Obit: Natzke, George Adolph Henry (1912 - 2004)

Contact : Crystal Wendt

Surnames: Natzke, Fuss, Henson, Scheu, Zoellner, Hamlin, Schaffer, Zelinski, Kreie, Ross, Uttech, Hagen, Goetsch, Utech, Pehlke, Leary

---Source: Wausau Daily Herald (Wausau, Marathon County, Wis.) Fri, Feb 27, 2004

---Natzke, George Adolph Henry (4 Mar. 1912 - 25 Feb. 2004)

George Natzke

George Adolph Henry Natzke was born March 4, 1912, and died Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2004, under the auspices of Comfort Care and Hospice Services at Bell Tower Residence in Merrill.
George was born in Mobile, Ala., to Hubert and Flora (Fuss) Natzke. In 1918, the family moved back to Wisconsin, where the family was originally from, and in 1919, resettled near Merrill, in the town of Pine River, where his father bought and operated a cheese factory. On Nov. 28, 1934, George married Myrtle Henson in Merrill.

In his youth, George was employed with the family cheese factory in Pine River. At the age of 17, he received his cheese maker's license and served as the manager of a separate cheese factory in the town of Texas. He was a graduate of the Merrill Commercial College. During most of the 1930s he was employed by Fromm Brothers in Hamburg in the silver fox and mink ranching business. From 1940 to 1944 George worked in the logging industry in Watersmeet, Mich., for his uncles, Bill Natzke and John Scheu. In 1946, together with Bill and John, he started Merrill Gravel and Construction Co., from which he retired as President in 1971.

As a young man, George was an avid baseball player and played for the Fromm Foxes team in Hamburg. In the fall of the year, he loved to go deer hunting in the Newwood forest in Lincoln County, where the family has a hunting camp. He often visited friends and relatives who are ranchers in South Dakota, where he enjoyed pheasant hunting and helping with the ranching activities. After his retirement, he made daily trips to Champ's Restaurant, where he enjoyed the camaraderie of friends and staff. He will be deeply missed by his family and many friends.

George was a longtime member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Merrill, where he was a devout member. He especially enjoyed being part of the church choir and was often asked to be the soloist for the choir. Throughout his life he conducted his business and personal affairs in an honest and Christian manner.

Survivors, besides his wife, Myrtle, include five children, James (Bonnie) Natzke of Des Moines, Iowa, Gerald (Nancy) Natzke of Irma, Carol (Greg) Zoellner of Merrill, Sandra Hamlin of LaVeta, Colo., and George R. (Nancy) Natzke of Lodi; 10 grandchildren, Kelly (Natzke) Schaffer, Jay Natzke, Jeffry Natzke, Juli Natzke, Jodi Natzke, Joel Natzke, Kim (Kreie) Zelinski, Douglas Kreie, Marnie (Hamlin) Ross and Brad Hamlin; 15 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Irene (Martin) Uttech of Tomahawk and Grace (Lee) Hagen of Rio Rancho, N.M.; one brother, Herbert (Rosella) Natzke of San Francisco; two brothers-in-law, Marvin Utech and Royal Henson, both of Merrill; and many nieces, nephews and other relatives.

George particularly enjoyed being with his grandchildren and dedicated much of his life to ensuring the well-being of his family. He took particular pleasure in working in his garden and was always eager to share the fruits of that garden with family and friends.

George was preceded in death by his parents, Hubert and Flora; a brother, Ralph, who died in infancy; three sisters, Ada Goetsch, Eva Utech and Rhoda Pehlke-Utech; two brothers-in-law, John Goetsch and Reuben Pehlke; and two sisters-in-law, Helen Joyce (Loud) Natzke and Marie Henson.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday, March 1, 2004, at St. John Lutheran Church in Merrill. Officiating will be the Rev. Kelly Leary. Burial will take place at Merrill Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Waid Funeral Home, Merrill, and Monday from 9 a.m. until the time of services at the church.

A memorial service will also be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 2, at Bell Tower Residence, Merrill.

Memorials may be made to St. John Lutheran Church, Bell Tower Residence, or the charity of your choice.
The family would like to thank the residents and staff of Bell Tower for their friendship and compassionate care during the time George lived there, particularly during the last several weeks of his life.



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