Diana “DeDe” Lynn Hanke, age 69, of Irma, died after a long and brave struggle with a congenital heart defect and related complications on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 at the Aspirus Wausau Hospital. She was born on May 2, 1949 to the late Matthew and Dorothy (Streich) Van Rixel, in Merrill. Diana graduated from D.C. Everest High School on June 5, 1968. She met and fell in love with David Hanke, and the two exchanged marriage vows on September 27, 1969 at Saint Anne’s Catholic Church in Wausau.
Diana worked for over 25 years as a welder at Wire Products, Northern Wire, and finally ending up at Merrill Manufacturing. She is lovingly remembered as a strong woman that always had a positive attitude. Diana loved animals and would provide shelter for any animal in need. She showed her love for animals by donating to the Lincoln County Humane Society. Diana enjoyed collecting antiques, especially Depression glass and Cherish Teddy Bears. She also enjoyed ceramics, Artex painting, and crochet. Diana had huge raised vegetable gardens at home and canned what she harvested from them. She looked forward to family get-togethers and taking trips to Branson to see the shows. She was a member at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Merrill.
Diana will be greatly missed by her husband: David Hanke of Irma, sisters: Bonnie (Maynard) Breunig of Wausau, Barbara (Ralph) Konkel of Rothschild and Pamela Zimmerman of DeForest, WI, sister-in-law: Barbara Van Rixel of Tomahawk, godchildren: Troy, Shane, Sheri, and Xavier, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents: Matthew and Dorothy (Streich) Van Rixel and her brother: Michael Van Rixel.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Diana will be held on Monday, July 9, 2018 at 11am at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Merrill. Father Chris Kemp will officiate. Visitation will be held on Monday, July 9, 2018 from 9am until the time of Mass, at the church. Burial will immediately follow the Mass at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cemetery.
Family requests that donations be made in Diana’s name to the Lincoln County Humane Society.
Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.