Gary Bruce Johanknecht, 76, of Ripon, WI, passed away on Thursday, April 30, 2010, after a brief stay at Cherry Meadows Hospice in Appleton, WI. Gary had suffered many years from complications due to his Vietnam War exposure to Agent Orange, ultimately succumbing to Parkinson’s Disease and lung cancer.
Gary was born on March 3, 1944, in Waupaca, WI, one of three boys born to Floyd and Margaret (Pryse) Johanknecht. After graduation from Waupaca High School in 1962 and attending college, he began working for Appleton Papers. Many friends and co-workers better knew him by “Okie,” a name given him by his UW Stevens Point fraternity brothers.
Gary enlisted into the United States Army on December 27, 1965. During his enlistment, he served as an Ammunition Stock Control and Account Specialist, and was assigned to the 25th Supply & Transport Battalion. Proud of his service in Vietnam, he was awarded among others, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Sharpshooter Medal, Good Conduct Medal and two Overseas Service Bars. Gary was honorably discharged December 26, 1971, at the rank of Specialist 5th Class Technician.
Gary returned to work for Appleton Papers after his service, working there in various roles until his retirement in 2014. He was proud of his nearly 50 years of service for the company. Gary was an avid fan of the Packers, Badgers, Denver Broncos, and knew more sports statistics than almost anyone. In early years, Gary enjoyed playing team softball and later took up golf and curling.
In 1974, he married Jean Marie Linskey in Appleton, they divorced in 1998. On May 29, 1999, he married his second wife, Mary Grace Viste at Trinity Evangelical Free Church in Ripon. He and Mary attended Appleton Alliance Church.
Gary leaves behind to cherish his memory, his loving wife of 21 years, Mary; his children from his first marriage, Stacy Marie Johanknecht of Maple Grove, MN, Megan Lea (Russell) Ryan of Sugar Land, TX; four children gained in his marriage to Mary, Coreen Beth (Hobert “Rod” Rodgers) Ogilvie of Wheaton, IL, James Anthony (Erica Kettmann) Zoromski of Santa Cruz, CA, Matthew Aaron (Briony Braun) Storz of Ripon, WI, Rachel Marie Wilson of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands; ten grandchildren, Elliott William, Oliver Lee, and Lucy Virginia Ryan; Dana Grace Ogilvie of Newport Beach, CA, and Andrew Rodgers Ogilvie; Connor James Zoromski; Harper Rose Storz; Lydia Arje, Maria Coreen, and Isaiah Franklin Wilson. Also left behind are older brother, Alan (Rosalie) Johanknecht of Wauwatosa, WI; sister-in-law, Connie Shellenberger Johanknecht; special friends, James and Karen Buhl of Neenah, WI, and Paul and Renee Doyle of Port Orange, FL; numerous other relatives and friends. Gary will be truly missed by everyone who was blessed to know him.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents, and younger brother, Robert “Bob” Johanknecht.
The family is thankful for the many prayers, love and support given to Gary and Mary by her extended family, Carol and John, George and Sheryl. Also, thankfulness is given for the compassionate, competent care and supportive services provided for Gary and Mary by Kathy and Kris; Dawn and her staff at Bradley VA Outpatient Clinic in Appleton; Rick and his staff at the Fond du Lac County VA Office; Kristine and her staff at Neenah Neuroscience Group; Primary Care Associates of Appleton; and many other health care providers, including the excellent staff of ThedaCare Hospice, both in the home and in Cherry Meadows.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a family graveside service will be held at Central Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in King, WI, at a later date. A memorial has been established to Discovery Land Global, a ministry of Appleton Alliance Church reaching children worldwide for Christ at www.appletonalliance.org. Please visit our website www.wachholzandsons.com to send a condolence or to share a memory of Gary with his family.
Wachholz and Sons Funeral Home
Sunset Cremation Center in Princeton
Serving the Family, 920-295-6631
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