Gary Kerwin Van Wormer

PORTAGE/BARABOO – Gary Kerwin Van Wormer, age 77, passed away on Monday, October 9, 2017, at his daughter’s home in Baraboo.

Gary was born on March 8, 1940, in Portage, the son of Gordon and Marjorie (Kerwin) Van Wormer. He graduated from Portage High School in 1958 and married his high school sweetheart Judy Schwantz on April 6, 1963. Gary wrestled at and received his Bachelors of Science degree from UW Stevens Point in 1964. Gary started teaching Phy-Ed in Portage where he coached Junior High Wrestling. He then taught Science and coached High School Wrestling in Oconto. He later taught Science and Biology and coached High School Wrestling in McFarland. He and good friend, Jack McMahon, started the Portage Youth Wrestling Program, beginning a long and successful history of Portage wrestlers. He left teaching in 1973 to start Van’s Concrete Construction—a still-thriving and respected family-run business.

Gary’s greatest passion was his grandchildren, following their activities and filling them full of stories. He loved deer hunting, family fishing trips, trap-shooting, maintaining and patrolling the family hunting land, planting deer plots, and traveling with family and friends. Gary was an enthusiastic and vocal fan of all his grandchildren and their activities.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Judy Van Wormer of Baraboo; children, Deb (Pat) O’Rourke of Baraboo and their children, Emily, Dan and Paddy, Gary (Jane) Van Wormer of Conover and their son, Jack, Craig (Gwen) Van Wormer of Baraboo and their children Cassie (fiancé Matt Kanugh), E.J. and Jacob, Cathy Van Wormer-Robinson of Portage and her children, Keegan, Nicholas and Bailey; brother, James (Sally) Van Wormer of Pardeeville; sisters, Sarah (James) Manicki of Almond, Jennie (Mike) Johnson of Montello; special aunt, Elaine “Toodie” Hatz of Portage; special nephew, Joe Manicki of Montello; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents.  

Memorial services will be held at Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage on Saturday, October 14, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., with Pastor Tom Countryman officiating. Private inurnment at Oak Grove Cemetery will be held at a later date. Visitation will be at the funeral home from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Baraboo Ambulance Service, to the UW Hospital Healing Garden, or to the family who will make a donation in Gary’s honor.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Gary’s many doctors and nurses at the UW Hospital and Clinics.


For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)