Obituary for Carl A. Pongratz

Carl A. Pongratz, 85, Stratford, passed away on Monday, January 6, 2020 at his home in the Town of Cleveland.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Stratford, with Rev. Sengole Vethanayagam officiating. Burial will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Town of Eau Pleine, Marathon County, where military rites will be conducted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6352. Grandsons will serve as pallbearers. The visitation will be from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm on Friday at Sauter / Rembs Funeral Home, Stratford, and from 10:00 am until service time on Saturday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

Carl was born on December 2, 1934 in Milladore, the son of Louis and Rose (Weinfurter) Pongratz. He attended St. Kilian’s Parochial School, Blenker, and Auburndale High School. He was a veteran of the United States Army serving from May 14, 1957 until his honorable discharge on April 30, 1959. He married Elizabeth J. Woytasik on February 3, 1962 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Stevens Point.

Betty, his wife of 57 years was the love of his life, as well as his eight children. He enjoyed spending time with his family. The gazebo was a favorite hangout spot for everyone. Dice (6-5-4) was his game of choice. He could be found playing it endlessly with his children and grandchildren. The smile on his face when he won a single roll was priceless. During the summer months, people would always stop by just to chat with Carl.

Anyone who knows Carl knew he was a character and a storyteller. He could talk to anyone for hours on end. He would love to stir the “proverbial pot” just to make people laugh. Carl had this gift of being able to talk to any stranger he met. He could start a conversation with anyone.

Carl was a self-taught musician playing the accordion for family events and just for the pure joy of it. Carl loved polka music and you could be assured, he would be listening to the polka jamboree every Saturday and Sunday.

Carl enjoyed spending time with his horses. Even when he retired from dairy farming, he still kept his horses and could be found spending time outside or in his garage.

He is survived by his wife, Betty, and their children, Eileen (Joseph) Conlan of Stratford, Carl (Lisa) Pongratz of Stratford, Mark (Kim) Pongratz of Lighthouse Point, FL, Kim Pongratz of Riverview, FL, Carla (John) Pongratz of Stratford, Karen (Steve) Ludwig of Phoenix, AZ, Jason (Karen) Pongratz of Marshfield, and Cheryl (Justin) Schmitt of Athens. He is also survived by 14 grandchildren, Jesse Emon, Alisha Pongratz, Christopher Pongratz, Sean Conlan, Ashley Masephol, Dakota Pongratz, Zachery Kundinger, Aaron Pongratz, Marissa Kundinger, Nicholas Conlan, Alex Pongratz, Joshua Ludwig, Kyle Pongratz, and Mallory Schmitt and 13 great grandchildren. He is further survived by a brother, Vernon (Cheryl) Pongratz, a sister, Loretta Bushman of Marshfield, an uncle, Donald Hahn of Pittsville, and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Louis and Rose Pongratz, his mother-in-law, Laura Woytasik, grandmother-in-law, Mary Schulfer, a brother and sister-in-law, Richard (Christine) Pongratz, brother-in-law, Edward Bushman, grandparents, Louisa and Charles Weinfurter, brothers-in-law, Jerome Raschka, LeRoy Woytasik, Henry Woytasik and uncle and aunt, Harvey and Florence Krings.