five wonderful sons. After the youngest son entered school, Joan decided to further her vocational skills and entered Western Wisconsin Technical Institute's LPN Program. Following graduation, she was hired by Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in the ICU and CCU units. After two years, Joan transferred to the Renal Dialysis Unit, where she worked for 31 years. During that time, she returned to Viterbo College, where she received her bachelor of science in nursing. Joan was instrumental in the development of the peritoneal program "home dialysis."

Joan and John enjoyed traveling, they took several trips to visit friends on the west and east coasts. The highlight, however, was the trip they took in 2000 - a 15 day European Tour. Joan always looked forward to her annual educational conferences sponsored by Baxter Pharmaceuticals, which were held in various cities throughout the United States. Joan had a keen interest in growing flowers in the flower beds John built for her. She received many compliments over the years, especially for her largest planter, her patio.

Joan is survived by her husband, John C. of La Crescent; five sons, Jon and his wife Debbie of La Crosse, Jeff (Selena) of Milwaukee, Jac (Amy) of La Crescent, Peter and his wife, Ling, of Dallas, and Dan and his wife, Sandy, of La Crescent; four grandchildren, Christina (Jon) Skoglund of Minneapolis, Heather and Sam Shimshak, both of La Crescent, and James Shimshak of Dallas; a brother-in-law, Neil Collins; two nieces, Carrie (Ken) Ebner and Mary Jo (Ron) Robertson; along with a nephew, David (Judy) Collins.

Joan was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Mavis Collins.

She will always be remembered as a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother.

Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Friday, May 1, at Schumacher-Kish Funeral Home of La Crosse; 200 West Ave. S., La Crosse, with the Rev. Dean Staffanson officiating. Friends and family may call Friday at the funeral home from 10:30 a.m. until time of services.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.

Joan's family would like to thank the Gundersen Lutheran Hospice program and the Rev. Dean Staffanson for their care and support.

Burdett William Wakeman

Burdett William Wakeman, 85, of La Crosse died Monday, April 27, 2009, in his home. Funeral services are scheduled for May 6 at Onalaska Church of Christ in Onalaska. A complete obituary will follow in Sunday's Tribune. Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Homes of La Crosse are assisting the family with arrangements.

Marcel C. Waldera

INDEPENDENCE - Marcel C. Waldera, 85, of Independence died Tuesday, April 28, 2009, at Tri-County Memorial Hospital in Whitehall. Arrangements are pending with Edison Funeral Home in Independence.

Betty Jane Weist

COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn. - Betty Jane Weist, 80, of Columbia Heights passed away Monday, April 27, 2009.

She was preceded in death by husband, Paul.

She will be deeply missed by her children, Larry (Barbara), Cathy (Greg) Mathson, Paul (Sherry) and David (Tammy); grandchildren, Lisa, Beth (Anthony) Pogreba, Justin, Grant, Laura, Alyssa, Benjamin, Paul Michael and Jennifer; and nieces, nephews, other family and friends.

Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Methven-Taylor Funeral Home in Columbia Heights. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 3901 First Ave. S., Minneapolis, with visitation one hour prior at church. Interment will be 3:30 p.m. at St. John's Lutheran Cemetery in Nodine, Minn., Columbia Heights, (763) 789-3338.

Ardys L. Wischmeyer

ONALASKA - Ardys L. Wischmeyer, 89, of Onalaska died Monday, April 27, 2009, in her home. Funeral arrangements will be announced by SchumachernKish Funeral Home.

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