Eernisse Funeral Home
171 North Royal Avenue
Belgium, WI 53004
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Lester Bares

1923 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
Lester Bares Obituary
Lester J. Bares

Lester J. Bares of Merrill, Wisconsin, passed away at Bell Tower Residence Hall on Thursday, May 9, 2013, with his wife, Janet, by his side. He was 90 years old.

Lester was born on February 23, 1923 in the Town of Belgium, Wisconsin. He was the youngest of eleven children born to Engelbert and Mary Thomes Bares.

On April 7, 1945, Lester was united in marriage to Janet Ott at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Belgium. The couple settled in Belgium and were blessed with seven children. In his early years, Lester worked with his father and several brothers in operating Wayside Dairy, which his father established in 1927. In 1944, he and his brothers Edwin and Walter took over ownership of the dairy. In 1964, Lester founded the Belgium Community Center along with four brothers, one brother-in-law and one cousin.

In 1969, Lester and his son James purchased Lincoln Lanes, a bar and bowling facility in Merrill, Wisconsin, which they operated in partnership until his retirement in 1985. In 1974, father and son expanded the facility with construction of a commercial kitchen and large banquet hall with seating for up to 600 guests. Les & Jim's Lincoln Lanes is now third-generation owned and operated.

Lester was a longtime member of Holy Cross Parish in Belgium as well as St. Robert's and St. Francis parishes in Merrill. While living in Belgium, Lester was well known for his extensive church and community service. He was instrumental in establishing, promoting and managing many area youth and adult baseball and basketball leagues. He continued his community service in Merrill as a member of numerous church, civic and sports organizations.

Lester is survived by his wife of 68 years, Janet and their seven children; James (Jan) of Merrill, WI Elaine (Thomas) Semrau of Dallas, TX; Lester, Jr. (Rose Elliott) of Charlottesville, VA, Richard (JoAnn) of Oshkosh, WI, Michael (Lila) of Fargo, ND, Patrick (fiancé Lisa Mazzie) of West Bend, WI and Janet (Robert) Starck of Cadott, WI. He is further survived by 18 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, one sister, Elisa (the late Elmer) Bauer of Fredonia, WI, sister-in-law Rita (the late Bernie) Buser of Saukville, nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Engelbert and Mary; seven brothers; Alois (Melvina), Louis (Margaret), George (Cecelia), Sylvester (Rosalia), Edwin (Betty), Clarence (Eleanor) and Walter (Violet); two sisters; Marie (George) Jacoby and Leona (Joseph) Buechler, grandchildren Colleen Mary Semrau and Shaun Robert Starck and brother-in-law Joe (Alice) Ott.

There will be a Memorial Mass held at 2:00 p.m. at St. Francis Church, Merrill on Wednesday, May 15. On Thursday, May 16, visitation will be held at Eernisse Funeral Home, Belgium, Wisconsin from 3:00 - 5:30 p.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at Divine Savior Parish - Holy Cross Chapel in Belgium at 6:00 p.m. Burial will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery. The Eernisse Funeral Home in Belgium is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be left at

Published in Sheboygan Press on May 13, 2013
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