Mary Therese (Kettner) Cannistra, 71, of Boulder Junction, WI, passed away suddenly on February 21, 2022. She was born to parents Charles and Mary (Page) Kettner, on October 21, 1950 in Appleton, WI. Mary was the fifth of eight children. Growing up she was quite the tomboy and enjoyed biking, playing baseball, dodgeball, and other sports with her siblings and their friends. She was an avid reader interested in myriad genres of books and this continued into adulthood. Mary also loved music and interpretive dance in school–interestingly, she was a marching band majorette. Upon graduation at Appleton West High School and after two years of post-secondary education at Holy Family Liberal Arts College in Manitowoc, WI, Mary became a dental assistant, training under Dr. Bierl, DDS.
It was at the dentist’s office that Mary met Charlie Cannistra in 1972 and they were married on August 25, 1973 in Appleton, WI. Together they raised 4 children: Jennifer, Jessica, Carla, and Joseph. On August 1st of 1991 they established Wausau Electric, Inc. and proceeded to work side by side for twenty two years until successfully selling the company on August 1st, 2013. They finally retired in August of 2014. They would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary together on August 25, 2023.
Mary will be remembered as a loving wife, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend to many. She was so very proud of her husband, children, grandchildren and her many nieces and nephews. Mary was a remarkable cook. She loved learning new recipes as well as traditional German and Italian recipes of spaghetti, breaded veal, cucuzza, and German potato salad passed down through the family. Mary loved singing in church when she attended services, and when she worked in the kitchen you would catch her singing and hear her sweet voice as well. Mary and Charlie traveled throughout their years together, both within the United States and beyond to Hong Kong, China, Monaco, and Italy. Best of all, Mary loved it when her children and grandchildren could be all together with her and Charlie. She loved going for nice, slow boat rides, walks “around the block”, and playing cards and games with her children and grandchildren. Mary was a lifelong learner. She was caring and always very thoughtful, she always gave the biggest and warmest hugs, she was a good listener, she believed in the Golden Rule and treated all with kindness, she will be greatly missed.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Mary Kettner, as well as her brothers, John Kettner, Bill Kettner, and Larry Kettner.
Mary is survived by her loving husband Charlie Cannistra, her children, Jennifer Weber (David) of St. Germain, WI, Jessica Tipple of Wausau, WI, Carla Chase (James) of Fort Atkinson, WI, and Joseph Cannistra of Sheboygan Falls, WI, her grandchildren, Hannah Tipple (Justin Mack), Grace Weber, Emma Weber, Cassandra Chase, Elle Tipple, Cameron Tipple, and Aliannah Chase, as well as her brother Ed Kettner (Carol), her sisters, Helen Kellnhauser (Bob), Ruth Kettner, and Barb Oliver (Dale) and their families and those families of her brothers John Kettner, Bill Kettner (Pat), and Larry Kettner (Marie). She also leaves behind a very loving group of friends.
A Celebration of Life for Mary will be held at Helke Funeral Home in Wausau on Sunday March 6, 2022 at 11:00 am. Visitation will begin at 10:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Lions Club of Boulder Junction (P.O. Box 61, Boulder Junction, WI 54512) under Mary’s name. Funds will go towards a new playground for all ages and abilities. Mary always loved caring for children and to honor her, an engraved park bench will be donated by the Cannistra family and will be installed near this new equipment.