Rhode R. Wanta

Rhode R. Wanta

MADISON-Rhode R. Wanta, age 81, of Madison, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 at UW Hospital and Clinics.

He was born on March 10, 1936, in Polonia, Wis., the son of Nick and Verona (Megal) Wanta. Rhode was named after Bishop Paul Peter Rhode, the first Polish American Bishop.

Rhode served in the U.S. Army during peace time from 1958-1960. He married Elaine Huebschen on Nov. 19, 1960, in Milwaukee. Rhode had a zest for life that never left him. He was loyal to his family, especially his loving wife, Elaine.

Rhode was a jack of all trades, who loved to consider himself an “engineer.” He could fix anything, and everyone around him could turn to him for advice and counsel. He was passionate about music, and taught himself to play many instruments. Polka was his passion; at every party, he could always be found on the dance floor, leading his dance partner expertly.

Rhode is survived by his wife of 56 years, Elaine; children, Doug (Sandi) Wanta, Bob (Gene) Wanta, Daniel (Kim Bertagnoli) Wanta, Russ (Laurie) Wanta, Jeanne-marie (Greg) Ciriacks, and Nicki (Adam) Sayre; brother, Don (Freda) Wanta; 15 grandkids; 2 great-grandchildren; and many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Steven Wanta; brother, Gerald Wanta; and sisters, Ruth Dobbe and Delores Zakrzewski.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. DENNIS CATHOLIC CHURCH, 505 Dempsey Road, Madison, at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, with Father Randy Timmerman presiding. Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, and at the church from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the Mass on Saturday. A Badger’s tailgate luncheon will follow the Mass.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to UW Alzheimer’s Foundation, National MS Society or Wisconsin Polka Boosters.