Clifford Gollon

Clifford "Cliff" Gollon

Clifford "Cliff" J. Gollon, 81, of Plover, was taken to be with the Lord, passing peacefully, on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, while praying his daily rosary with his loving wife of 61 years at his side. He had been in ill health for the past several years, courageously and admirably battling Advanced Parkinson's Disease. Cliff was at death's door four times during his journey, miraculously recovering each time and proving himself an inspiration for so many. His commitment to do whatever it took to recover and determination to live, proves miracles do happen. His unending faith, love of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the rosary aided his journey. He is now at peace and no longer suffering.

Cliff was born on October 15, 1931, the son of the late John and Corona (Stephanic) Gollon. He attended schools in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and Escanaba, Michigan. He married the love of his life, Helen T. Brzezinski, on October 8, 1951 at St. Ladislaus Catholic Church, Bevent, Wisconsin. He worked with his mother in the live bait business during summers and worked in the Milwaukee Paper Mill in winters. Cliff and Helen built their first home on North Second Street in Stevens Point, next to the former Country Spa (now Moose Lodge). Their present location, 1200 Post Road, Plover, with the family business attached to the home, was also designed by Cliff.

Cliff worked winters with the Olsen Ice Company, harvesting ice on the Wisconsin River as well. He established Cliff's Bait & Tackle in Plover, Wisconsin in 1961, and that business continues today, 52 years later. He was a skilled craftsman, having custom built ice shanties and sharpening ice auger blades to perfection! Fishermen treasured all that Cliff & Helen offered them. He also established his wholesale live bait business after the passing of his mother in 1966. Cliff worked side-by-side with his loving wife as they delivered live bait throughout the Northern and Central Wisconsin areas. He continued his wholesale live bait business until 1990, at which time he passed the business onto his sons-in-law, Harold "Smitty" Smith and LeRoy Drewa. Cliff's live bait activities included not only live bait harvest and sales, but also trucking bait from the Arkansas area. He took great pride in his live bait hatchery he personally designed in Shantytown, Wisconsin. Cliff was an experienced and highly respected fur trapper, with his expertise in this area leading him to also become a licensed fur buyer. He worked closely with the Hudson's Bay Company of Canada in his fur buying activity.

Cliff was involved in his community as a trustee for the Village of Plover. He was deeply involved in Town of Plover government at the time the Town of Plover became the Village of Plover. Cliff was a very wise and established businessman. In addition to his involvement in the live bait and fur industries, he was an accomplished landlord owning, maintaining, and managing his many properties in the Stevens Point area. His tenants appreciated and respected his kind and gentle heart, and commitment to making people happy.

Cliff enjoyed watching Packer games, casino trips, playing Phase 10 ("skip Chet"), church picnics, polka music, watching game shows and TV court cases, as well as time spent with family and friends. His customers throughout his 52 years with the bait shop - along with customer's children and grandchildren, loved chatting with Cliff about fishing or trapping! Cliff was loved by all and will be deeply missed.

Survivors include his wife, Helen, Plover, WI - children Dianne (the late Harold "Smitty") Smith, Shantytown, WI; Darlene (LeRoy) Drewa, Bevent, WI; and Julianne (Richard) Holmes, Fort Collins, CO. He is further survived by grandchildren Dan (Karissa) Smith, Bevent, WI; Lisa (Jesse) Disher, Plover, WI; Lori (Paul) Hoffman, Plover, WI; Joe (fiancée Cheri Singer) Smith, Custer, WI; Lilly (Jim) Gruna, Bevent, WI; Jerry (Amy) Drewa, Bevent, WI; Jolene (Tim) Trzebiatowski, Custer, WI; Tricia (Eric) McCoy, Villa Rica, GA; and Melanie Liebe, Stevens Point, WI. Cliff was also blessed with 14 great -grandchildren. Cliff is further survived by two sisters - Mary Lou (Victor) Maslakow, Plover, WI; and Adeline (Henry) Kenowski, Plover, WI; one brother Ray Gollon, Stevens Point, WI; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Cliff was preceded in death by his parents, four children in infancy, two brothers - John and Richard, and three sisters - Cecelia, Patricia, and Cecelia.

A Funeral Mass celebrating Cliff's life will be held at St. Stephen's Catholic Church, Clark Street, Stevens Point, WI at 11:30 am on Saturday, June 8, 2013, with Fr. Jerzy Rebacz officiating. Visitation will begin at 9:30 am with a rosary prayed at 10:30 am, led by Sister Mary Ellen Diermier. Burial will be at Guardian Angel Cemetery, Stevens Point, WI following services. Pisarski Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements. For on line condolences please visit

Cliff's family extends their sincere gratitude to the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and support staff at Aspirus Hospital and Rehabilitation Units, who so lovingly and caringly embraced Cliff, treasuring him as one of their own during his many hospital stays with them. Thank you also to Sister Mary Ellen Diermeier and Fr. Jerzy for their many visits, love, and support. God bless you all!


Funeral Home

Pisarski Funeral Home
703 Second Street Stevens Point, WI 54481

Published in Stevens Point Journal on June 7, 2013