Ernest F. Kuhary Jr., 83, Waukesha, formerly of Wausau, died Tuesday May 19, 2020 peacefully at his home after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. His loving wife of 62 years, Maryann (Yastic), was by his side.
Ernest was born August 4, 1936, in Detroit, Michigan, son of the late Ernest Sr. and Theresa (Pomay) Kuhary. His life changed forever when he attended a Young Democrats social gathering when he was 17 and asked Maryann to dance. They were married on May 2, 1959, in Dearborn, Michigan, but he would tell everyone that were together for 67 years, because he said he knew from the moment he kissed her on top of a hill, that she was it for him. Aside from Maryann, he felt most blessed by his three children and five grandchildren, Craig (Sheryl) of Delafield, and their children with Christopher, San Diego, CA and Kendall, Hartland; Carol (Peter) McElvain of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and their children Alex and Ellie of Los Angeles, CA; Eric (Karina) and their son Kaline of Orlando, Florida. They all adored him. He is also survived by his loving younger sister, Patricia (Chuck) Herman, Indiana Dunes, IN and brother-in-law, Kenneth (Paula) Yastic, Renton, WA.
Ernest had a brilliant, curious mind. He got his bachelor’s in business at Michigan Tech, and his MBA at the University of Detroit. He worked supporting both the automotive manufacturing and insurance industries. He proudly served in the US Army Reserves. He struggled with mental illness at a time when it was difficult to get proper support and an appropriate diagnosis. Fortunately, the persistence of family ultimately got him the treatment and support he needed and he was able to live a completely fulfilled life, enjoy his family, and be the great man he’s always been.
Ernie and Maryann loved Detroit and were diehard Tiger and Lions fans, but found joy in ultimately settling in Wausau - even though it meant all three kids growing up to be Packers fans. They fostered a loving and fun family by spending time together with the activities they enjoyed so much—fishing outings, hunting, cross-country skiing, camping (even though we were terrible at it), playing cards (especially pinochle), and toward the end, still brilliantly winning a Cards Against Humanity game and always joining in the family tradition of a slightly sacrilegious version of bar dice. The stakes were high for any game as whoever lost was required to perform the loathed University of Michigan fight song – “Hail to the victor’s valiant…” was belted with chagrin by the family to Ernest’s great delight many times. Kuhary family gatherings were always a time to “crack the horns,” pass around Grasshoppers, G&T’s, and laugh until our cheeks ached. Ernest had a talent for slipping in a sly, perfect joke when you least expected it.
Ernest strongly believed that we all have a responsibility to help and be in service to others. He loved his work delivering Meals on Wheels and being a Eucharistic Minister to area nursing homes and hospitals. Through his illness, Ernest’s family is deeply grateful to all of the support he has received from the IRIS/ILIFE program who were instrumental in maintaining his comfortable quality of life until the end. Of course, Maryann’s deep commitment to the love of her life kept him home and happy with conversation, Turner Classic Movie marathons and amazing meals to the end.
Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Wausau, is in charge of arrangements. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, May 26th from 10 am to 11 am at Resurrection Catholic Church, 621 N. 2nd Street in Wausau, Wisconsin. Family and friends wishing to pay their respects are asked to practice safe distancing and keep the State recommendation of 10 or fewer individuals present at one time in mind. Due to the current circumstances, the family knows and respects that our beloved friends may not be able to attend services. We encourage all to express their online condolences at www.petersonkraemer.com. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Resurrection Catholic Church, Wausau. Rev. Msgr. Mark Pierce will preside. Burial will be in Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice.
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