Vernon “Nort” J. Buntrock, age 89, of Merrill, passed away at Aspirus Wausau hospital on Sunday morning, April 24, 2016, from injuries sustained in a fall. He was born on April 28, 1926, to Harry and Olga (Oestreich) Buntrock at home in Merrill. He married Eileen Schmidt on October 7, 1950 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Merrill. She survives. He attended and graduated from Merrill High School. Vern was a well respected business manager of Northern Auto Supply (now Car Quest) for 35 years. He enjoyed connecting with people in Merrill and anywhere he went; always with a smile, good humor and twinkle in his eye. Vernon proudly served his country with the U.S. Navy in World War II and was a 50 year member of the Merrill VFW Post 1638. He was a faithful member of their honor guard and firing squad, and fired as recently as a month ago. Vern was a life-long member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Merrill. He and his wife enjoyed many trips with family and good friends over the years. He enjoyed snowmobiling, fishing, and hunting with his family. Special memories were made during the many card games, which included Sheephead, cribbage, golf and Aggravation. He was able to bag a deer last fall in a special hunt for veterans. He was able to experience the Never Forgotten Honor Flight to Washington D.C. including a rousing welcome home ceremony. Vernon regularly spent time at the elementary schools in Merrill and Wausau telling the story of his time in the Navy. He was a creative craftsman of wooden/painted crafts and keepsakes. He passed on his love of outdoor sports, games & collections to his children and grandchildren. Vernon was hard working and fun loving with a soft-spoken gift of gab that always gave you something to think about. He adored his family and always let them know how proud he was of all of them.
Vernon is survived by his wife of 65 years, the love of his life, Eileen (Schmidt), of Merrill; son: Larry (Heidi) Buntrock of Wautoma; two daughters: Linda (Ed “Sputz”) Hamel of Thorp, and Sue (Dana “Barny”) Barnhart, of Wautoma; his favorite brother Milt (Marion) Buntrock of Merrill; five grandchildren: Julie (Matthew)Maas, of Portland, OR, Maria (Craig) Mulder, Fort Wainwright, AK, Katie (Jesse Hoff) Hamel, of Merrill, Kevin Hamel, of River Falls, WI and Kyle Hamel, of Thorp, WI; and 4 great-grandchildren; Tovah and Ezra Maas, and Ileana and Ian Mulder; other relatives and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harry & Olga Buntrock, and brothers: Roger, Duane, Ralph and Harvey. Vern will be deeply missed by his family, his many long time friends in the area and all who knew and respected him.
Funeral services for Vernon will be held at 12:00 Noon on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at Waid Funeral Home. Rev. Brian Stolarczyk will officiate. Visitation will be from 10 AM until the time of service, also at the funeral home. Military honors will be performed by VFW Post #1638 at the funeral home immediately following the service. Burial will take place at St. Paul’s Cemetery in the town of Scott. The family would like to give special thanks to Dr. Polireddy, Good Samaritan ER staff, and Aspirus Palliative Care staff. In lieu of flowers, family requests that donations and memorials, in Vernon’s name, be sent to the funeral home, to be put towards the Veterans Honor Flight program. Waid Funeral Home of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.