Semitruck 06

Lester "Les" J. Hotchkiss

July 8, 1939 ~ October 8, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old

Lester "Les" Hotchkiss Obituary

Lester “Les” J. Hotchkiss, 84, passed away with his loved ones by his side on Sunday, October 8, 2023, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

He was born July 8, 1939, to the late Lester and Ruth (Plautz) Hotchkiss. He graduated from Wausau Senior High in 1957. He was married to Lou Ann Neitzke from 1960 – 1974, and they had three children. He served in the Wisconsin National Guard from 1958-1965. He was a member of the American Legion Montgomery Plant Dudley Post #10 and the Elks Lodge #248. Throughout Les’s life, hard work was a focal point, usually having two jobs at any given time. In his youth, he started delivering newspapers in the Riverview area, driving snowplow, and driving bus for the family business, Hotchkiss Bus Service. This turned into a career of truck driving which spanned over 40 years. He drove trucks for G&R Transport, Valley Express, Foreway Express, and Riiser Oil. He was also an excellent painter, working for Northland Painting for many years. When he wasn’t working, Les enjoyed golfing, bowling, playing softball, and, in his later years, attending the sporting events of his grandchildren. Les had a heart of gold and would help anyone who asked for his assistance.

Survivors include his life partner of 48 years, Sharon Niewolny, his daughters Julie (Todd) Zumach, Port Washington, WI, Victoria “Vicki” Avila, Austin, TX, and son Craig (Tasha) Hotchkiss, Antigo, WI.; seven grandchildren: Megan Zumach (AJ Ettmayer), Tara (Jake) Nadolny, Valerie and J.J. Avila, and Morgan, Alec, and Mitchell Hotchkiss, and two great-grandsons, Anderson and Camden Ettmayer. He is also survived by his brothers Lyle (Darlene) Hotchkiss, Rothschild and Larry (Sally) Hotchkiss, Wausau, and sister Connie (Mike) Vaningan, Weston, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by infant granddaughters Hope Avila and Allison Hotchkiss.

Visitation will be Monday, October 16, 2023, starting 9:30 a.m. at Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 1302 Sixth Street, Wausau, and followed by a memorial service, officiated by Rev. Donald V. Engebretson at 11:00.  A private, family burial will be at Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau.  Funeral service will be livestreamed on the Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home Facebook page beginning at 11:00 a.m. Monday and will be available for later viewing.

Online condolences may be expressed at

The family would like to thank the staff at the Aspirus Wausau Hospital ER and Cardiac ICU for the excellent care provided to Les.

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October 16, 2023

9:30 AM to 11:00 AM
Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home
1302 Sixth Street
Wausau, WI 54403

Funeral Service
October 16, 2023

11:00 AM
Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home
1302 Sixth Street
Wausau, WI 54403


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