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.Merle Bitters Krause . 

Collected and contributed by:  Bill Fonferek

.Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette from January 9 to January 11, 2012 .     

Merle A. Krause, 81, Oconto Falls, died Sunday morning, Jan. 8, 2012, at St. Mary's Hospital in Green Bay, following a one week stay. She was born Nov. 30, 1930, in Lena, to Wilbur and Josephine (Potts) Bitters. She grew up in the area where she attended school, graduating from Lena High School with the Class of 1948.

On Aug. 25, 1951, she married James "Jim" Krause in Oconto Falls. Following their marriage, the couple lived in the Town of Morgan, where they were partners in the family business, Krause Dairy, until retiring in 1988. She was a member of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Oconto Falls, the Altar Rosary Society and was once active in nursery and pre-school programs.

Merle enjoyed traveling with her husband, Jim, to the Caribbean, especially Aruba, and taking numerous trips to Las Vegas with family and friends in the days before it was fashionable. Merle, along with other close friends who knew how to have fun, bowled on the company sponsored bowling teams for years, traveling all over for tournaments.

Merle was also active in the Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the Red-Hatters and while raising her sons, was a 4-H leader. As a natural leader with strong convictions, Merle always seemed to be the one the entire Krause or Bitters families turned to when in need of a generous heart, wise counsel or a kick in the pants!

Survivors are her three sons who she dearly loved, Steve (Kathy) Krause, Mike (Kriss) Krause, all of Oconto Falls; Chuck (Sylvia) Krause, New Mexico; nine grandchildren of whom she was so proud, Jessica (Judd) Gehl, Erika (Paul) Van Roy, Sheila (Shawn) Murphy, Joshua (Heather) Krause, Emily (Brad) Robinson, Adam (fiancee, Amanda Cook) Krause, Genna (Justen) Foral, Alyssa and Rita Krause; six great-grandchildren, Collin and Camryn Gehl, Isaiah Murphy, Ed and Bob Van Roy, James Lacayo; one brother, Jack Bitters, Oconto Falls; two sisters, Patsy Steffens, Oconto Falls; Charlotte Rice, Hilbert; two sisters-in-law, Betty and Joyce Bitters, both of Oconto Falls; numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her in-laws, Rufus and Gen Krause; her husband, Jim, on Nov. 1, 1989; three brothers, Bill, Bob (Kathy) and Jimmy Bitters; one sister, Betty (Donald) Young; and other brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Maynard Steffens, Jerry Rice, Robert (Ruth) Krause and Marilyn (Robert "Rab") Rotter.

Visitation will be held 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, at Jones Funeral Service in Oconto Falls (920-848-2222 or visit: Rosary prayer service, 7 p.m. Tuesday. Visitation will continue after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Oconto Falls, until the time of service. Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday at the church with the Rev. Fr. Joel Sember officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.