William “Will” F. Mantzke, 52, of Sparta, died Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at Gundersen Health System, La Crosse. He was born November 4, 1965 to Donald and Marlene Mantzke in Sparta. He grew up in Sparta and was a 1984 Sparta High School graduate. As an adult Will remained strong in his faith with God, guided by his genuine kindness and loyalty to his family, friends, co-workers and animals. Will married Kim Schendel on June 25th 1988. They celebrated their 30th wedding Anniversary last month.
One of his very first jobs was working as a hired hand on the Bryan/Kim Olsen farm and later on Alan McCoy farm both of Cataract. Will was employed at Northern Engraving, Jackson Chevrolet, the Monroe County farm and FAST Corporation all of Sparta. In August of 1995 Will started working fulltime for the Monroe County Maintenance Dept while also being employed part-time as a custodian for St John’s School. In his 23 year career he made many friendships with co-workers, judges, lawyers, police officers, teachers and students. Will had a sense of community; he was on the Erv's Sparta rural Fire dept for 8 years, an active church committee member and on the Safety committee while working at Rolling Hills. Will’s favorite times were family vacations, packer games at Lambeau, camping trips that involved a game of bingo and Wednesday night summer cook outs at Pats Pub. Will loved the outdoors including landscaping, putzing around in the yard, tending to his animals and his obsession with plants!! He loved to sing, play guitar, harmonica and banjo with his friends, siblings and children.
His favorite name was being called was papa from his 2 grand-daughters, they love spending time with him... if it was being outside with him feeding the animals, doing word searches on his lap together or playing the game “flow” sitting on the couch or reading a book to them. He was the best dad / papa any kid could ask for!! Some of the fondest memories we have of dad were his macaroni and cheese with hamburger that became every Saturday tradition if mom would be away at work, his fried mashed potatoes drenched in butter were an all time favorite leftover , his quirkiness- he always had a funny comeback, he was always telling a new joke he heard or saw. Lastly he enjoyed the little things in life and you could always find him in a pocket shirt or button down with his favorite color red, Levi jeans, work boots and at home wearing his Amish hat, one of his many collections of hats.
Will is survived by his loving wife, Kim; three children, Rachel (Gregory) Peterson; Samantha Mantzke; and Jacob Mantzke; his two granddaughters, Nadalee and Kendal Peterson. He is further survived by his siblings, Brian (Gloria) Mantzke; Bradley (Cindy) Mantzke; Dennis Mantzke; Ivy (Tom) Schwantes; and TJ Mantzke; with many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Marlene Mantzke; a nephew, Nathan Schwantes; and a niece, Cassandra Mantzke.
Visitation for Will be held from 4:30-8:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 21at St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Sparta. Online condolences may be offered to Will’s family at www.schanhoferfh.com.
Will and his family strongly prefer in lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to Chasing Daylight Animal Shelter, 15560 WI-131, Tomah, WI 54660.
The Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements.