LaVonne Sarah O’Brien, Baraboo

LaVonne Sarah O’Brien, age 83 of Baraboo passed away on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015 at her home with her family by her side. LaVonne, daughter of Otto and Sarah (Lyon) Schenkat was born Dec. 27, 1931 in North Freedom at the family farm. She was a graduate of Baraboo High School. On Feb. 9, 1952 she was united in marriage to Robert O’Brien at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Baraboo. She was the center of the family. Everyone had a place in her heart, which was so big it had so much love to fill. She reassured everyone, dried their tears and gave them hope and always took time to share their problems and challenges that she took on as her own. They always say “Take on more than you can handle” she did that and then handled it. She urged her children to stay in school and sports and reach as far as they could. She taught her children to cook at her side and made a career out of it. Mom was an accomplished rider of fine horses and was in parades with a smile a mile wide as her horse pranced down the street. She played competitive basketball in school and was a great outside shooter.

She married a dashing Army Sergeant to be and had four fine kids. As time went by she worked for Briggs & Stratton in Milwaukee to add income. It was hard, dirty work but she took great pride in making a quality piston and a union job that was well paid. She later worked in a photo processing center in a technical position that she excelled in and enjoyed. She did this for her family, not herself to have more and to give her children a chance at a better life; to supplement her husband’s hard working management positions.

In 1974 she had sold over a million in real estate, which was a huge number at the time. She won a trip to Vegas which she and Bob enjoyed shows by Elvis, Wilson Pickett, James Brown and others. She soon started her own real estate office and enjoyed success in Illinois and later Wisconsin well into her 60’s. Since retiring she began cooking full time for her family, never missing a beat on all birthdays and holidays.

Survivors include her husband of over 63 years, Bob; children, Bob, Jr., Joseph (Sharon), Ginger (Don) Hughes, Jacalyn (Chris) O’Brien Coren; grandchildren, Andrea, Kelly, Michelle, Tiffany, Nicholas, Benjamin, Dustin, Jonah, Jacob, Kelsey; great-grandchildren, Brendon, Nathan, Madeline, Ella, Hadley, Jace, Lilliana, Natalie; sister-in-law, Lola Huber; special niece, Diane Smith; as well as nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents and four siblings.

Private family graveside services will be held at Oak Hill Cemetery.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Randy Krszjzaniek and Agrace Hospice for the wonderful care shown to LaVonne.

She is our rock, our fountain of love and inspiration and embodies all that is kind and good. God bless and keep our dear mother.

Elaine June Alwin, Baraboo

Elaine June Alwin passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015 at St. Clare Meadows Care Center. Elaine was born January 31, 1927, daughter of Walter and Barbara (Accola) Luck in the town of Sumpter. Elaine attended Hillside School and Prairie du Sac High School. While attending high school she worked at Sauk City Telephone Office. Elaine married Ralph Alwin on Dec. 18, 1944; they both were employed at the powder plant and lived in Sumpter. She spent 21 years at Maplewood Nursing Home as a Physical Therapist Aid; she retired from Maplewood in 1992. Elaine was employed at Wal-Mart as a door greeter for thirteen years. One of her greatest joys was spending time with family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She is survived by one son, David (Susan) of Baraboo; grandson, Brian (Samantha); granddaughter, Pam (Tyson) Duhr, four great-granddaughters, Jade, Alexis, Kristine, Clare and great-grandson, Kevin, all of Baraboo; she is further survived by her sister, Jeanette Schulenburg of Reedsburg; brother, Ralph Luck of Prairie du Sac as well as extended family, Gloria and Don Ryan of Reedsburg and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Ralph; sisters, Alice Ehl, Verna Becker, Ann Wilhelm; brothers, Edgar, Andrew, Ivan, John and Elmer Luck; and sisters-in-law, Lydia Wilhelm, Ethel Luck, Muriel Luck and Janice Luck.

Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015 at 11 a.m. at Redlin Funeral Home, 401 Madison Ave. in Baraboo with Pastor Blake Overlien officiating. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of service at the funeral home. Burial will follow the service at Ragatz Cemetery in Honey Creek Township.

Donald E. Rau, Salinas, CA









Donald Edward Rau, aged 86, passed away at home on Saturday, October 10, 2015 surrounded by love. Don was born on April 3, 1929 to Marguerite and John Rau. Just as his mother had been before him, he was born on his grandparents’ farm near Devil’s Lake in Baraboo.

He was baptized and then later confirmed at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baraboo. He attended St. John’s School from first through eighth grades. He graduated from Baraboo High School in June 1946. Don was employed during the summers of 1943 through 1946 at the South Shore Lodge at Devil’s Lake.

With his father’s written permission (as he was underage), he enlisted in the Army of the United States in September 1946. He served in Company I of the 27th Infantry Regiment (nicknamed the “Wolfhounds”) of the 25th Infantry Division (“Tropic Lightning”), which included a tour of duty in Japan. He was honorably discharged in February 1948.

Don worked as an administrative assistant to the commanding officer and the administrative officer at Badger Ordnance Works in Baraboo before joining the Foreign Service where he represented the U.S. as the Clerk of the Consulate in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He temporarily resigned from the Foreign Service in order to enroll at the University of Florida where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations in June 1958. In June 1957, he proposed to his girlfriend, Martha Gibbons, also of Baraboo, whom he’d met the old fashioned way (in a bar), and the two were married on September 8, 1957, at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baraboo. After graduation Don rejoined the Foreign Service and as a 32-year Foreign Service Officer, Don represented the U.S. overseas in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Chennai, India; Berne, Switzerland; Kathmandu, Nepal; Hong Kong; and Canberra, Australia.

Don retired with Martha to Salinas, California where he enjoyed traveling, drinking cheap coffee, and writing essays and true tales.

Survivors include his wife, Martha of Salinas, California; children, Gail (William) Racherbaumer and Jeffrey (Laura) Rau; siblings, Dorothy Pfhistner and Katherine “Totsie” Jackson; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter, Lynn Rau; and siblings, Robert “Bud” Rau, John “Jack” Rau, Marilyn Cady, and Harold “Butch” (Judy) Rau.

The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to the Hospice of the Central Coast, his wonderful caregivers, and especially Adriana who brought much joy into his life.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, October 19, 2015 at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baraboo, Wisconsin. In lieu of flowers, Don would have preferred donations to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) or St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Redlin Funeral Home is assisting the family.


Bernice A. Leifer, North Freedom

Bernice Audrey Leifer, age 86, of North Freedom passed away on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at the Reedsburg Senior Life Center surrounded by her family. She was born the daughter of Howard and Ruth (Zick) Hill on April 30, 1929 in Honey Creek Township. Bernice was united in marriage to Leon Dale Leifer, he preceded her in death in 1990.

Bernice enjoyed spending time with her family, playing cards, cooking, and gardening. She took pride in being able to take care of her family and babysitting whenever she was needed. Bernice will be greatly missed by all those whose lives she touched.

She is survived by her five children, David (Annette) Leifer, Jerald (Yvonne) Leifer, Susan (John) Bell, Linda (Joe) Gray, JoEllen (Dennis) Anstett; twelve grandchildren, Stephanie and Shalyn Leifer, Jennifer Leifer, Brenda (Josh) Zeman, Melanie (John) McLaughlin, Sarah (Tim) Steiner, Meagan (Matt) Kahl, Hollie Bell, Amanda Gray (Kurt Hering), Dan Anstett, Kyle Anstett (Katlyn Kelley), and Grace Anstett;  ten great-grandchildren, as well as many other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Dale; a great-granddaughter, Sabrina; as well as a great-grandchild, Morgan.

Funeral Services will be held at 11am on Friday, October 16, 2015 at the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in North Freedom with Pastor Andrew Meyer officiating. Visitation will be held from 9:30am until the time of service at the church. Burial will immediately follow service at the Oak Hill Cemetery in North Freedom. Memorials may be made to the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in North Freedom or the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin in Bernice’s name, 517 N Segoe Rd #301, Madison, WI 53705. The Redlin Funeral Home is assisting the family.


Francis John Miller, Baraboo

Francis John Miller, age 97, of Baraboo passed away October 7, 2015 at St. Clare Meadows.

Francis is survived by his daughter Dorothy (Husband, Jerry) Gragg of Salesville, AR; sister Florence Simon of Campbellsport, WI; two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Francis was preceded in death by his wife, Mary; three sisters and two brothers.

Burial will take place at St. Matthew’s Catholic Cemetery in Campbellsport, WI at a later date. Redlin Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Jacqueline Ann “Jackie” Sprecher, Baraboo

Jacqueline Ann “Jackie” Sprecher, age 85 of Baraboo passed away on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015 at St. Clare Meadows Care Center with her family at her side. Jackie, daughter of Harry and Emma Bazzill was born Aug. 28, 1930 in Baraboo. She was a graduate of Baraboo High School, Class of 1948. On July 28, 1950 she was united in marriage to Rodney Sprecher at Trinity Episcopal Church in Baraboo.

Jackie was a tireless volunteer at many local organizations including St. Clare Hospital, the food pantry, the blood bank, and Trinity Church to name a few. When her three sons were growing up she kept her home open and welcoming to her son’s friends. Travel to destinations in the United States and Foreign countries was a big part of Jackie’s life. She especially enjoyed traveling the United States with Rod in their various motor homes. When her grandchildren were younger they often got to travel the country with grandma and grandpa. Jackie was a loving wife, mother and grandmother who was always willing to lend a hand to others. She will be missed by her family and friends. 

She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Rodney; sons, Jeff (Gail), Dan (Susan), Brett (Kim); grandchildren, Bryce, Hillary, Justin (Kate), James; sister, Audrey (Rex) Thomas; brother, Clint Bazzill; brothers and sisters-in-law, Nola Sprecher, John Sprecher, Leonard “Bud” (Demi) Sprecher, Shari Schell, Janis Bazzill; as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Roger Bazzill; half sisters, June Pond and Betty Peterson; brothers-in-law, George Sprecher, Tom Schell and Dick Krueger; sisters-in-law, Barb Sprecher, Bonnie Cole, Janet Bazzill and Mary Krueger.

A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015 at 10 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Baraboo with Father Scott Seefeldt officiating. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Redlin Funeral Home as well as at the church on Thursday from 9 a.m. until the time of service. A private inurnment will be held at Lake Delton Cemetery.

The family would like to thank Dr. Hamburg, the staff at Meadow View Memory Care and staff at St. Clare Meadows for their care and compassion to Jackie.