Ernie J. Denucci, 90
Ernie John Denucci, age 90, of Roberts, Wis., died Thursday, April 3, at his residence.
Ernie was born on March 13, 1924, the oldest son of John and Anna (Lucente) Denucci. The family lived in North Hudson as John worked at the carshops. Ernie often told stories about walking to school across the wooden walkway that was built across Lake Mallalieu after the dam washed out. He loved playing with friends in the woods and on the prairie of North Hudson, and helping his mother pick nuts and put them in the attic to dry.
The Denucci family moved to Roberts when Ernie was eleven years old. The family eventually bought a farm south and west of Roberts on Badlands Road. Ernie quit school in November of 1942, and joined the service. He was stationed in North Africa with the 1260 Army Air Forces Base Unit. He participated in many aspects of World War II, one of which was directing planes as a radio controller. Because of his ability to speak Italian, he was sent to air bases to help communicate with Italian prisoners.
After 3.5 years in the service, he returned to Roberts to work at the Roberts Creamery.
In 1948, he married Joyce Lewis, and they made their home on the Skiar farm 1/2 mile north of Roberts. Ernie and Joyce had one son, Richard. This marriage would later dissolve.
In February 1975, Ernie married Beverly Steed Wagner of rural Roberts and became the stepfather of seven children. The Denucci's made their home on a hobby farm south of Roberts until 1988, when Ernie built their house in the Village of Roberts, where they have lived since. Ernie was a finish carpenter and constructed and remodeled many homes along the St. Croix River and Roberts area. After his retirement, he turned his carpentry skills into helping his children with various remodel projects and making furniture, birdhouses, and garden art.
Ernie loved to cook and bake. He often had cookies in the cookie jar, especially oatmeal raisin. He liked to make raisin cream pie, banana cream pie, and pumpkin pie. He often cut recipes out of the newspaper and magazines to try. One of the family favorites which was renamed "Papa D's Spaghetti Sauce" came from a magazine which Ernie then added his own touch to. Ernie made a recipe folder for his favorite recipes, which he wrote, "Hands OFF! This means YOU".
Ernie also took pride in landscaping and caring for his yard and flower gardens. Some summers, the landscaping changed two or three times. Each Spring, the seed catalogs and new plants for the yard would arrive in the mail. When not cooking or gardening, Ernie could be found at the Roberts Grocery making coffee, helping with carry outs, putting away fresh produce, bagging groceries, and ringing the bell on Sunday mornings for customer service. And of course, kibitzing with his every morning coffee buddies.
In his spare time, he loved working his word circle puzzles; he carried one with him to do whenever time permitted.
Ernie took great pride in his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He loved when the family and extended family got together for any celebration or just to have a refreshment after work on Friday nights. Ernie will be greatly missed by his family, extended family, and friends.
He is survived by his wife, Beverly of Roberts, Wis.; son, Richard (Roxanne) Peterson of Hudson, Wis.; step-children: Vickie (Dan) Rasmussen of Hudson, Wis., Sharon (Mark) Belke of Eleva, Wis., Pam (Joe) Vindal of Hudson, Wis., Lori (Scott) Gulich of Hammond, Wis., Kelly (Jeff) Millin of Hudson, Wis., Brian (Norine) Wagner of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Mike (Linda) Wagner of Baldwin, Wis.; 18 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; brothers: Robert (Donna) Denucci of Roberts, Wis., Archie (Ella) Denucci of North Hudson, Wis., and Doug (Karen) Denucci of North Hudson, Wis.; and sister-in-law, Janet Denucci of New Richmond, Wis.
Preceded in death by his parents, John and Anna; sisters, Gladys Spoliarius, and Viola "Ole" Hale; brother, John "Cook" Denucci; and grandchild, Melissa Vindal.
A funeral service will take place at 2 p.m. on Monday, April 7, at Roberts Congregational United Church of Christ, 1001 Birch Dr., Roberts, with a visitation one hour prior to the service at church. A visitation took place from 4-8 p.m. on Sunday, April 6, at O'Connell Family Funeral Home, 520 S. 11th St., Hudson. Interment will be at Warren Cemetery.
Arrangements are in the care of the O'Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson, (715) 386-3725.