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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Melvin G. Raatz

Issue Date: January 23, 2019

Melvin "Mel" G. Raatz, 71, of Gillett, passed away suddenly Friday morning, Jan. 18, 2019 of natural causes at St. Clare Memorial Hospital Emergency Room. 

Born Aug. 6, 1947 in Milwaukee, to Gustave and Tillie (Schultz) Raatz, at age 3, he moved with his family to a farm in rural Gillett where he grew up and attended public schools. He graduated from Gillett High School in 1965 and then attended Wartburg College in Iowa.

On Aug. 27, 1966, he married his high school sweetheart, Sharon Kalous in Gillett and they lived in Iowa where he worked in a music store, gave guitar lessons and managed a Sears Catalog Store. 

In 1976, they returned to the Gillett area where they managed an egg farm and Standard Oil gas station until his uncle Adolph Schultz gave him an idea to be a property assessor. In 1979, R & R Assessing was established with the Towns of Oconto Falls and Morgan and it grew to represent 34 municipalities in five counties. He retired in 2015 and the family business continues with his sons. 

A longtime, active member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Gillett, he served in many capacities including many years as Council President. He was a member of the Wisconsin Towns Association and WAAO (WI Association of Assessing Officers) where he served as Chairman and President and was on the Rural Concerns Committee. He also served on the Gillett School Board for many terms and was also President. 

He was a Cubmaster and leader and was active in the Gillett Civic Club and Jaycees. As a musician, he founded Thurmont Ridge, a Christian band where he played bass guitar for 12 years.

He enjoyed woodworking, hosting annual deer hunts on the farm and traveling with his wife, especially to Alaska and Maine. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend who shared his time, talent and liked helping people.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Sharon Raatz, Gillett; three sons, Rick (Elaine) Raatz and Randy Raatz, both of Gillett and Ryan (Shelly) Raatz, Sherwood; nine grandchildren; his mother-in-law, Evalene Kalous, Gillett; two sisters, Bette Malinowski of Florence and Darlene (Bob) Loll of Porterfield; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Ron (Kathy) Kalous, Suring, David (Kathy) Kalous, Lakewood and Nancy (Mike) Stark, Gillett and many nieces and nephews.

Including his parents, he was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Muryl Kalous.

Visitation will be held at Jones Funeral Service in Oconto Falls on Friday, Jan. 25 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Visitation will continue at St. John's Lutheran Church in Gillett on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 8:30 a.m. until time of the funeral services at 10:30 a.m. His friends and former ministers, Pastors Harvey and Doreen Jeffers will officiate with burial in the Church Cemetery.


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