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Dennis (Denny) Wautlet

On the morning of March 3, Dennis was embraced in the loving arms of Jesus.  It is hard to capture every minute of his full life of 79 years, 7 months, and 9 days in this short space.  Born July 22, 1942, the second child of Louis and Frieda Wautlet, Dennis spent his young years in downtown Algoma while his parents owned various small businesses.   He graduated from St. Mary grade school in 1957 and Algoma High School in 1960.  At the recommendation of his good friend Larry, Dennis attended the National School of Meat Cutting in Toledo, Ohio.  Upon graduation, he accepted a job with Hal’s Red Owl in Wisconsin Rapids as a meat cutter.  He moved up to other supervisory positions in the company, but his life’s dream was always to own his own business.  This opportunity came along in 1968, when he had the opportunity to purchase the grocery department of Katch’s Department Store in his hometown of Algoma, and Denny’s Red Owl was born!  That set the tone for the rest of our lives.  He loved all those years, especially the people who worked with us, and those who shopped – they became more than customers - they became friends.   Our daughter Jodi purchased the business in 2008, but you couldn’t keep him away.  He was there every day to help and to see all the people who he came to love over the years.  

Dennis and Karen Kersten were married at St. Mary Catholic Church in Algoma on November 3, 1962.  They were soon joined by their 3 daughters, Jodi, Jill and Jane.  Over the years, business and family were united as one, as we all worked
together and played together.  Dennis loved all people, so there were many, many gatherings at our home where everyone was welcome and “be sure there is plenty of food!”  

Missing him so much already are his loving wife, Karen, his daughters Jodi Wautlet (husband Mark Sauter), Jill Wautlet, and Jane (Mike) Haase.  He cherished all the time he spent with his five precious grandchildren and only great grandson, Brooks (Gena) Renard and son Ronin, Blair Wautlet (Max Schlise), Will Haase, Isabelle Haase, and Jadyn Coughlin.  Also surviving are his siblings, David Wautlet, Steve (Sue) Wautlet, Julie (Joe) Annoye and Ann Lenz, sister-in-law Vi Wautlet, nieces, nephews, and many, many dear friends.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Louis and Frieda Wautlet, brother Paul Wautlet, and mother & father-in-law Mary & Harry Kersten.

We will celebrate Dennis’ life on Wednesday, March 9 with visitation from 4:00-7:00 PM - concluding with praying the rosary - at Schinderle Funeral Home, Algoma.  Visitation will continue on Thursday morning at St. Mary Catholic Church from 9:00 AM until the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 with Fr. Alvan Amadi and Msgr. James VandenHogen (family friend) concelebrating.  Burial will follow at St. Mary Cemetery.

To honor Dennis’ legacy and his food connection, in lieu of flowers, our family asks that contributions be made to Ben’s Wish.  With the support of many caring people, thus far Ben’s Wish has provided over 150,000 meals to local school children and families in NE Wisconsin living with Food Insecurity issues through the school back-pack program.  See www.BensWish.org.  

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