On Tuesday, August 23, 2022, Richard “Rich” Wengelski passed away peacefully, surrounded by the love of his family, at the age of 81.
Rich was born on December 13, 1940, in Knowlton, WI to Michael and Genevieve Wengelski. Rich graduated Mosinee High School in 1959, and on May 20, 1961, married the love of his life, Betty. Betty and Rich built their life in Knowlton and were blessed with three children: Chris, Barbara, and Thomas. Rich was employed by the Mosinee Paper Mill for 41 years, retiring in 2000 as the Head Fireman in the Power Department.
Rich was a man with a tender spirit and a quiet strength who loved the outdoors and nature. He enjoyed watching the many species of birds visit the land he and Betty called home, and birds throughout central Wisconsin have found sustenance and sanctuary in feeders and homes built by his talented hands. He was also an accomplished fisherman and not only loved fly fishing for bluegills but also tying flies and making jigs. And most recently, Rich had been taking his already masterful woodworking skills to the next level by using his lathe to create large replica wooden fishing baits.
Beyond experimenting in his shop, Rich also loved growing new varieties of vegetables in his garden and trying new dishes in the kitchen. He was known for his venison, chicken, potato salad and – for thousands of Lake DuBay Lions Summerfest attendees – he and Betty were known for their world-famous deep-fried cheese curds. The Lions Club was a special organization to Rich as he was a charter member and instrumental in the creation and continued development of the Lions Park in Knowlton.
Beyond Rich’s hardworking nature, active lifestyle, talent in his shop and humble generosity, what those closest to him may best remember and hold dear was the devoted and intense love he and Betty shared for over 58 years until her passing in 2019.
Rich is survived by his children Chris (Diane) Wengelski and Tom (Laurie) Wengelski, grandchildren Jacki (Jesse) Kohls, Michael, Jacob (Sami) and Kelly Wengelski, great-granddaughter, Amanda Wengelski, sister Gladys Bartkowiak, and brothers Jim (Diane) Wengelski and Bill (Judy) Wengelski. Rich was preceded in death his wife, Betty, his daughter, Barb, and his parents, Michael and Genevieve.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 25, 2022, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Knowlton. The Rev. James Trempe will officiate. Burial will be at St. Francis Cemetery, Knowlton. Visitation will take place from 9 a.m. until the time of the services all at the church. Beste Funeral Home, Mosinee is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.bestefh.com. The family would like to thank the staff at Compassus Hospice for their compassionate care.
Rich will be dearly missed and will always be in our hearts.