Herald Journal Obituaries


William P. “Bill” Sawatzke

William P. “Bill”/“Uncle Bill” Sawatzke, age 64 of Waverly, died peacefully in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 31, 2005 at his home.

He was born April 5, 1940 in Maple Lake, the son of Albert and Gertrude (Stotko) Sawatzke. Bill was baptized at the Church of St. Timothy in Maple Lake.

He graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Waverly in 1958.

William and Karen M. Guggemos were joined in holy marriage May 2, 1964 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Winsted. God blessed their marriage with four children: Mary, Wendy, Joel, and Neal.

Bill and Karen made their home in Waverly, raising their family on Little Waverly Lake, where Bill taught his children to water-ski and fish.

He was a proud member of the Asbestos Workers Local 34 for over 30 years, mostly working for E & S Insulation.

Bill worked hard and enjoyed life to the fullest. He enjoyed fishing, playing cards (mastering euchre), and driving classic cars.

Retiring at age 60, Bill built his new home, “the Shed,” for playing poker and watching the Vikings with his boys, nephews, friends, and family.

Each winter, Mille Lacs Lake called and Bill spent countless hours fishing, perhaps sneaking off to play cards from time to time.

Most of all, Bill spent retirement enjoying family, strengthening bonds with his wife and children, and absolutely loving his role as a grandfather.

While Bill showed true, inestimable strength and determination in his battle with cancer, we remember him for his (somewhat grumpy) smile, his sometimes tough, always unquestionable, love; and selfless concern for his family.

He was a faithful member of the Church of St. Mary in Waverly.

Bill is survived by his loving wife, Karen M. Sawatzke; children Mary Sawatzke of Buffalo, Wendy (Tim) Gruenes of Becker, Joel (Julie) Sawatzke of Howard Lake, and Neal (Megan) Sawatzke of Delano; seven grandchildren: Matthew, Jake, Mariah and Jordan, Evan and Zoe, and Justin; a brother, Lawrence (Geri) Sawatzke of Crosslake; sisters Delores Paul of Grand Forks, Elinor Franke of Buffalo, and Catherine (Larry) Gunderson of Delano; brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, other relatives, and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, “Al” and Gertrude Sawatzke; sisters Helen and Anne Marie Sawatzke; a brother Robert Sawatzke; brothers-in-law Arnold Franke and Herb Paul.

A Mass of Christian Burial took place Friday, Feb. 4 at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of St. Mary in Waverly. The Rev. Timothy Cloutier was the celebrant, and interment followed at St. Mary’s cemetery.

Mae Wannarka was the organist for the Mass, and special music was provided by Jason Deiter. Dan Herbst was the reader.

Visitation was Thursday, Feb. 3 from 4 to 9 p.m. at the church.

Honorary casket bearers were Bill Rathkamp, Ken Larson, Ken Decker, Woody Lachermeier, Val LePage, Bill Jones, Dick Painschab, and Dan Herbst.

Casket bearers were Matt Laqua, Mike Paul, Jeff Gunderson, Dick Sawatzke, Dan Sawatzke, and Dale Sawatzke.

The Chilson Funeral Home in Winsted served the family.

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