Charles Gretzlock, age 77 of Mellen, WI, passed away peacefully with his loving wife by his side on Thursday, May 7, 2020 at his home in Mellen. Chuck was born on April 3, 1943, the son of Stanley and Beatrice (Larson) Gretzlock. Chuck married Sandra Heldstab (the Sassy love of his life!) on August 7, 1965 after a long wait since they were childhood friends.
Chuck fought a courageous battle against cancer for more than seven years. While fighting his battle, his lifestyle never changed. He was a wonderful Papa that attended events for his grandchildren all over the state of Wisconsin. He made projects, attended sporting events, graduations, band concerts, 4-H projects, weddings, baptisms and so much more. Always the ultimate handyman, Chuck often told Sandy that he couldn’t pass on until the basement stairs were finished; today, the stairs are finally finished. Chuck was an educator for 37 years, retiring in 2001 from the School District of Mellen with over thirty-four years of dedicated and compassionate service to the students of Mellen. Early in his teaching career, Chuck coached and influenced many in baseball, basketball, and football. When his coaching days ended, Chuck’s love for sports moved him into officiating - specifically volleyball and basketball. Twice, Chuck was honored by being selected to officiate the WIAA Girls’ State Volleyball Tournament. Chuck’s affinity for high school athletics also led to a 36-year stint attending the WIAA Boys State Basketball Tournament, each year with Sandy by his side.
When Chuck moved to Mellen to be a teacher, he also started working for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at Copper Falls State Park for 53 summers; becoming as much a part of the park as the falls themselves. Chuck was an active member of the Mellen Lions Club holding many positions at the local, district and state levels, all for the betterment of those less fortunate. Chuck’s involvement with the Mellen Lions led to the introduction of the Tri-State Basketball Tournament; a men’s open tournament which led to some high profile basketball being played. Numerous Bay Area all-stars participated in this annual event for nearly twenty years.
Chuck enjoyed taking his family to the Minnesota State Fair beginning when his own children were still in school, continuing until this past year. Trips to the fair were highlighted by securing a bucket of Sweet Martha’s Cookies, a large order of cheese curds and a foot-long hot dog, among other indulgent treats – something that will surely be missed by his grandchildren.
Chuck is survived by his all-everything wife, Sandy (Heldstab); 4 sons, Robert (Marcy) of Verona, WI; James (Wendy) of Ashland, WI; Patrick (Paula) of Emerald, WI; and Tim of Eau Claire, WI; 12 grandchildren: Megan, Jordan, Jacob, Samantha, Jason, Andrea, Matthew, Genevieve, Andrew, Charles, Morgan and Austin; 4 great-grandchildren children:, Stetson, Raelynn, Hailey and Ayden. Chuck is also survived by 3 siblings: Barbara DePerry (Donnie), Ashland; Gene (Peggy), Hatley; and Linda Boyd, Red Cliff. Finally, Chuck is survived by many nieces and nephews and his “special” niece, Molly.
Chuck was preceded in death by his parents, Stanley and Beatrice; his in-laws, Norman and Betty Heldstab; a granddaughter, Jennifer; and a grandson, William.
A private graveside ceremony will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery, Cozy Valley. A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Mountain Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Ashland and Mellen, WI. Online condolences for Chuck’s family may be left at www.mountainfuneralhomes.com