On May 12 under hospice care at Aspen Acres in Hayward
and with her son Robert at her side, Lucille Kondrasuk Butek
was called to finish her 107-year-journey begun on the
flower-covered prairies of North Dakota.  In the fertile
farmlands of Wisconsin, she now returns to the earth that
nourished her.
"Lutz", as her six siblings teased her, was the 1911 first-born
to Lewis and Isabelle Wetzel on a small homestead a
three-mile horseback ride southeast of Beulah. Lew, the
wheat farmer/teacher/musician defied the brisk North Dakota
conditions by sustaining his growing family with the $5, maybe
$6 from his Saturday night fiddling for swirling prairie couples
in gingham dresses and bib overalls.  But the fickle seasons...
late frosts, hailstorms, withering droughts and prairie fires
yielded seven crop failures in thirteen years; in 1923, Lew
loaded his few head of cattle and the Beckwith upright grand
onto a railroad car and brought his family of nine to Wisconsin.
From Gilman High School, class of '29, Lucille attended the
county normal in Medford, allowing her to teach elementary
classes in the Gilman area. After many summer schools, she
completed her education major at Wisconsin State
College-Eau Claire and later, a master's in Music Education
from Mount Senario in Ladysmith. Music was her passion; for
fifty years the organ at SS. Peter and Paul knew her touch for
hymns and liturgy, weddings and funerals.
Most treasured- a 1936 Wetzel family orchestra tour to the
west coast  Lew arranged a year in advance with countless
inquiries to small-town mayors for play dates, each
hand-written and graced with a two-cent stamp. Lucille played
the local piano; the small trailer announcing "Lew Wetzel's
Wisconsin Brigadiers" packed camping gear and the trumpet,
clarinet, drums, two violins and three saxes played by her
younger siblings.
Lucille wed Polish-born John Kondraszuk in 1937. His Gilman
Auto Sales, mechanic skills, and bus driving along with her
first-grade teaching supported their three children raised in a
log cabin on a wooded lot on the village's north side; they
replaced it with their dream home in 1956. John cherished his
weekends on the waters of musky-rich Chippewa Flowage;
Lucille coaxed bumper crops from her well-tended garden.
Cancer claimed John in 1979. A friend and tenor in the SS.
Peter and Paul choir, Leonard Butek, lost his dear wife Julia in
1980. Lucille and Leonard had known one another for some
thirty-five years; they now found mutual comfort in their
loneliness. When they wed in 1981, Leonard delighted in
driving Lucille yearly to visit her roots in North Dakota. All her
grandchildren are too young to remember John; they warmly
remember the Grandpa Leonard they lost to cancer in
2002.After a stroke at ninety-six, Lucille rotated residences
among her children until beginning her residence at Aspen
Acres in 2015.
Lucille is preceded in death by her parents Lew and Belle, her
younger siblings Alice (Jack) Heagle, Francis and Raymond
Wetzel, Ruth (John) Lewis, Gladys (Beryl) Browning, and her
husbands John Kondrasuk and Leonard Butek. She is
survived by her children Raymond (Christine) Kondrasuk of
Eau Claire, Jennifer (James) Sacia of Pecatonica, Illinois, and
Robert (Angela) Kondrasuk of Hudson, her youngest sister
Gertrude (Ray) Bahrke of Milwaukee, her stepchildren
Leonard (Phyllis) Butek Jr. of Thorp and Cindy (Larry)
Kennedy of Cameron, as well as by eight grandchildren, nine
great-grandchildren plus six step grandchildren and nine step
great-grandchildren.
Lucille's rich life, influencing generations of students, will be
con-celebrated by Fathers Raju and Heagle at SS Peter &
Paul Catholic Church in Gilman on Saturday, June 16th at
11:00, with visitation there two hours prior. Memorials may be
directed to SS Peter and Paul and to the Gilman Public
Schools music department.