Emeran “Em” Joseph Petrack, 87, passed away peacefully on March 11, 2020, while resting comfortably in bed after complications from pneumonia.
Em was born October 18, 1932, in Ashland, WI, the son of John and Celia (Schneider) Petrack. He graduated from Ondossagon High School. Em married Shirley M. Emerson on June 20, 1953, and they lived in the Milwaukee area until 1967 before eventually moving to Winneconne, which Em considered his home for the last 52 years. Shirley preceded him in death on August 15, 1999. Em’s life was one full of adventure, heartbreak, obstacles, and love. Through everything, though, his positive attitude, beliefs, and smile did not waver.
Em was able to master many skills throughout his life, from the time he was a child in Ashland all the way up until 2007 when he became paralyzed. For the past 13 years, Em had been without a working lower body. During this time, however, he made the leap (metaphorically) and mastered yet another skill: the art of the computer. Actually, truth be told, he resisted doing this for about a year before his family eventually just kind of forced it upon him one day. After getting started and discovering many old friends and current ones on social media, though, Em decided he might actually like this new technology. He was now able to read the news headlines again and keep up with his family daily. It opened a wonderful world for him that he learned to embrace and enjoy.
One thing Em never lost along the way was his competitive spirit, much to his family’s dismay…. Even in his last days, Em was still challenging people to sheepshead and cribbage games. He was also nearly unbeatable in bowling and golf on his Nintendo Wii (yes, he mastered videogames, too)!
During this new chapter of Em’s life, there were more obstacles placed in front of him than any person should have to endure. With some of life’s greatest trials thrust upon him, Em managed to emerge stronger, kinder, and with an unbelievable love for his family. Right up until his death, Em was letting each of us know we can make a difference by how we treat others.
Emeran is survived by three sons, Randy (Laura) Petrack, Larsen; David (Susie) Petrack, Winneconne; and Greg (Lisa) Petrack, Wausau; six grandchildren, Jon (Lydia) Petrack, Jennifer (Kyle) Krenz, Justin (Mindy) Petrack, Lindsay (Pete) Elias, Karen (Arron) Yates, and Shannon (Kyle) Trewyn; 11 great-grandchildren (soon to be 12); three sisters, Marion (John) Jarecki, Carol Ronning, and Sandy (Tom) Barkei; and his dedicated partner of many years, Arlene Robl.
Em was preceded in death by Shirley, his wife of 46 years; two daughters, Anna Marie and Mary Jane; three sons, Timothy James, Jeffrey Jerome, and Brian Joel Petrack; his parents; one brother, Jerome Petrack; and his brother-in-law, Jack Ronning.
Em’s family would especially like to thank the staff at Century Oaks Assisted Living, the team members at Heartland Hospice, and the entire Community Care organization for providing care to Em during his last years, months, days, and moments.
A public visitation and service were originally scheduled for Em, but due to current health risks and safety concerns, our family has made the difficult decision to cancel both events. A private service for immediate family members only will be held instead. We thank you for your understanding and for respecting our family's wishes.