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Cris L. 'Wackky' Gapko

October 12, 1944 April 5, 2021
Cris L. 'Wackky' Gapko
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Obituary for Cris L. 'Wackky' Gapko
Cris L. "Wackky" Gapko, age 76, of Merrill, passed away of natural causes at his home on Monday, April 5, 2021.

Cris was born October 12, 1944, in Kenosha, son of the late Matthias and Marie (Jensen) Gapko. He married Karen S. Tucker, and she preceded him in death on October 6, 2005. Cris then met Debra (Zahn) Stadler and the two of them were married on July 9, 2011. She survives.

Cris had been an Auto Body Repair Technician with Kolbe & Kolbe in Wausau. He enjoyed gardening, riding his Harley, hunting and fishing. He took pride in raising his hobby farm animals, birds, peacocks, and the fish in his pond. He was well known for his “Wackky Spicy Olives” and the great meals he created on the grill. Cris enjoyed time spent at the cottage and on the pontoon boat. Wonderful memories were created from many vacation destinations through the years. More than anything he enjoyed the time spent with family and friends. "Wackky" was a local legend because of his unique personality and friendly spirit.

Cris is survived by his wife, Debra Stadler-Gapko of Merrill; his mother-in-law, Leila Marnholtz of Merrill; his stepsons, Jason (Nancy) Stadler and Craig Stadler of Merrill, and Chad Stadler of Eau Claire; his step grandchildren, Trevor, Cameron, Hunter, Dawson, and Danika; his siblings, Steven ( Eleanor) Gapko of Racine, Jean (Darrell) Kreuser of Pleasant Prairie, Barbara (Dave) Koleske of Minooka, IL, and Judy (Dave) Lang of Crystal Lake, IL; and many nephews and nieces including his special nephew, Brandy Kreuser of Pleasant Prairie. Cris is further survived by Debbie’s family, Becky (Roger) Hinner, Gloria (John) Schenzel, both of Merrill, Terri (Bill) Knorr of Appleton, Jeff (Gail) Zahn and Randy (Rachel) Zahn of Merrill. Cris was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Karen; sisters, Annie, Marilyn, and Marge; and brothers, Michael, Richard, Robert, Jerry, and Jim.

A celebration of life will be held from 2:00 P.M. until 4:00 P.M. on Sunday, May 2, 2021 at Kathy and Cal’s Club 64, Merrill. Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Merrill is assisting the family. Online condolences may be made at

Special thanks to: the 911 operator, EMT’s, Lincoln County Sheriff Responders, Paul Proulx, Rick Stine and staff. We all tried our best but it was Cris’s time to go. – Debbie
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