Obituary: Lois Kettner
Lois I. Kettner, age 81 of Rhinelander, passed away peacefully April 13, 2022, at her home under the care of Compassus Hospice after a battle with lung cancer.
She was born on Nov. 8, 1940, in Chicago, Ill., to Melvin and Josephine (Roche) Wohlfeil. She was the third of five children and grew up in Antioch, Ill. Lois graduated from Antioch Township High School in 1958. She moved with a friend to California for a time and worked at the original Dodger Stadium when it opened in 1962. She was a stadium club level usherette for the Los Angeles Angels team, stationed outside the private suite of Gene Autry where she met many celebrities including Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher, Michael Landon, and Doris Day.
Lois returned to Illinois and married Philip E. Kettner on Nov. 16, 1963, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Antioch, Ill. They originally made their home in North Chicago, but later moved to the Northwoods of Wisconsin in the fall of 1974 to raise their three children.
Once in Rhinelander, Lois worked as a proofreader and typesetter for the Rhinelander Daily News from 1975 through 1990. She then decided to go to Nicolet Area Technical College and earned her Associate’s Degree in Nursing in December 1992. During her nursing career, Lois worked at Taylor Park, Child Health Care Center and Grace Lodge Assisted Living. Her calling was definitely in geriatric care which she found very gratifying. She reluctantly chose to retire early to care for her husband and later worked part-time at Kohl’s and at Trig’s in Rhinelander.
Lois had a life-long love of horses. She had her first horse, Conchita, in high school. In Rhinelander, she raised many horses beginning with Dynamic Mucho Macho, a Morgan born in 1979, and ending with Maverick’s Sox Appeal, a Pintabian who passed in 2014. She found much joy in showing her horses in local shows over the years, winning numerous awards in halter showing, riding, and driving classes.
Lois also enjoyed going to the movies, doing jigsaw puzzles, and trying her luck with scratch-off lottery tickets. She was definitely a “people person” who loved to travel and spend time with family and friends. She liked music, singing, and performing. Lois was a member of the cast of “Company” back in 1985 for the Nicolet Players, and she sang with the Choraliers for many years. One of her fondest memories was winning a magazine sweepstakes, earning her a walk-on role to the television show, “Providence,” back in September 2001. After surviving a breast cancer diagnosis that same year, Lois also volunteered extensively in the community, giving her time at the James Beck Cancer Center and acting as the Survivor Chairperson for several years for the local American Cancer Society Relay for Life event. Most importantly, she will be fondly remembered for her kindness, her beautiful smile, and her infectious laugh.
Lois is survived by her three children, Joseph (Albina) Kettner of Kentwood, Mich.; Lori (Robert) Skalitzky of Crofton, Md.; and Amy Malek of Rhinelander. She will be dearly missed by her two grandchildren, Tony Malek of Rhinelander and Connor Skalitzky of Crofton, Md. She is also survived by her sisters, Elaine (Larry) Stanton of Ripon, and Judy (Royal) Rockow of Grayslake, Ill. Lois also leaves behind numerous nieces, nephews, close friends, and her beloved cat, Harper. She is preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Philip “Fat Cat” Kettner; her brothers, Melvin “Butch” Wohlfeil and Johnny Wohlfeil; her parents, Melvin and Josephine Wohlfeil; and her in-laws, Philip and Gertrude Kettner.
The visitation and memorial service will be held at Hildebrand Funeral Home, 24 East Davenport Street, Saturday, May 21, 2022. The visitation will take place 9-11 a.m. The memorial service will be held from 11-11:30 a.m. with a light luncheon to follow. She will be buried at 1:30 p.m. at Nativity of Our Lord Parish Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Lois requested that memorial contributions in her memory be sent to the Breast Cancer Recovery Foundation, 6131 Nesbitt Road, Suite 300, Fitchburg, WI 53719; www.bcrecovery.org/donations/. BCRF sponsors a yearly retreat for breast cancer survivors to Madeline Island, Wisc. Lois attended the retreat back in July of 2001, and she found it incredibly rewarding.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Hildebrand Funeral Home & Cremation Specialists, 24 E. Davenport Street, Rhinelander, Wisconsin 54501, 715-365-4343. Everyone is invited to sign the guestbook or leave an online condolence at www.hildebrandrussfh.com