George Shanak, 64, of Wausau, passed away peacefully at Aspirus Hospital in Wausau on July 5, 2015 with his wife, family and friends by his side.
He was born in the Town of Hewitt, WI on April 2, 1951, the son of Mike, Jr. and Virginia (Beck) Shanak. He graduated from Wausau High School in 1969. On August 7, 1976 he married Betty Smith. At an early age he owned and operated his own over-the-road semi truck and fell in love with driving and working on them. He worked for the Waupaca County Highway Department twice, for a combined 20 years. On nights and weekends he repaired semis under the name of Mechanical Builders. When his repair shop burned down in 1989 his customers urged him to rebuild. So, a year later, he bought land and built a shop and formed a new semi and equipment repair / heavy-duty towing and recovery business with his brother Ed, called S & S Truck and Equipment. A few years later, George bought Ed’s share and was sole proprietor with the help of his wife, sons and valuable employees. The business thrived and grew bigger over the last 20 years. George had a passion for working on trucks and many of his customers became long time friends. In 2011 his health forced him to sell S & S Truck and Equipment and retire. He and Betty then liked going to auctions, traveling and just doing things together. George could not quite get the diesel out of his system though and started working part-time for American Trucking of Stevens Point and Wisconsin Kenworth of Mosinee. He also enjoyed Glen’s off-road racing, hauling the truck and crew to different races.
He was a loving husband to Betty and a wonderful dad to Glen and Neil and will be missed dearly by them and all of his other relatives and friends. He was a very knowledgeable man and many people relied on him over the years. George is survived by his loving wife, Betty of Wausau and two sons, Glen of Waupaca and Neil of Stanley; he is also survived by two brothers, Edward of Waupaca and Dwight (June) of Waupaca; three sisters: Nathalie Miller of Norfolk, VA; Janet Shanak of Waupaca and Joyce (John) Flees of Dallas Center, IA; sisters-in-law: Mary Shanak of Waupaca, Susan Abbott of Stevens Point, Diane (Don) Thiel of Neenah, Phyllis (Jerry) Luttropp of Berlin, Susan (John) Otterson of Waupaca and Joan Smith (Peter Johnson); brothers-in-law: Ray (Pam) Smith of Waupaca and Tom (Tracy) Smith of Larson. He is further survived by his father and mother-in-law, Budd and Hagara Smith as well as several nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He will also be greatly missed by his new puppy Pepper that he loved very much. George was preceded in death by his parents, Mike and Virginia Shanak Jr.; brothers, Duane, Robert, Michael III and Douglas; and niece, Andrea Abbott. Also preceding him in death was his long time companion of 15 years, his dog April.
The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 12, 2015 at the Maple Crest Funeral Home of Waupaca. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. Burial will follow at Lakeside Cemetery, Waupaca.