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It was on Saturday, December 8, 2012 that the Lord called to rest Melvin Elroy "Santa" Klinger at the age of 92.
Melvin was the son of Carl and Clara (Bartelt) Klinger. He was born in the town of Berlin on December 16, 1919. Melvin entered the Lutheran faith by Baptism and renewed his faith by Confirmation and was married all in the German language. He married Vernetta "Mitzie" Jahnke on November 25, 1940.
Besides farming he also worked at the Wausau Iron Works and was a delegate for the Central labor Body of Wausau. He attended conferences and holds a University of Wisconsin Extension certificate as to conducting meetings and holding offices. He also had training in workers education. Melvin worked at Wausau Construction as a welder, field man for Oconomowoc Canning Co. for the Merrill branch in the summer and as a truck driver in winter and salesman for Tempo Store in Wausau. Melvin and Vernetta were well known as operator's of Klinger's Red Granite Bar in the town of Maine and later Klinger's Bar in Marathon City. He retired in 1978 and he and Vernetta moved to Birch Lake in Harshaw where he enjoyed fishing, landscaping, gardening, growing flowers and visiting with many friends.
For many years Melvin and Vernetta enjoyed playing the roll of Santa and Mrs. Claus from Thanksgiving to Christmas. There was never a dull moment. He treasured the smiles of the children and remembers the tears of the elderly when they visited them at convalescent homes during the Christmas season. He will be remembered for his hospitality and great sense of humor. He always had a joke ready for everyone he met as well as refreshments (especially a dish of ice cream or a cold beer).
He is survived by his wife, Vernetta "Mitzie" of Schofield, two sons, James (Jeanne) Klinger of Wausau and Jerry Klinger of Wausau, five grandchildren, Jeffrey Klinger, Julie (Mike) LaVake, Lori Ann (Mike) Jennejohn, Shari (Dave) Berna, Lisa (Kelly) Bryan, five great grandchildren, James and Veronica LaVake,, Heather (Andy) Jennejohn, Joshua (Liz) Jennejohn and Mitchell Bryan, two great great grandchildren, Brent Jennejohn and Austin Rindfleisch all of Wausau, three nieces, two nephews, in-laws and many friends. Melvin was preceded in death by two brothers, Lavern (Laverna) Klinger 4/9/05, Wilbert (in infancy) and two sisters, Selma (Dave)Ostring 1/16/96 and Valeria (in infancy).
Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 501 Stewart Ave., Wausau. Reverend Hans -Juergen Heisinger of Faith Lutheran Church, Harshaw will officiate. Burial will be in St. Matthew Lutheran Cemetery, Marathon City. Visitation will be from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00p.m., Monday at the Helke Funeral Home, 302 Spruce St., Wausau and at the church on Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of services. You may sign our family guest book at helke.com.
Published in the Wausau Daily Herald from Dec. 9 to Dec. 11, 2012