Kermit C. Guenther, 89, of Rhinelander, died Feb. 26, 2012, at his home. He was born on Sept. 1, 1922, in Rhinelander, the son of Charles and Ruth Guenther.
Mr. Guenther grew up on the south side of Rhinelander near Pioneer Park. He graduated from Rhinelander High School with the Class of 1940 and lettered in football for the Hodags. Mr. Guenther attended Ripon College and participated in its ROTC program. He was called to active service in World War II and completed Officer Candidate School before being assigned to duty in Europe as a second lieutenant. He served with the U.S. Army from 1944 to his honorable discharge in 1946. While serving with the U.S. Army, Mr. Guenther married his high school sweetheart, Anne Olson, on May 27, 1944, following her graduation from Ripon College. They spent 67 wonderful years together, and he was devoted to her until his death. Following his discharge from military service, he joined his father in managing the family’s wholesale lumber business, Oneida Cedar and Lumber Co., with offices in downtown Rhinelander. He worked side by side with his father for many years. He later worked in the business office at Coca-Cola Bottling in Rhinelander before concluding his career as business administrator at Headwaters Regional Achievement Center. He was a lifelong member of Zion Ev. Lutheran Church. During his lifetime, Mr. Guenther enjoyed golf, downhill and cross country skiing, bridge, and playing Yahtzee with family members. He was an avid Green Bay Packers supporter and enjoyed watching the Milwaukee Bucks and Milwaukee Brewers on television as well as UW athletic teams. Kermit and his wife Anne spent many happy days at their cottage on Crescent Lake.
Mr. Guenther is survived by his wife, Anne of Rhinelander; two sons, Robert (Julie) Guenther of Manitowoc, WI and Thomas Guenther of Fond du Lac, WI; one daughter, Mary Ann (Thomas) Pavlik of Beecher, IL; five grandchildren, Isaac (Kierstin) Guenther of Elizabethtown, NY, Anna Guenther of Kaukauna, WI, Shanna (Nikolaus) Ratzburg of Tucson, AZ, Andrew (Lauren) Pavlik of New Lenox, IL, and Valerie Pavlik of Beecher, IL; and one great-grandson, Max Ratzburg of Tucson, AZ. He is further survived by a sister-in-law, Phyllis Wheatlake of Colorado, nieces and nephews, other relatives, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Lois Dane and Joan Guenther; and three brothers-in-law.
Funeral services were held March 1 at Zion Ev. Lutheran Church with Rev. Matthew Schoell officiating. Interment was in Forest Home Cemetery. The family would like to express special thanks to caregivers Beth Sachse and Karen Statezny and to neighbors Bill and Pat Collier and John and Joan Kucharski. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, a memorial will be established in Mr. Guenther’s name for the benefit of Headwaters Regional Achievement Center and contributions may be directed in care of his family.
(Carlson Funeral Home)