Kathleen ‘Sparky’ Mae Graap, age 74, of Merrill, passed away on Friday, September 17, 2021, at her residence, while surrounded by her loving family and while under the care of Interim Hospice. She was born on February 9, 1947, to the late Hugo and Evelyn (Nienow) Schleif in Merrill. Kathleen attended and graduated from Merrill High School, and then went to work for Weinbrenner Shoe Company in Merrill. She married the love of her life, Dennis ‘Boomer’ Graap on July 2, 1966, in Merrill. Sadly, he preceded her in death on May 26, 1997.
When Kathleen was younger, her and Boomer would be active in bowling leagues and the Eagles Club. Kathleen retired from Weinbrenner in 2019, after over 50 years of service! She was also a cashier at the Eagles Club part-time and did that for 27 years. Kathleen was very active in the Eagles Club and would help with all their benefits. She looked forward to playing cards with her friends at Jenny Towers, as well as going to the casino playing slot machines, cards, and bingo. Kathleen was a feisty, fun lady that was always up for a good time. Above all, her love for her family was like no other, especially for her beloved grandson, Connor. She looked forward to going to all his events and activities, and even taking a few trips to Disney World and New York. Kathleen was a member at St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ in Merrill and was a member of the Eagles Auxiliary for over 45 years. She fought hard until the end. Kathleen will be missed by all who knew and loved her, but never forgotten.
Kathleen is survived by her daughter: Tammy Stender, grandson: Connor Stender, sisters: Phyllis Rhyner, Margie Lange and Dawn Schleif, sister-in-laws: Eunice Schubert, Virginia McElhaney and Barbara Golisch, brother-in-law: Kenneth Graap and numerous nieces, nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, mother and father-in-law: Dorothy and Charles Graap Sr., husband: Dennis Graap, sister-in-law: Audrey Heuser and brother-in-law: Charles Graap Jr.
A funeral service for Kathleen will be held on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, at 11am at St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ in Merrill. Pastor Mike Southcombe will officiate. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, from 4pm-7pm at Waid Funeral Home, with an Eagles Auxiliary Service at 6pm, and visitation again on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, from 9am until the time of the service, at the church. Burial at Merrill Memorial Park Cemetery will immediately follow the service.
Kathleen’s family would like to express their thanks and appreciation to Interim Hospice for taking such good care of her during her last days, especially Roseann Keen and Rachele Greenwood.
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.