Jackie Hemeleski, 81, Wausau, daughter of the late Thomas and Beatrice (Allerley) Smith, succumbed to cancer and dementia on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, at North Crest Assisted Living Facility in Stevens Point.
Born and raised in the Wausau area, she graduated from D.C. Everest High School and had worked as an IBM operator at Wausau Insurance.
Jackie’s first marriage was to Jim Ruechel, and the two had a son together before separating. On July 31, 1971, she would marry her true love, Albert Hemeleski, and they would spend life together until his passing two days before their 46th wedding anniversary. They also had a son together.
Jackie enjoyed traveling with her husband, Al, and some of their favorite places included Branson, Missouri, to see all the variety shows, or visiting her brother and sister-in-law in Arizona.
Being an animal lover, she had many dogs and cats as pets through the years who brought much joy. You could catch her not only feeding her cat but a lot of the neighborhood pets, too, including the outside critters. It would be unusual to see an animal with a smaller belly than hers since she loved caring for them.
Jackie also enjoyed playing sweepstakes and other contests, and although she always claimed not to be much of a cook, she hands-down made the best barbecue.
Lastly, she loved her two children very much, whom one preceded her in death due to heart complications since birth. In fact, her husband and she had to file bankruptcy, as they had to make ends meet running as far as Minnesota for appointments to make sure he received proper care while working to pay medical bills.
Jackie joins her beloved husband, Albert; son, Craig; and was the last of the four siblings, Dennis (Grace) Smith, Joanna (Kenneth) Stoltz and Tommy (Rosalie) Smith. She leaves behind one son, Wayne Ruechel of Wausau; and two grandsons, Jesse (Melissa) Rozmarynowski of Madison, and Gregg Ruechel of Wausau; along with three great-grandchildren.
A special thanks to everyone who provided love and care for her these last few months. Visitation and luncheon will be Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, 3-5 p.m. at the John J. Buettgen Funeral Home, 948 Grand Ave., Schofield. For online condolences, please visit www.HonorOne.com.