Stella B. Bonke

Stella B. Bonke, age 95, of Merrill, died Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at her home.
Stella was born November 13, 1916, in the Town of Scott, Lincoln County, daughter of the late Fred and Louise (Kienbaum) Schulz. She married Walter A. Bonke on June 6, 1936, in the Town of Scott. He preceded her in death on June 14, 1992. Stella and her husband had dairy farmed in the Town of Corning for 52 years. The Bonke farm was a gathering place for many relatives and friends throughout the years. In 1988 they retired from farming and moved into Merrill. Stella enjoyed entertaining family and friends in her home. She enjoyed flower gardening, making crafts, sewing, and spending time with her family. Stella was currently a member of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Merrill. She was a former member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Town of Scott, and a 50 year member of the Ladies Aide. Stella was very active with the Lincoln County 4-H. In 1956 she became the leader of the Corning Yankee’s 4-H Club. In 1967 the 4-H club received an award for outstanding dairy promotion. As an individual, Stella received several awards from 4-H including the Silver Award in 1961; the Gold Award in 1966; the Pearl Award in 1970; the Meritorious Award in 1979 from Lincoln County 4-H; and the Faithful Service Award from the Corning Yankee’s in 1979. In 1937 Stella joined the Lincoln County Association for Home and Community Education. In 2008 she received an award from the organization for 70 years of dedicated service.
Survivors include her daughter, Darlene Sense, Shawano; two sons, Walter (Maxine) Bonke, Jr., Gleason, and Jerome (Judy) Bonke, Sr., Merrill; eight grandchildren, Robin Bonke, Las Vegas, Nevada, Kimberly (Jeff Kirk) Alonge, Orland Park, Illinois, Jerilyn Taylor, Rib Lake, Scott (Mavis) Bonke, Gleason, Joe (Jennifer) Bonke, Wausau, Kip (Lisa) Bonke, Hudson, Wisconsin, William (Laura) Sense, Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, and Jerome Bonke, Jr.; sixteen great grandchildren, Kay-Kimberly and Kristina Alonge, Katelyn Kirk, Jodee, Trinity, Jersey, and Ashlyn Taylor, and Ben, Tasha, Justin, Jared, Jenna, Brooke, Stephanie, Grace, and Brianna Bonke; and two sisters, Gladys Ashbrenner, Sterling, Illinois, and Esther (Robert) Gruling, Merrill. Stella is preceded in death by two sisters, Louise Reichelt and Edna Schulz, and four brothers, Fred, Herbert, Roy, and Val Schulz.
The funeral will be at 10:30 A.M. Monday, April 16, 2012, at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Merrill. The Rev. James Wieland will officiate. Burial will be in Snow Hill Cemetery, Town of Scott. Visitation will be from 4:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. Sunday at the Taylor-Stine Funeral Home, Merrill, and after 9:00 A.M. Monday at the church.
Online condolences may be made at

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