Obit: Wittek, Shirley (1929 – 2015)


Surnames: Wittek, Keskimaki, Karaba, Rasmussen

Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, WI) 19 Jun 2015

Wittek, Shirley (19 MAR 1929 – 8 JUN 2015)

Shirley Wittek passed away on Monday, June 8, 2015, following a tragic car accident that happened earlier that day.

The world was rewarded by her birth on March 19, 1929 in the township of Hoard in Owen, WI. Shirley was born to Frank and Irja (Keskimaki) Smith, she attended the Hoard Center School in rural Owen and is a member of the graduating class of 1946 from Owen High School. During her commute to her job in Milwaukee following high school, Shirley and her sister Joyce met two brothers, Joseph and Eugene Karaba. Shirley and her sister both eventually married the brothers… Shirley, marrying Joseph E. Karaba on October 14, 1948. The couple moved to Milwaukee for a short period of time where their first daughter, Donna, was born, before moving back to the township of Hoard. Some may remember the couple running the gas station in Withee, before settling on their family farm in the Township of Hoard. This union produced a total of ten children. The couple was blessed with a full life on the family farm until the Lord called Joseph home on June 27, 1981, gaining his release from cancer.

After Joe passed away, Shirley moved into Withee, where she worked various jobs including the O-W IGA. On March 13, 1991, Shirley found love again, and married Frank Wittek of Withee. Shirley and Frank were active in the community and could be seen calling bingo at Owen and Withee days, attending both the Catholic and Lutheran church services, and of course, supporting not only Shirley's family, but attending Frank's family's activities as well. Shirley cared for Frank in sickness and in health until his passing in 2010.

When thoughts of Shirley cross the minds of local people, they will think of her attending every single sporting event, concert, school play, or any activity where she could show her love and support for her family. The legacy of her love of sports will be carried on by countless people who witnessed her devotion right up until days before her passing.

Shirley is now reunited with her parents, Frank and Irja Smith, her husband Joe, her eldest daughter Donna, and her husband, Frank. Her loss will be immeasurably felt by her surviving family, her brother Cliff (Lila) Smith of Janesville, WI; her sister, Joyce (late husband Eugene) of Rochester, MN; her 9 children, 29 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, their spouses, friends and family. Survivors include: the late Donna Karaba's 4 children, 10 grandchildren, and Shirley's first great-great-grand child on the way; Rod (Pat) Karaba, their 4 children and 3 grandchildren; Bonnie (Larry) Rasmussen, their 4 children and 5 grandchildren; Joan (Mitch) Zegers, their 3 children and 5 grandchildren; Sharon (Lenny) Baures, their 4 children and 6 grandchildren; Tammy Karaba, her son and grandchild; Peggy (Al) Goerlitz, their 5 children and 3 grandchildren; Randy (Kris) Karaba, their two children; Jana (Mark) Fortuna, their two children; and Rob (Marie) Karaba, their 3 children, 1 grandchild a second grandchild on the way.

The family would like to thank the Chaplain and staff at the Surgical ICU at St. Joseph's hospital for their compassion during their difficult time, along with Pastor Bonnie for saying the final prayer as Shirley earned her angel wings.

At Shirley's request, the immediate family had a private graveside ceremony this past Saturday. It was her wish that there be no public funeral services. If you would like to pay your respects, members of the community will be hosting a Celebration of life at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Withee this coming Sunday, June 21, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Desserts and coffee will be served.

It is very important to the family to honor Shirley's memory. In lieu of monetary gifts to the family, we are asking that all donations be made to "The Bleacher Fund" at Owen-Withee High School. Our wish is to have the bleachers replaced in the high school gym, and have Shirley's name placed on the bleacher where she sat countless times for the past three generations.

Shirley was truly one of God's angels who walked among us, and now has her wings. We all may be questioning why she was called this way… but we can find comfort knowing she is now blissfully free.



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