Gilbert C. Schwantes, Jr.

PORTAGE – Gilbert C. Schwantes, Jr., age 94, of Portage, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 15, 2023, at Divine Savior Tivoli.

Gilbert was born on April 26, 1929, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Gilbert and Hildegard (Schaefer) Schwantes. He married Jean Delores Giese on February 8, 1952, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and in 2022 they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. He began making furniture at the National Parlor Frame with his father in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Gilbert and Jean moved to Portage in 1957, relocating National Parlor Frame to their new location.  In those early years Gil served in the National Guard at Ft. McCoy. In 1968 he opened King Sales Furniture store. When King Sales closed in 1973, he became a realtor and worked for Century 21 until he retired. 

Gilbert enjoyed creating art through his drawings, paintings, and wood carvings. He loved jazz music, curling, and worldwide travel. Gil and Jean resided on Hiawatha Avenue in Indian Hills where they had many great friends and neighbors. They were members of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church for over 60 years, where Gil served as a Mass usher for many years. He also served the community by volunteering at St Vincent DePaul and by contributing to the Portage Art Association and The Portage Historical Society.

He is survived by his children, Michael (Kathleen) Schwantes, Cary, IL, Daniel (Sofia) Schwantes, Columbus, Kathryn (Kevin) Wahl, Lowry, MN, Christine Sherwood, Taos, NM, Gil (Julie) Schwantes, Sierra Vista, AZ, and Steven (Tracy) Schwantes, Madison; 11 grandchildren, David (Eileen) Schwantes, Tracy Sherwood, Sedona (Devon) Stinson, James (Bethany) Schwantes, Sarah, Daniel, Michelle and Michael Wahl, Amanda (fiancé, Brent), Brett, and Christopher Schwantes; two great-grandchildren, Elliot and Max Schwantes; and many devoted friends, relatives and colleagues.  He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Jean. 

Memorial Mass will be at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, September 8, 2023, at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Portage, Wisconsin, with Fr. Randy Timmerman presiding. Inurnment will be private with family members only. Visitation will be from 12:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Friday at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Portage or the Portage Historical Society (

The Schwantes family would like to give special thanks to the caregivers at Tivoli and Agrace for their kindness and compassion shown to Gil.

Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.