Anthony (Tony) Emmett Gechas, age 79, of Rhinelander, passed away on July 8, 2022, at his home surrounded by his loving family. He was born on April 7, 1943, in Rhinelander, the son of Vivian Vida (Winchell) and Stanley Gechas. Tony was a life-long resident of the Rhinelander area. Tony's grandmother, Anna Gechas, established the family farm in 1934 on the Noisy Creek, where she raised her 3 sons. Later, Tony raised his three children there as well.
Tony was born with a can-do attitude and work ethic, succinctly phrased as "shut up and keep up." Just a sampling of Tony's jobs include time as a farmhand at Lassig Farm, working for his mother at the Little Midget Cafe, pumping gas and working on vehicles at Duane's Standard, and cutting trees for ACME tree service. While still a young boy at Lake George School, Tony acted as interpreter for family members newly arrived from Lithuania and as with most children of their time, Tony had to walk up hill both ways to get to that one-room schoolhouse in the town of Pelican.
After a 30-year career, ending in the position of a roll hauler, Tony retired from the mill young enough to enjoy staying home because he just hated having to go to town. Tony though, never remained idle. For a time, he became a self-described "garbologist" running his own garbage route. He also plowed driveways and only stopped cutting wood for fires, his sawmill, and clearing land for development when required to do so.
Tony had a true affection for wildlife and time spent in the woods. He worked many food plots, enjoyed watching videos from his game cameras, opposed taking does on his land, hosted sledding parties on the high field, and found it unbearable to pass up a ripe berry or mushroom. Some of Tony's other passions included gardening, hunting, fishing, watching NASCAR and golfing with an unorthodox swing and was never too bothered by a hazard as he could "swing both ways."
While the big C finally caught up with Tony, he surely had lived out the nine lives of a catlike existence. Tony had been an enthusiast of drag racing cars and snowmobiles. He came through a couple of motorcycle accidents and was twice struck by lightning. In his youth, when someone noticed, not Tony, that the bull had not returned home, Tony was found to be perched in a strong oak tree above an angry bull assiduously guarding his territory.
Tony leaves behind his life partner Lynda Devine, his children, who are grateful for the work ethic Tony instilled in them and the belief that you can't get something for nothing, Denese (Dean) Bettinger, Laurie (Jesse) Bielen, and Travis (Trisha) Gechas, two stepchildren Kevin (Ginnie) Schulz of Arizona and Beth (Joel) Hynes of Wausau. He is also survived by his siblings Cynthia (Michael) Bettinger and brother James (Penny) Gechas, as well as 15 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Tony's life will be held at a later date. You may leave your private condolences for the Gechas family at www.carlsonfh.com. The Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) is serving the Gechas family.
Posted: Saturday, July 16, 2022
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The Gechas family was always considered extended family for the Warmouths, Meislers and the Venckus'. I assume that it was because of the Lithuanian Venckus side of the family. I don't remember Tony growing up since he was 11 years older than I was but, I am sure he came into my parents "No Place Bar" from time to time. and maybe played snowshoe baseball for their team. I am certainly sorry for the loss to the family and the community.
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