Gerald J. Saal, age 85, of Merrill, passed away Tuesday, January 12, 2016, at Pine Crest Nursing Home, Merrill, under the care of his family, the nursing home staff, and Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services.
Gerald was born July 2, 1930, at home on Second Street in Merrill, son of the late Carl and Frieda Saal. Gerald had worked for Marathon Electric as a supervisor and retired in 1991 after 39 years. He was a member of St. John Lutheran Church, Merrill. Gerald was a member of the coffee club at Dick Lokemoen’s shop, known as the ‘Character Assassination Club. He was also a member of the Woodtick Investment Club. Gerald enjoyed playing slow pitch and pot belly softball until he was 51 years old; watching the Brewers, Badgers, and Packers; making weekly casino trips with his brother Frank; spending time at Woodtick Lodge hunting, four wheeling, feeding the deer and birds, planting trees, making firewood, or simply being outdoors; bowling, golfing, gardening, and playing cards. Gerald enjoyed all sports, whether it was on TV or the Merrill Bluejays, and he attended all the sporting events involving his children and grandchildren. Goose hunting at Horicon Marsh was a favorite of Gerald’s. His children said that their father was a ‘multi-tasker’, being able to read the paper, listen to the radio and police scanner, talk on the phone, and watch TV. Gerald was a proud veteran of the United States Army. He enlisted in November of 1949, and was honorably discharged in November of 1952. Gerald served in Korea from 1950 to 1951 with the 25th Division, 35th Regiment, and 1st Battalion Heavy Mortar Company. To this day, Gerald would talk about the war, the things he experienced, the guys he served with, the cold weather in a foreign country, boot camp, and all his military traveling. Gerald kept in touch with several of his war buddies. Gerald was a member of the V.F.W. for over 50 years. Gerald’s family honored his military service by placing a plaque at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Plover in 2004, and also placing a plaque in the Veterans Memorial Garden in St. Francis Cemetery, Merrill. Gerald and his son Mike went on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight in April of 2013. Gerald was a quiet and private man who led a simple life. “He can now stand tall. He can now walk tall”.
Survivors include one daughter, Mary Jo (Dave) Beyer, Merrill; three sons, Mike (Tammy) Saal, Dave (Sheila) Saal, and Steven Saal, all of Merrill; five grandchildren, Kate (David) Drewek, Jillian, and Jeffrey Saal, and Jennifer Beyer (fiancé, David Disterhaft) and Elizabeth Beyer; two step-grandchildren, Nichole Miller and Ryan Sabatke; three step- great-grandchildren, Olivia, Addy, and Avery; his brother, Frank Saal, Sr. of Merrill; and one sister in law, Marlene Saal of Merrill. Besides his parents, Gerald was preceded in death by his infant daughter Julie Jo; three sisters, Rose Sabatke, Dora Saal; and Louise Albrecht; and one brother, Charles Saal.
The funeral service will be held at 11:00AM Friday, January 15, 2016, at St. John Lutheran Church, Merrill. The Rev. David Szeto will officiate. Burial will take place in Merrill Memorial Park, with graveside military rites conducted by the Merrill V.F.W. Post 1638 Honor Guard. Visitation will be from 4-7 PM on Thursday at the Taylor-Stine Funeral Home, Merrill, and again after 9:30 AM Friday at the church.
Online condolences may be made at www.taylorstinefuneralhome.com