Obit: Wavrunek, James J. (1936 - 2014)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Wavrunek, Collins, Speier, Pichler, Schirra

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co, WI) 5/14/2014

Wavrunek, James J. (21 April 1936 - 23 April 2014) With Flag

James J. Wavrunek, 78, of New Holstein died April 23, 2014, in Appleton, after a long struggle with Leukemia.

James was born April 21, 1936, in Black River Falls to the late Joseph and Edna (Collins) Wavrunek. He was raised in Neillsville, where he graduated from St. Mary’s Grade School and Neillsville High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UW-Stevens Point and over time received his master’s degree.

He served four years in the Navy, attaining the rank of Lt. JG, serving in Japan and the Philippines aboard the USS Kearsarge where he witnessed the launch and descent of the spacecraft piloted by Wally Schirra. After the Navy, he moved to New Holstein to teach biology at New Holstein High School until his retirement.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening, reading and traveling.

Survivors include his sisters, Audrey Speier of Ripon and Kathleen (Arnold) Pichler of Eau Claire; a brother, Thomas (Joan) Wavrunek of Neillsville; and a sister-in-law, Marian Wavrunek of Colby; nieces; nephews; other relatives and friends.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Joseph and Edna Wavrunek; brother, Bernard Wavrunek; nephew Tom Pichler, and Mark Speier; brother-in-law Norbert Speier and many other relatives.

A Memorial Service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 24, at the Sippel Funeral Home, 2618 Altona Avenue New Holstein WI 53061. Military rites conducted by the New Holstein American Legion Post 124 will follow.

A time of gathering for family and friends will be held Saturday, May 24, 2014, at the Sippel Funeral Home from 11 a.m. until the time of services.

A Memorial Fund will be established in his name for a science scholarship at New Holstein High School.

For additional information, please contact the Sippel Funeral Home at 920.898.4300 or visit



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