Neal Charles Olkives, 88, passed away from COVID complications on Sept 16th, 2021, at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, WI. He was surrounded by his beautiful wife, Isabel, his children and one of his grandsons.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, September 25 at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Rib Lake. Military honors by the Medford Area Military Honors Team will follow the service at the church. Burial will be at St. Augustine Cemetery in Harrison after lunch.
Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m., Friday, September 24 with a rosary service at 7 p.m., and again from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service at 11 a.m., Saturday, all at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Rib Lake.
Neal was born July 17th, 1933, in Gleason, WI to Joseph and Iva (Rice) Olkives. Neal went to grade school at Dudley School in Gleason, where he always laughed, and said he was the smartest and dumbest kid in 3rd grade due to him being the only 3rd grade student. He attended high school in Merrill until his parents and two brothers moved to Kenosha where he then graduated in 1951 from Bradford High School.
After high school, Neal then met the love of his life, Isabel May Renn, at Schaffer’s Bar in Gleason. They dated for 22 months before marrying on July 4th, 1953. Neal always said that was the day he lost his independence and how fireworks were invented, and it continued that way for 68 years.
Not long after they were married, Isabel became pregnant with their first child. Then in 1954, Neal was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War and left for Germany. During this time, Isabel stayed back in Kenosha with Neal’s parents and gave birth to their first child, Donald. Once Neal returned from Germany, he was stationed in Fort Riley in Kansas. At this point he met his first son at the age of 1 and was joined by Isabel. Here they were blessed with two more children, SuAnn and Iva Jean. A year later, they both decided to move back to Kenosha, where they had three more children, Jerry, Julia, and Krissy.
While back in Wisconsin, Neal went to work at American Motors and then became a deputy for the Kenosha County Sheriff Dept. In 1978, Neal and Isabel purchased Olkives Lakeview Resort in Spirit, WI. It was well known for Neal’s laughter and Isabel’s great cooking. As Isabel ran the resort, Neal continued to work for the Sheriff’s Dept until he retired in 1979. He then moved back up north to help Isabel run the resort for 16 years.
After selling the resort, they built a home in Rib Lake to retire and relax. Upon entering retirement, Neal continued driving school bus for the Rib Lake School District, as he had also done in Kenosha. Neal always enjoyed doing the extra bus trips for sporting events, school activities, and end of the school year trips making him very well-known with everyone in town.
After moving to Medford at the age of 80, it didn’t take long for Neal to walk around the neighborhood and get to know everyone. During the day, Neal and Isabel had a wonderful routine. They were very devoted Catholics and would start their day off with the Rosary, then onto breakfast, some solitaire, a drive around town, and then an evening game of cribbage. Neal would always keep track of how many games were won, especially for 9/19/29 solitaire. They both loved watching the Milwaukee Brewers, the Molly B Polka Show, and Mountain Men. Once it was time for bed, they would say the Rosary and give each other three kisses, that meant I love you.
Surviving family includes the love of his life, Isabel; his children and their spouses Deb Olkives (Bill), SuAnn Johnson, Iva Jean Troiber (Wayne), Jerry Olkives (Sue), Julia Thums (Jeff), Krissy Olkives-Emmerich; his grandchildren, Dayna (Ben), Dan (Peter), Neal (Tina), Tim (Anjee), Trisha (Dave), Bobbi (Chris), Michael (Mandi), Jamie (Jason), Megan (Jesse), Curtis (Aleda), and Mersadies; and his 25 great grandchildren.
Neal is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Iva; his brother, Jerome; his son, Donald; and his great grandson, Jonathan.
Hemer-Pickerign Funeral & Cremation Services of Medford and Rib Lake is serving the family. Online condolences can be left at www.hemerfuneralservice.com.
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