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“Dear Mandi and Tonya, My deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family. I am so very sorry that I couldn't be there tonight or tomorrow, but you...Read More »
1 of 4 | Posted by: Nika Hell - Stevens Point, WI

“You all have my deepest sympathy!!!! ”
2 of 4 | Posted by: Elaine McEwen Hlava - Lufkin, TX

“Kenneth and Ethel LaVake of Wisconsin Rapids, WI and Kenneth's sister, Phyllis Finstad of Milwaukee, WI. wish to extend our condolences in the...Read More »
3 of 4 | Posted by: Mr & Mrs Kenneth LaVake - WI

“Dear Roxie and family. I check the Herald regularly and I am so sorry to read of your mom's passing. I want to wish you my deepest sympathies along...Read More »
4 of 4 | Posted by: Joanna Zietlow-Hogan - MN


Ardith LaVake, 85, of Wausau, Wisconsin, died Friday, March 4, 2011 at Mount View Care Center, Wausau, under the care of hospice. Ardith was born in 1925 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Albert and Ruby Lee Dault. Her mother passed away when Ardith was 2 days of age, so she made her home with many who extended their kindnesses to her through her early years. In her teen years her father taught her to be his assistant in his acrobatic show with the circus, where his stage name was "Dare Devil Dault." Together they had the honor of working with Roy Rogers. They traveled all over performing their vaudeville act, and did many free shows for soldiers during WW II. She was a graduate of Wausau Senior High. On August 12, 1944, she married Herbert LaVake. He died suddenly on November 25, 1977 while hunting with his sons in Hazelhurst, Wisconsin. Ardith worked at the Commission on Aging of Marathon County, specializing in needs for the elderly, and in 1985 received a Certificate of Commendation for her efforts. She later worked at Holy Name Catholic School in their hot lunch program for many years. Ardith was a long time member of Holy Name church for a majority of her life and with which she was very active, especially in the choir. Recently though, she returned to her original church home of St. Anne Catholic Church. She was a member of St. Agnes Council, St. Catherine Council, and the founding member of NAIM, a group for widow and widowers, where her friendship stemming over 30 years began with Wes Radtke. From a young age, Ardith was a very talented seamstress; she loved to sew and could sew anything, including many dresses, costumes, clothing and doll clothes for her grandchildren. She enjoyed arts and crafts, and had an entire room dedicated to her love of crafts where she spent many hours a day on various projects. She also enjoyed playing cards, reading, watching the Green Bay Packers, traveling including all 50 states, fishing on Spirit Flowage, and especially time 'up north' with her family. One of her many passions was to dress up for Halloween and she made many Halloween costumes for herself and family well into her 70's. Survivors include children, Geri (Jim) Mertes, Lee (Sandi) LaVake, Roxie Schoenfeld, and Mike (Julie) LaVake, all of Wausau, and Tonya LaVake of Maquoketa, IA; grandchildren, Shane and Jason Mertes, Julie and Eric LaVake, Kelly and Ember Schoenfeld, Tammy, Tony, Tiffany, James and Veronica LaVake, and Mandi LaVake-Lemke; 15 great-grandchildren; one great-great-granddaughter; and a very special friend, Wes Radtke of Wausau. Her parents, her husband, a brother Gary, and sisters Opal and Marvel preceded her in death. Services in celebration of her life will be held at 11:30 A.M. Friday, March 11th, at St. Anne Catholic Church, 604 North 6th Avenue, Wausau. Visitation will be held from 4-7:00 P.M. Thursday at Peterson/ Kraemer Funeral Home, Stewart Avenue location. Burial will be in Restlawn Cemetery, Wausau. Ardith's family extends a special thank you to the Mount View Care Center staff for all their love and care shown Ardith over her years there. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund will be established in her memory. Online condolences may be expressed to Ardith's family by visiting her obituary at www.petersonkraemer.com.