Jan. 27, 2021 Obituaries

Jeffrey “Jeff” Otterson

 Jeffrey “Jeff” Otterson, 67, of Madison, passed away Wednesday, December 30, 2020.

 Jeff was born July 24, 1953, in Whitehall, the son of Lester and Florence (Knutson) Otterson. Jeff grew up in Blair, and was a gifted athlete in football, basketball, baseball and softball. After graduation, he had a variety of jobs across the country: security guard in Beloit; glazier in Texas and Phoenix; landscape artist in LasVegas and mechanic in Seattle. His favorite job was as an over-the-road truck driver, logging an impressive 2.5 million miles plus, accident-free. While on layover in Madison, his pen fell in a phone book right above the name of his high school sweetheart, Karen Stubrud. They renewed in 2000, and married December 27, 2001, in Las Vegas, which was the anniversary of their first date December 27,1969, where they landed in a ditch due to snowy roads. Jeff missed his true calling in life by not becoming a veterinarian. He had a love of all animals, but especially dogs. Karen called him the “dog whisperer” because dogs loved him, even the ones that were supposedly vicious. Jeff had a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone, unless you lost his trust. Losing his trust lost you his loyalty and a good friend. He will be sadly missed by those who got to know the ‘real’ Jeff.

 Jeff is survived by his wife of 19 years, Karen; his mother, Florence of Blair; children: Thomas (Rachel) Otterson, Silver Springs, MD; KariAnne Otterson, Joe Otterson and former wife, Mary Bonkoski, all of the Phoenix, AZ area; stepchildren: Aaron Johnson, Madison and Olivia Johnson, Wisconsin Dells; grandchildren: Annika and Annalise Otterson; and grandson, Isaiah Chavez, who was the light, pride, and joy of this life. They spent many hours together, having very deep conversations, and Jeff used to say Isaiah was way beyond his 12 years of age; brother, Les (Vicki) Baraboo; sister, Carla, Glendale; and brother, Kevin (Traci) of Sahuarita, AZ; nephews: Lars (Stefanie), Hans (Jovan), Bret; and nieces: Shannon (Cody) Fichter and Kylie (Louis) Ives. Jeff is also survived by several aunts and uncles, cousins and also his fur babies: Molly and Lola.

 He was preceded in death by his father, Lester; and maternal and paternal grandparents.

 Donations may be given to the family, animal rescue of your choice or American Diabetes Association.

 Private family services will be held at a later date.


Ann “Annie” C. Bentz

 Ann C. Bentz, 58, of Galesville, passed away peacefully, January 13, 2021, surrounded by her family.

 Ann was born December 7, 1962, to Stanley and Nancy French. In 1989, she married Greg Bentz and in April of 1996, they welcomed their son, Samuel John, to the world. Sam was the love of her life, the center of her world.

 Ann was a lover of life itself. She was humble, kind and considerate of others’ feelings. She lived exactly how she wanted, without regret, and consistently encouraged others to do the same. Always a caring and generous soul, she gave everyone her whole heart. Ann was a phenomenal cook, an avid crafter and often the personal grocery shopper people never even knew they needed. That woman could spot a deal from a mile away! Ann loved her plants and her garden and plunked her butt in the dirt every possible moment, sharing the fruit from her labor of love across the town. Annie loved all animals, but held a special place in her heart for her chickens and literally every single dog she ever met, with the biggest spots reserved for her Boone Doggle, Benni, Squiggle Butt and Tick Tock.

 Ann is survived by her son, Samuel Bentz (Jordan De Young); husband, Greg Bentz, her mother, Nancy French; and siblings: Daniel French (Ann), Megan McCluskey (Dan), and Molly French (Steve). She leaves behind many nieces, nephews, cousins and far too many friends to count. We’d be “full of blue mud” if we tried to name all that she considered friends.

 Ann was preceded in death by her father, Stanley French.

 Our sincerest gratitude to Gundersen Health System’s Care Coordination, Hospice, Oncology and Radiation Oncology for their excellent care and service throughout Ann’s journey.

 There will be a bonfire Celebration of Life in the summer when it’s warm because Annie’s wish is that there be NO SHOES ALLOWED! It’ll be “a hoot.”

 In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to GET Support, P.O. Box 2, Galesville, WI 54630, or the Trempealeau County Humane Society, N27109 U.S. Hwy. 53, Blair, WI 54616.


Terry R. (Tollefson)


 Terry Renee (Tollefson) Kearns, 60, passed away January 18, 2021.

 Terry was born September 25, 1960, to Gaylord and Ardell (Peters) Tollefson. She graduated from Blair High School and later attended UW-La Crosse before transferring to and eventually graduating from UW-Madison with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

 Following college, Terry worked in modeling, real estate and interior design. On August 17, 1984, she married Charles Kearns.

 Terry is survived by her husband, Charles; her mother, Ardell; sisters: Jeni (Dave) Ekern, Peggy (Todd) Austad; brothers: Randy (Mary) Tollefson, Robert (Marlene) Tollefson; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

 Terry was preceded in death by father, Gaylord; sister, Vicky Leque; brother, Danny; and brother-in-law, Wayne Austad.

 A small, private service will be held for family at North Beaver Creek Church at a later date.


Kurtis “Kurt”

B. Trocinski

 Kurtis Benson Trocinski, 51, a long-time resident of Ettrick (French Creek),
departed Tuesday, January 19, 2021, at his home. Kurt was born May 10, 1969.

 It’s with great sadness that the family of Kurtis “Kurt” Trocinski announces that he has passed, and is rejoined with parents Kenneth and Barbara Trocinski, and son, Mike – losses that Kurt grieved for a considerable time.

 Kurt was an extraordinary man and spirit in many ways. He touched numerous lives and was always quick to brighten their day with his smile and light-hearted remarks. A kind and gentle spirit, Kurt relished spending time with family and making memories. He exuded happiness and a sincere joy in connecting with relatives — rehashing memories and making new ones. 

 Kurt was born and raised within the Frenchville area on the family “Little Coulee” dairy farm. He often shared that working alongside his dad and “best friend”, was the best time of his life. It was a time in which they shared their love of cars, tractors, hunting, fishing and even dogs…nothing like a good coon dog!

 Kurt attended and graduated from Blair-Taylor High School, where he made many a good friend and “set fire to the mat” as a champion wrestler. From there he worked the fields and the farm until the retirement of our Dad, and from there shared his physical brawn along with many mechanical, agricultural and people skills with various companies in the area.

 It was often said that there wasn’t a stranger that Kurt didn’t know and whose light humor would light up their day. Always greeting folks with his smile and an authentic “how’s it going”, he brought a chuckle and wit, leaving his unique mark on many. Kurt could be feisty and would do most anything for anyone. He backed both his family, friends and “the underdog”.

 Along with his love for family, he believed in second chances, maybe because he craved another chance for himself along with other addicts he met and supported whenever in recovery. As for many a gentle and sensitive spirit experiencing love and loss, Kurt battled alcoholism. Make no mistake — he never wanted to be defined only by the addiction and mistakes, but by his own reach-outs and lift-ups of others. He longed to be rid of the demons and to be worthy of the love he received from family and friends. He desired to be worthy. Perhaps Kurt’s time with all who knew him will remind us of the importance of understanding and offering a kind word.

 Kurt is survived by his sister, Lana Trocinski-Sacia (Mark Thomley); brother James Trocinski (Robin), son Tyler Roberts (Melissa Anne) and children; godchildren and nieces: Morgan and Katie Sacia; nieces: Ashley, Michelle and Cynthia and families; loving aunts, uncles, cousins and their families (you know who you are!); and friends and neighbors (you know who are!).

 Final thought: Life can be grand — life can be hard. It’s important to laugh hard and love deeply. Always reach out to whom you can with a kind word and an offer for coffee, or tea, or whatever it may be. It makes a difference. Kurt – you will be deeply missed and forever remembered.

 A drive – through visitation is scheduled for Saturday, January 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., at St. Bridget’s Catholic Cemetery in Ettrick, with a private graveside service and blessing for family and close friends following.

 Mailed cards and personal memories may also be sent to: Lana Sacia, W12604 Town Creek Rd. N, Hixton, WI 54635.


Jerome E. Johnson

 Jerome Earl Johnson, 80, of Pigeon Falls, and formerly of Fly Creek, died Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at Pigeon Falls Health Care Center in Pigeon Falls.

 Jerome was born June 11, 1940, in Whitehall to Jimmy and Edna (Christianson) Johnson. He worked at General Motors in Kenosha and then enlisted in the U.S. Army and served during the Vietnam War.

 Jerome farmed, raised hogs, delivered propane and helped Sid Borreson with his heating and air conditioning business. Jerome was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed fishing, hunting bear, deer and turkeys, and was very active in various conservation organizations. One of his favorite pastimes was working with his Redbone Coonhounds.

 Jerome is survived by his special friend, Arlene Severson and her family, especially Linda, Jovey and Kayla; a daughter, Elizabeth Johnson; four step-daughters: Laurie Burt, Terry Andre, Lynn (Brad) Foss and Angie (Ron) Beers; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

 In addition to his parents, Jerome was preceded in death by a brother, Edward.

 Memorial services were held Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at 2:00 p.m., at Jack Funeral Home in Blair. Vicar Paul Sannerud officiated. Burial with military rites conducted by Knudtson-Mattison American Legion Post #231 was at Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Blair.

 Friends could call one hour prior to the service.

 Jack Funeral Home in Blair assisted the family with arrangements.


Charles “Charley”

L. Rippley

 Charles “Charley” Louis Rippley, 87, of Fountain City and formerly of Waumandee died Thursday, January 21, 2021, at Winona Health Clinic in Winona, MN.

 Charley was born December 15, 1933, in upper Danuser Valley, Montana Township, on the original Rippley home farm to Louis and Joann “Jenny” (Rucinski) Rippley.

 Charley graduated from Arcadia High School. He married Adeline Sonsalla, July 7, 1962, at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Arcadia. Together, they farmed in Waumandee. He served in the National Guard, was a member of St. Boniface Catholic Church. Charley was a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters, Farm Bureau, was a director for Foremost Farms, Garden Valley Co-Op, served on the Waumandee-Montana Fire Department, WaumandeeLions Club and had been the chairman of the Town of Waumandee.

 Charley had a great love for music, his three granddaughters and anyone he came in contact with. He not only played in the high school band, but more particularly, producing old-time polka and waltz music. Early in life, he took piano lessons and was able to chord without notes. He progressed to having the ability to accompany another instrument and was often heard playing his accordion. He was often listening to his favorite bands on CD or cassette.

 Charley’s granddaughters have many fond memories of farming with Grandpa. He taught them his love of the land and especially his ability to call the cows in from the pasture with his ‘Ca-Bass’. In 2005, the dairy cows were sold and Grandpa would spend days at the farm waiting for the girls to come home from school, just to see his granddaughters.

 Charley and Adeline enjoyed traveling to Europe and learning about his heritage and the people he met along the way. He was well known in the Waumandee area for his welcoming nature and ability to learn about everyone who visited the Waumandee Recycling Center. His dedication to the community and recycling were his top priority on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

 Charley is survived by his loving wife, Adeline, of 58 years of Fountain City; son, Edward (Laura) Rippley of Waumandee; daughter, Patricia (special friend, Wayne Saathoff) Rippley of Brooklyn Park, MN; three granddaughters: Andrea (Nick Schlais) Rippley, Ella (Erik Twidt) Rippley-Twidt, Anna (John Brägger) Rippley; bother, La Vern (Barbara) Rippley of Northfield, MN; sisters: Elsie (Daniel) Brommer of Waumandee and Phyllis (John) Sonsalla of Darlington; and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; and a sister, Mary Lisowski.

 Friends and family were invited to a visitation (following COVID-19 guidelines), Monday, January 25, 2021, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at Wozney-Killian Funeral Home in Arcadia. A private Funeral Mass was held at St. Boniface Catholic Church, with burial at the church cemetery.

 To express condolences on line please visit www.wozneykillian.com.


Susan K. Drummer

 Susan Kay Drummer, 76, passed away, Friday, January 22, 2021, at her home, due to heart failure, surrounded by her family.

 Susan was born December 6, 1944, in La Crosse, to Benjamin and Marian (Hunter) Medema. She was graduate of Holmen High School. Susan married Harold Drummer, and they later divorced. As one of ten siblings, she grew up in hard times. Being the loving mother that she was, she worked hard while raising two children. Susan worked as a shipping clerk for 37 years at Gale Products in Galesville before retiring in 2006 She was known and loved by many, especially her children and grandchildren. At 5'9", dark brown hair and a beautiful face in her youth, she was known for her integrity and honesty. Susan had the ability to connect with people and animals, including the family dogs, Kiko and Bailey. Visitors were welcomed with the smell of coffee and burned toast with peanut butter.

 Survivors are a daughter, Ruth (Jose Luis) Blancas; her grandchildren: Ashley Miller (Josh Chapman), Thomas (Jamie) Miller; sisters: Virginia Wentzel, Peggy Connally, Ellen Heisz; brothers: Glen, Jerry, Bruce and Gary; and many nieces and nephews.

 Susan was preceded in death by a son, Richard Bena Drummer; and two brothers: Paul and Earl.

 “Find what you like to do and make it a job” was always told to her children and was passed down to her grandchildren.

 The family has entrusted Zwickey Funeral Homes, Galesville Chapel with arrangements. Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, services will be determined at a later date.

Trempealeau County Times

36435 Main St.
P.O. Box 95
Whitehall, WI 54773

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