Ellenbecker, Sylvester D.
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Sylvester "Skip" D. Ellenbecker 73, Wausau died Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.
He was born October 17, 1939 in Wausau son of Sylvester T. and Hattie (Rodman) Ellenbecker.
Skip was the eldest of 16 children growing up on the family farm south of Athens in the Town of Wuertzburg. After completion of high school he worked for approximately 10 years in construction. He started Ellenbecker Construction in 1968 consisting of two employees, specializing in brick and block masonry foundations and flat concrete jobs.
He relocated his business after the second year to the junction of Hwy 29 and 97 for convenience and better business exposure. By 1972, Skip became the CEO of his newly incorporated business, changed it's name to S.D. Ellenbecker, Inc. He employed 15 people and gradually changed the company's focus to include commercial and farm construction projects. Currently the company employs 40 full-time and seasonal employees and completes jobs across the United States.
His passion was construction but he always dreamed of opening a restaurant. His dream came true four years ago when he became an investor in the now successful Red Eye Brewing Company. He was especially fond of testing the new microbrews and critiquing the seafood entrees.
At age 39, Skip met his wife, T in Tomahawk where he owned a cottage on Lake Nokomis. He proposed to her on Valentine's Day 1980. They were married in Tomahawk at St. Mary's Church on June 5th, 1981. They raised their two children in Tomahawk, commuting to work in Wausau. In 1991 they relocated to the Wausau area.
As a young man, Skip was a baseball catcher for Mason Lanes in Athens following in his father and mother's footsteps. The whole family being sports enthusiasts, they participated in and attended baseball, softball, football and wrestling over the years. He was an avid bowler. Many days were spent at their cottage on Lake Nokomis fishing, boating, and entertaining family and friends. He fancied himself a grill master. He loved to travel by plane, car, and motorhome or take cruises to visit with family and friends. And, for the last ten years they traveled back and forth to Arizona with their faithful friends, Buster, Petey Paw and Herman Bear.
He was a member of the Wausau Elks Club since 1981, a member of the Associated Builders and Contractors for 32 years, a member of the National Federation of Independent Business Owners for 15 years and a Chamber of Commerce member for the last 12 years. He served on the Board of Directors and a VIP fundraiser for Easter Seals Wisconsin.
Skip was a respected member of the community, a man of integrity and generosity, loved by family and friends and will be missed by all.
Skip is survived by his wife Theodora (T), two children, John (Michelle), Schofield; Ann, Portland; two grandchildren Miranda and Garrett. His mother Hattie, Athens;
Eight brothers: Rodney (Eileen), Kenneth (Nancy), David (Judy), Thomas (Linda), William (Mary), Gerard (Marlene), Daniel (Julie), and Dean (Angie) all from Athens. Seven sisters: Mary Brown, Pocahontas, AR, Shirley (Ferdinand), Athens, Teresa (John) Heier, Athens; Susie, Athens; Judy Drexler, Stratford; Ann (Larry) Weigand, Athens and Lori (Dale) Gajewski, Edgar. Three godchildren: nephew Jonathan Heier, Athens; cousin James Watkins, San Diego, CA; nephew Hannah Ellenbecker, Athens.
Skip was preceded in death by his father, two brothers-in-law Carl Brown and Jerry Drexler.
The funeral mass will be celebrated at Noon Weds. February 20, 2013 at St. Matthew Catholic Church, Wausau. Rev. Robert Thorn will preside. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery, Tomahawk. Friends may call on Tuesday from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 3400 Stewart Avenue, Wausau and again on Weds. from 10:00 a.m. until the time of services at the church. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com
Published in Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune from Feb. 17 to Feb. 18, 2013