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Bernice Wetterau, age 93, of Athens, passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 21, 2021 at Athenian Living in Athens, while under the care of St. Croix Hospice. She was born to the late Ervin and Antona Luedtke on February 2, 1927 at home in the town of Berlin. She was baptized on February 20, 1927 and confirmed on March 29, 1942 at St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ in Merrill. When she was 15 years old, she began working at Fromm Bros. in Hamburg, where she worked with the ginseng and watered the mink pens. She also pinned fox tails so the fur would turn out right; pinned incorrectly, the fur would be no good. While working there, she met her husband-to-be, Norman Wetterau. The two began dating and eventually married on January 25, 1947 in Merrill, when Bernice was 20 years old. Sadly, he preceded her in death.
In her early years of her marriage, she stayed home as a housewife and mother. Bernice and her husband had three children: Paulette, Kathleen, and Russell (who had sadly passed away). When her children were old enough, Bernice began working again. She painted and varnished woodwork for people around the community; she would also do wallpapering at times. She worked all over (Hamburg, Wausau, etc.). She would even climb roofs to paint eavesdrops if clients asked. When the new Lutheran church was built in Hamburg, she was hired to do all the staining and varnishing of the woodwork there (something she was quite proud of and remembered fondly).
Eventually, Bernice started a cleaning business. She worked both in private homes and the WCA factory. As one can tell, Bernice had a very strong work ethic; she worked until she was 82 years old, and that was only because her back could not physically handle the work anymore. She wished she could still do it, because she truly loved cleaning (and working, in general). In fact, she mentioned how people she had worked for would love it if she could come and clean for them again!
Bernice was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in the town of Hamburg.
Bernice is survived by her daughters: Paulette Robinson of Merrill, with her children: Chris (Lisa) Czech, with children: Emily (Tucker) Roesler and Derek Czech and Mike (Lynn) Czech, with their children: Valerie and Vanesa Czech and Kathleen (Kenneth) Brice of Athens, with their children: Matthew (Ann) Brice, with children: Katinna and Nicole, Becky (Mark) Vanrixel, with children: Joshua, Abigail and Elizabeth Vanrixel, great great grandchildren: Skyla, Braxton and one soon to arrive, daughter-in-law: Sheri Wetterau, with her children: Tonya (John) Becker, with children: Audrey and Peyton and Jessica Wetterau and sister: Rose Marie Plautz. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband: Norman Wetterau, son: Russell Wetterau, grandson: Jeremy Brice, son-in-law: Ben Robinson, sister: Elvira Hoeft and brother-in-laws: Ervin Hoeft and Art Plautz.
Upon Bernice’s request, a private funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2021 at 5pm at St. John’s Lutheran Church in the town of Hamburg, with a private visitation prior to the service. Rev. Donald Love will officiate. Burial will take place at a later time at the St. John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bernice’s name may be directed to St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Masks are required for all attending and social distancing will be practiced.
Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences are encouraged and may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.
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