Elaine J. Carpenter, Rib Mountain, died October 29, 2017 peacefully at Aspirus Hospice House with her loving family at her side. She was born at home in Wausau, WI August 5, 1930. Her parents, John and Olga Klemp, were very excited to welcome their only daughter after 5 boys. She was a life-long resident of the Wausau area, having graduated from Wausau High School in 1948.
She married Raymond Kolbeck in December 1948 and they had 5 children before they divorced in 1963. She later met the love of her life, Wilfred Carpenter, and they married in 1972. They were married for almost 30 years before he passed away in 2002. Elaine died the day after what would have been their 45th Wedding Anniversary.
Elaine was a hard worker all of her life. She started her work life at the Telephone Company in Wausau. She later helped Ray build and operate the Holiday Motel and Coral Lanes in Rothschild. She single-handedly ran the motel for a few years when her husband was still working another full-time job, while still trying to raise their children. Later she worked as a Secretary for Radke Transit, which later became G & R Transport. She was employed there for 20 years. But she didn’t stop then. She went to work helping her daughter and her husband in their flooring store.
But Elaine liked to play also. She was a good bowler and an avid golfer. She was still golfing in her 80’s. She and her husband, “Carp”, loved to travel. They enjoyed many trips to different Caribbean Islands with good friends. Her last trip was with her daughters and niece to Door County a month before she died. We did all her favorite things while there, even though it was harder for her to do. She loved everything about Door County and expressed as we drove home that she was “soaking up all the memories.” She loved to play cards of any kind. She could take any game and somehow turn it into a way to wager a little money. And you couldn’t go to bed until she won the game. She had quite a sense of humor with a quick wit, even until the very end. She was always willing to try new things. One time, she strapped on a pair of roller blades and rolled down the street long after she shouldn’t be on roller blades anymore. She always managed to do things that embarrassed her children and grandchildren. Her German strength of character and faith in the Lord helped her face every adversity with immense courage. Her church was very important to her. Elaine always had a smile for everyone and her favorite phrase was “Count your Blessings.” She was so appreciative for everything she had, especially her children.
A big part of Elaine’s life was taking care of her disabled son, Steven. After his motorcycle accident, she devoted her life and time in caring for him. Her encouragement allowed him to continue to have as much independence as possible. She brought out the good things that were left of Steve. That was a true gift she gave him.
Elaine is survived by two daughters; Linda (William) Kent, Weston, and Debra (Don) Narloch, Tomahawk, and one son; Michael (Mary) Kolbeck, Weston, six Grandchildren; Samuel (Allie) Kent, Hawaii, Sarah (Keith) Sumner, Rib Mountain, Bradey (Milissa Kuhns) Narloch, Rothschild, Bethany Narloch, Wausau, Morgan (Nathan) Bodwin, Madison, and Mason Kolbeck, Wausau and five Great-Grandchildren; Emily Johnson, Rib Mountain, Caitlyn Sumner, Rib Mountain, Hunter and Addison Narloch, Weston and Obediah Bodwin, Madison. She is further survived by her daughters from her late husband, Wilfred; Pamela (Cliff McGilvary) Carpenter, South Carolina, Colleen (Michael Kleinschmidt) Kramer, Wausau and Debra (Craig) Mortensen, Kronenwetter and their children; Richard (Mary) Kramer, Shawano, David (Tina) Kramer, Rib Mountain, Thomas (Karey Hummer) Kramer, Weston, Matthew (Amber Martinez), Kramer, Green Bay, Dana (Jason Schmirler) Mortensen, Kronenwetter, and Christopher Mortensen, Texas, and their Grandchildren; Connor and Kellan Kramer, Shawano, Jacob Kramer, Ft. Riley, Kansas, Joshua Kramer, Green Bay, Brianna Kramer, Rib Mountain, Nathan and Tyler Kramer, Wausau, Cory Kramer, Weston, Allison Kramer, Green Bay, Roman and Rex Schmirler, Kronenwetter. Also surviving are two sisters-in-law; Alice Klemp, Rothschild and Edith Carpenter-Neu, Weston. She is also survived by 3 nephews; Dennis Klemp, Montana, Tom Klemp, Arizona and Jerry Klemp, Rothschild and a very special niece, Sue Helmuth, Wisconsin Rapids. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Wilfred, five brothers; Elmer, Lloyd, Robert, Milton, Warren, and two children, an infant daughter, Diane, and a son, Steven.
A Funeral Service will be held at 12:00 noon on Friday, November 3 at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 3200 N. Mountain Rd., Rib Mountain. Pastor Craig Swenson will officiate. Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. until the time of services at the church. Private Interment Services will be held at Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau.
Brainard Funeral Home and Cremation Center – Everest Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements. Online Condolences may be expressed at www.brainardfuneral.com
The family wishes to extend a heartfelt thanks to Pastor Jeff for all his special care and concern for Elaine through the years. In addition, the family expresses their special thanks to all the wonderful staff at Aspirus Hospice and the Hospice House, including her Hospice volunteer, Wendy, for their loving care of Elaine over the past months. She had some exceptional favorites and you know who you are – thank you from the bottom of our hearts for “loving” her as much as we do. Thank you to Rachel, her new friend at the Hospice House, who spent time with her keeping her company during lunch and peaceful times outside in the gardens. And thank you to all the people who didn’t forget Elaine by visiting and calling making her last days more meaningful, especially Sue from church, who faithfully called Elaine every week. When she needed it the most, you all were there for her and you found a special place in her heart.
Elaine would want you to know that she lived a good life and to remember to be happy in everything you do. She was truly a “one of a kind”, always leaving a little Sparkle wherever she went. She will be greatly missed by all, but we will cherish the good times we had with her forever.