Bea Marie Koch passed away peacefully Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.
Bea was born Aug. 11, 1928, on the Molland family farm in West Prairie, to Oscar and Myrtle (Zitzner) Molland. She was baptized and confirmed in the North West Prairie Lutheran Church. Bea was a graduate of Viroqua High School and the Vernon County Teachers College and subsequently taught elementary school.
Bea married Owen Levi Koch of Viola, Dec. 9, 1947, and remained his faithful partner until his passing Oct. 15, 2012. Bea and Owen together operated one of the most successful dairy farms in Southern Wisconsin, for over 40 years and were frequently recognized for their Holstein cattle. Following the sale of their farm and beloved Holsteins, Bea and Owen relocated to the Viroqua-Westby area. Following retirement from farming, Bea worked at Walmart for 27 years and formed many enduring relationships. Walmart was in some ways her "happy place."
Bea was a thoughtful, humble and elegant woman, who was well known for her chocolate fudge, pineapple upside down cake and various other sweets. She loved desserts and ice cream bars and never turned down a good strong cup of black coffee. A lover of "all things to do with shopping," Bea was always conscientious and wanted to do the right thing. Bea had many friends from her days on the farm and card clubs, to her Oak Knoll and Walmart friends and Maplewood/Bethel Oaks.
Surviving Bea are her three children, Randy (Heidi) of Gardnerville, Nev., Patricia (Dennis) Sobik of Merritt Island, Fla., and David (Julie) of Wayzata, Minn. Further surviving are six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a brother, Sigurd (Cinda) Molland; two sisters, Joan Hayhurst and Emma (John) Oleski.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Owen; parents, Oscar and Myrtle; brothers, Oscar and Peter; as well as sisters, Ernestine Koch, Danna Helgerson and Kathryn Nederloe.
The family would like to thank the staff at Maplewood Terrace, Bethel Oaks, and the Bland Bekkedal Hospice House, for their tender loving care of Bea.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 504 South Main St., in Viroqua. Pastor Yvonne Marshall will officiate. A visitation will be held starting at 9:30 a.m. prior to the service at the church. A reception and lunch will be served at the church following the service. A private burial will be held for the family at the Sylvan Cemetery following the church lunch.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Bethel Oaks Memory Care or to the Bland Bekkedal Hospice House (c/o Vernon Memorial Hospice Program).
Online condolences may be offered at www.vossfh.com. The Vosseteig-Larson Funeral Home, 123 W. Decker, in Viroqua is serving the family, (608) 637-2100.
Merlin Wendland, 91, passed away in his home Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020.
Merlin was born in Waumandee, Wis., to Otto and Stella (Krause) Wendland Feb. 18, 1928. He spent many of his early years working on the family farm and visiting his Grandpa Bill's farm on the Nelson Ridge. The family moved to the town of Cochrane, in the late 1930s. Merlin's mother, Stella, passed away when he was 12 and his dad, Otto, as a single father of four children, worked hard at multiple jobs.
When Merlin was 16, he worked on the tow boats on the Mississippi River. He joined the Navy in 1945, when he was 17 and got to see the world. His first oversees assignment was on Okinawa, right at the at end of World War II, in the Pacific. He spent 16 months on a Navy oil tanker refueling ships at sea and eventually went to Saudi Arabia and through the Suez Canal.
When he returned from the Navy in 1951, he married Clarice Pronschinske and settled in Milwaukee. He met Clarice at the Prairie Moon Dance Hall, just south of Cochrane. He went to school to become a journeyman machinist and specialized in machine repair/re-build, he always told people he was a "machine repairman."
Merlin worked at many places in Milwaukee and endured many job cutbacks and layoffs. He was most proud of his time at AC Electronics (General Motors), where he worked on machines that built guidance/gyro systems for the early rockets for manned space flight and was part of the team that built the guidance systems for the Apollo Moon Missions, at the AC Electronics factory in Oak Creek, Wis.
He loved hunting and fishing and was a collector of all sorts of fishing gear and guns. If there was some sort of new reel, or lure, Merlin would have to have one.
Merlin and Clarice moved to the La Crosse area after retirement, to be near to his favorite Mississippi River fishing spots and their relatives. Merlin enjoyed visits from his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, there was always a sparkle in his eye when they visited.
Merlin spent the last years of his life living in his own house, enjoying his morning trips to Kwik Trip for coffee/cookies and visiting friends. He enjoyed his daily lunch at the La Crosse Family Restaurant, where he met many friends, especially Mike and Mary. We would like to thank the staff there who treated him with kindness.
Merlin is survived by his son, Howard (Nan); daughter, Sharon; grandsons, Nathan (Lindsay), Alva (Mandy), Tony (Lyz); great-granddaughters, Lexi, Aubrey, Brenna, Grace and Kaiya; sisters-in-law, Kathleen Bocchi, JoAnn Lemancik, Delores Pronschinske; and many nieces and nephews.
Merlin was preceded in death by his wife, Clarice (Pronschinske); his parents, Otto and Stella; stepmother, Evelyn; brothers, Glenn Wendland, Allen Wendland; sister, Delores (Wendland) Tandetzke; brothers-in-law, Albert Jr. (Bud) Pronschinske, Harlan Pronschinske, Joe Bocchi, Rob Lemancik, Richard Tandetzke; sister-in-law, Pat (Harlan) Pronschinske; and nephew, Bradley Lang.
Family and friends may call from 10:30 a.m. Feb. 19, until the time of service at 11 a.m. at the Wozney-Killian Funeral Home, 1378 Wilson Ave., Arcadia, followed by a lunch at the Arcadia Country Club. Military burial ceremony at the Buffalo City Cemetery after lunch.
Online condolences may be left at Wozneykillianfh.com. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Merlin's name to the Cochrane VFW Post 10406, PO Box 84, Cochrane, Wis., 54622.
Our family would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the doctors, nurses and professional caretakers of the Gunderson Health System, 3rd floor, who attended to his final days.
Jerry L. Briggs, passed away Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. Jerry was born Sept. 25, 1944, to Frank D. (Jim) and Clara L. (Lawin) Briggs in Sterling, Ill. He attended grade school and high school in Sterling and started to charm his lifelong friends early in life. He loved attending his class reunions. After high school, Jerry entered the Army, 101st Airborne, 320th ARTY BN. His group of friends continued to expand with his fellow paratroopers. Reunions with this group were also a priority for Jerry. Jerry entered college at University Wisconsin-La Crosse and received bachelor of science degree. While in college he tended bar and continued to sky dive competitively. When they needed a pilot to drop skydivers, Jerry got his pilot's license. He learned to fly in a Luscombe, little did he know at the time, that would become his passion. He flew anybody anywhere to build his time. He flew several attorneys around the states in their airplanes and soon was doing leg work for them. That led to his Private Investigators License and soon his own company.
He spent a short time helping with the La Crosse County Sheriffs department, especially during the famous "Oktoberfest." Jerry got his multi engine, instrument ratings and an ATP. He was soon doing more flying, less investigating, and began flying for various corporations in the La Crosse area. He made the move to the airlines, Midway Airlines, and thought he had made it. Midway's bankruptcy brought him back to corporate aviation for a short time until he made the move to Reno Nevada and Reno Airlines. Reno Airlines led to American Airlines, until he retired in 2004.
Jerry made new friends every day and made it a point to keep in touch with them. Each career path led to more friends. Jerry loved to vacation, with a more the merrier mindset. He loved sharing a good time from the early ski trips to Colorado, to warm weather trips to Florida and the Caribbean to Europe Sightseeing and River/Ocean Cruises. He even got "down under." Who could forget those crazy Lake Powell Boat Trips! Jerry joined the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force around 1999. There he with fellow "Colonels" put a World War II B-25 back in the air and gave rides. That was a highlight for him to fly this workhorse of World War II.
Jerry loved a good joke and making people laugh.
Jerry was a member of the American Legion Post 52, La Crosse, retired AA Pilot, Quiet Birdman, member EAA, NRA, AOPA Certified Flight Instructor, sky diver, scuba diver, Type Ratings in King Air, Citation, DC-9, MD-80, 757/767, G-IV, Hawker, also flew a Navajo, Pilatus, RV-4 and B-25. Jerry had over 24,000 hours of "navigating the skies."
Whether you knew Jerry as Jerry, Briggs, Mannix, Red Baron, Captain, Colonel, or Brad Pitt, Jerry believed you should do what you love and love what you do ... and he did!
Jerry is survived by his wife, Peggy Jean Briggs (Woods); son, Kory Lynn Briggs; great-grandchildren, Addisyn Briggs and Gavin Burcham; brother, Jim (Carole) Briggs; nephew, Jerry Walter Briggs (Serena) (Andy, Jimmie and Amanda) and niece, Debbie Sallman (Norm) (Danielle, Nicholas).
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Clara Briggs; and his granddaughter, Tiffany Ann Briggs.
A friends gathering and celebration of life will be planned for June 27, at the American Legion Post #52, in La Crosse.
Joan P. Erickson, 71, of La Crosse passed away Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, at the Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. Funeral services will be announced by the Schumacher-Kish Funeral & Cremation Services of La Crosse.
HOLMEN -- Gary A. Stockers, 72, of rural Holmen passed away suddenly of natural causes at his home Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. Visitation will be held from noon until a time of sharing at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, followed by military honors at the Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services, 907 Sand Lake Rd., Onalaska. Memorials are suggested to the Vince Schute Wildlife Sanctuary, Orr, Minnesota. For a complete obituary and online guestbook, please visit www.schumacher-kish.com.
Robert J. Stephan, 98, of La Crosse passed away Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at Hillview Health Care Center, La Crosse. He was born March 20, 1921, to Peter and Helen (Matuska) Stephan. Robert served his country in the 8th Air Force as a radar operator from 1942-1945. He operated Maple Grove Tavern, Club 14, Party House and built Port's O Call. He then moved to California, where he owned and operated a wall papering business for 20 years. He was also a member of the Mensa High IQ Society. Robert started power lifting in his 60s and held nine World Records, 15 National Records and 10 State Records in the Dead Lift. At the age of 86, he accomplished perhaps his greatest record lifting, an astonishing 308 lbs.
He is survived by his sister, Carol M. Lee. He was preceded in death by his wife, Vera; parents, Peter and Helen; one brother, Raymond; and one sister, Helen Follansbee.
Private burial will be in the Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery at a later date. Memorials in his name can be directed to the Coulee Region Humane Society. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Woodruff Chapel, La Crosse, is assisting the family in their time of need. Online condolences may be offered to the family by visiting the funeral home website at www.jandtfredrickson.com.
Holly "Hollyhox" Storey (Hanson), passed away Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. She was born Aug. 22, 1971.
Holly was a spirited soul who loved life no matter what was thrown her way. Her smile lit up the room and her laugh was very contagious.
She left behind her father, Thom; stepmother, Jackie; brother, LeRoy; two children, Andrew and Robyn; three grandchildren; fiance, Troy; and dog, Spot. She is reunited with her mother, Candice; grandmother, Hazel; and daughter, Alexandria. The world is a better place with her mark imprinted on it.
GALESVILLE -- Kevin Jay McKeeth, 61, of Galesville passed away Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, at the Grandview Care Center in Blair. Memorial services will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the Dickinson Family Funeral Home & Crematory, 515 McHugh Road, Holmen. Friends may visit with the family from 4 p.m. until time of services Wednesday at the funeral home. For a complete obituary and online condolences please visit www.dickinsonfuneralhomes.com.
LeSandra Judy Wheeler, passed away Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. Born Dec. 14, 1942, in La Crosse, to John N (Jack) and Lilah (Brenengen) Johnson, where they lived on a farm in Stensven Coulee. She graduated High School from Galesville-Ettrick in 1961.
As a child, she suffered two bouts of rheumatic fever, being bedridden for weeks at a time. Sandy and Terry met outside of the theater in Blair, after a movie, while they were still in high school. Their first meeting resulted in a late-night car ride and hunting watermelons.
They married Jan. 26, 1963, a very, very cold and snowy day, at the Living Hope Church, in Ettrick. Terry and Sandy worked together at ETCO in Ettrick. Sandy later worked at the Blair Lefse Co. Tim came June 27, 1964. Sandy started the Midtown Cafe in 1968, in Blair, which she ran until 1978, when she sold it to Amy Tenneson. Then the youngest and last son, Jon, was born May 1, 1974.
Not soon after, Sandy went to GVCC to manage the Dietary /Kitchen Department for 18 more years. Sandy retired at 60 years of age from GVCC, she worked there from 1984 to 2002. Sandy served on the Blair City Council for a term and a half. She was particularly happy to have been on the city council when the City Hall was saved and remodeled.
She was also involved in MNC and was a past president. Sandy ran the Blair Cheese Fest parade for many years. Sandy further enjoyed being members of MA & PA Bowling, the welcoming committee at the church and she served at the annual Lutefisk dinner. Sandy and Linda Nereng started the Christmas "2nd St. Lighting," which lit the streets with the glow of candle lights and grew into the whole town with many-valued helpers, continuing the tradition today!
Sandy and the MNC started the Blair flower beautification project, hanging flower pots in the Blair business district, later she continued to run it with the help of Terry for years. You would often see them in the truck and trailer watering the plants in the early morning hours.
Sandy made every effort to beautify her yard with many flowers, trees and landscaping, including a large pond. The floral abundance created a haven for birds which she was fond of.
Tim and Julie got married in 1985. Not soon after Jon and Amy married in 1998, with two beautiful granddaughters, Madison in 2004 and Nora in 2010. Sandy enjoyed very much being a grandmother. Sandy enjoyed the company of several pets; most noteworthy was a Pomeranian named Buffer and in later years she had four Shih Tzu's named Buttons, Bow, Tinkerbell and Lucy.
Sandy and Terry enjoyed going to Florida, for the winter in their RV, making even more friends than they already have.
Sandy is survived by her devoted husband, Terry; sons, Tim and Jon, with their wives, Julie (Tranberg) and Amy (Brueggen); granddaughters, Madison and Nora; Sandy's surviving sisters and brothers, Jerome and Deanna (Salmonson) Johnson of Ettrick, Bernie and Linda Byrne of Ettrick, George and Laurie Knutson of Black River Falls, Joey and Audra (Quarne) Johnson of Ettrick; brother-in-law, Burton Wheeler of Evansville, Wis. Sandy is preceded in death by her parents, Jack and Lilah Johnson; in-laws, Archie and Teresa (Kindschy) Wheeler; and sister-in-law, Donna (Stensven) Wheeler and Carol (Klimek) Johnson.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the Blair Lutheran Parish West Building, in Blair. Visitation will be held from 4 until 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the Blair Lutheran West Building. Burial will follow the service in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery.
Kratz Funeral Home-Portage (www.kratzfuneralhome.com) is assisting the family with arrangements.
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. -- Helen M. Edgar, 91, of Junction City passed away peacefully at Geary Community Hospital Friday, Jan. 3, 2020.
A memorial service was held Saturday, Jan. 18, at Mass-Hinitt Funeral Home. Inurnment will take place at a later date at the Kansas Veterans' Cemetery, along side her husband, Lloyd E. Edgar. Lloyd preceded her in death March 29, 2008.
Helen was born May 20, 1928, Courtney, N.D., to Albert E. and Hannah G. (Wang) Ness. Raised in the Lanesboro, Minn., area, later graduated from Central High School in La Crosse.
Helen Ness and Lloyd Edgar were united in marriage Jan. 4, 1947, in La Crosse. After their wedding, Lloyd joined the U.S. Army, where they began their life journey.
Helen is survived by one daughter, Nancy Weary (Robert Jr.) of Evergreen, Colo.; two sons, Terry Edgar (Lisa) of Wichita, Kan., and David Edgar (Marie) of Pueblo West, Colo.; grandchildren, Brian Weary, Eric (Nicole) Weary, Bryce (Shelby) Edgar, Ross (Teresa) Edgar, Loren (Taylor) Edgar, Katie (Seth) Smith; 10 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews, who will miss her greatly. One of her latest happy times was the Ness cousin reunion in La Crosse this past fall.
She was preceded in death by three older sisters and three older brothers.
VIROQUA -- Margaret "MJ" Jane Long, 88, of Viroqua died Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020.
A funeral service for MJ will be at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, at the Vosseteig-Larson Funeral Home in Viroqua. Pastor Yvonne Marshall of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will officiate. Friends may call on the family from 3 until 4 p.m. during a visitation one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. A luncheon reception will follow the service.
MJ did not like making decisions, so family knows she would not be able to choose just one organization to be her "favorite." Therefore, in lieu of flowers, family is requesting donations to any local charity of Donor's choice.
Online condolences may be offered at www.vossfh.com. The Vosseteig-Larson Funeral Home, 123 W. Decker St., in Viroqua is serving the family, (608) 637-2100.
Fay Lynn Mueller, 57, passed to her heavenly home Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
A celebration of Fay's life has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21, at Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services of Onalaska. Further details will be announced in a compete obituary to follow.
MINDORO — Sara Ann Pfaff, 86, of Mindoro passed away Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at Gundersen Health System, La Crosse. She was born Feb. 6, 1934, to Hugh and Susan (Amborn) Smith, the youngest of five children. She attended Mindoro High School and graduated in the class of 1952. She married Arlen Lee Pfaff April 2, 1954, at the Mindoro Lutheran Church. To that union, three children were born. Sara worked at St. Francis Hospital until the birth of their first son, Steven. She then became a stay at home mother and housewife. Sara and Arlen farmed together in Mindoro throughout their married life where they raised their two children. It was not uncommon for Sara to be seen driving tractor or baling hay while Arlen was at work. Sara was actively involved in her children’s 4-H projects and was always there to help them prepare for the fair, including washing sheep, making signs, and getting the show box ready to go. Sara was constantly taking care of people throughout her life including her father, her husband, and her son, along with others that lived with them over the years. Sara was always helping others, whether it be taking food to individuals or lending a helping hand. She was a lifetime member of the Mindoro Lutheran Church and actively served on the WELCA for many years.
Sara enjoyed her grandchildren and was active in their lives. She attended her grandchildren’s basketball games, hockey games, ice skating, and other school functions. She never missed going to the fair to watch them show and always enjoyed attending the livestock auction. Sara was very proud of her five great-grandchildren as well.
Sara is survived by her daughter, Shari (Scott) Bockenhauer of Mindoro; four grandchildren, Dakota (Gretchen) Bockenhauer, Kally (Kegan) Koch, Jeremy Pfaff, and Brenda Rush; five great-grandchildren, Cora and Colt Bockenhauer, Brecklyn Koch, and Kingston and Pepper Pfaff; and one sister, Jane (Bob) Everitt.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; two sons, Steven and infant son, Mark; one brother, Arnold Smith; and two sisters, Jean (Norman) Lang and Geraldine (Art) Hamilton.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, at Mindoro Lutheran Church. Pastor Alyssa Mitchell will officiate. Burial will be in the Farmington Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, and from 9:30 a.m. Tuesday until the time of service, both at Mindoro Lutheran Church.
Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Jostad Chapel, West Salem, is assisting the family in their time of need. To offer Sara’s family online condolences, please visit the funeral home website at www.jandtfredrickson.com.