Melvin “Mel” G. Raatz, 71, Gillett, died suddenly Friday morning, January 18, 2019 of natural causes in St. Clare Memorial Hospital ER. He was born August 6, 1947 in Milwaukee to Gustave and Tillie (Schultz) Raatz. At the age of 3 years old, he moved with his family to a farm in rural Gillett. Mel grew up in Gillett where he attended public schools, graduating from Gillett High School with the class of 1965. Following graduation, he attended Wartburg College in Iowa.
On August 27, 1966 he married his high school sweetheart Sharon Kalous in Gillett. Following their marriage, the couple lived in Iowa where Mel worked in a music store, gave guitar lessons and managed a Sears Catalog store. In 1976, the family moved back to the Gillett area where they managed an egg farm and Standard Oil gas station. It was during this time his uncle Adolph Schultz, introduced him to the idea of becoming a property assessor. In 1979, R & R Assessing was established with the Towns of Oconto Falls and Morgan and grew under his leadership to represent 34 municipalities in 5 different counties. Mel retired in 2015 and the family business continues with his sons. Mel was a longtime and very active member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Gillett, serving in numerous capacities including many years as council president. He was a member of the WI Towns Assoc. and WAAO (WI Association of Assessing Officers) where he served as Chairman and President and on the Rural Concerns Committee. Mel also served on the Gillett School Board for several terms and as President. When his boys were young, he was a Cubmaster and leader and was once active in the Gillett Civic Club and Jaycees. Always the musician, Mel founded Thurmont Ridge, a Christian band, and has played bass guitar for the 12 years since it was started. Mel also enjoyed woodworking, hosting annual deer hunts on the farm and traveling with his wife, especially to Alaska and Maine.
Survivors are his wife of 52 years, Sharon Raatz, Gillett; their three sons, Rick (Elaine) Raatz, Gillett; Ryan (Shelly) Raatz, Sherwood; Randy Raatz, Gillett; nine grandchildren, Dustin (Erin) and Tyler (Laura) Raatz and Peyton and Georgie Buerman, Alexis, Courtney and Nathan Raatz, Brandon and Emily Raatz; his mother-in-law, Evalene Kalous, Gillett; two sisters, Bette Malinowski, Florence; Darlene (Bob) Loll, Porterfield; his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Ron (Kathy) Kalous, Suring; David (Kathy) Kalous, Lakewood; Nancy (Mike) Stark, Gillett; many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and father-in-law, Muryl Kalous.
Visitation will be held 3-8pm Friday, January 25, 2019 at Jones Funeral Service in Oconto Falls. Visitation will continue after 8:30am Saturday, January 26, 2018 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Gillett until the time of service. Funeral services will be held 10:30am Saturday at the church with his friends and former ministers, Pastors Harvey and Doreen Jeffers officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
Mel will be fondly remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend who was always willing to share his time and talent and just liked helping people.