Stephen L. Mercaitis

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Stephen Lawrence Mercaitis, 71, of Mt. Hope, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, at 2:55 p.m. after a lengthy illness.

Steve was born in Rockford, Ill., on Nov. 25, 1948. He attended St. Patrick’s Grade School and graduated from St. Mary’s Preparatory Seminary School in Crystal Lake, Ill., in 1966. He then attended Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, from 1966 to 1968, and after, spent time studying communications at California State College at Long Beach. Steve spent a short time in the U.S. Army, stationed at Ft. Lewis, Wash., before receiving an honorable discharge. He worked at WREX TV station in the news department in Rockford, Ill., and for many years owned and operated Bill’s Bait while making fishing worms that were loved all across the country. 

Stephen was married on April 4, 1983, to Patricia Ann Franklin. 

After moving “back home” to Wisconsin, Steve worked the rest of his life at Lori Knapp, Inc. Steve greatly loved and cared for each and every friend he made at Lori Knapp and dedicated many hours to his work in hopes of making the lives and living conditions for those with a disability better. Steve was extensively involved in politics, holding many offices in and around the community. He loved discussing politics and would argue for hours with you over Democrats vs. Republicans. Those close to Steve know, the only thing he loved as much as his family (and possibly more sometimes) was the Chicago Cubs and John Deere tractors. One of the greatest joys in his life was getting to see the Cubs win the World Series in 2016. Steve served as Grand Knight over the Knights of Columbus Council 470 in Rockford, and was a fourth-degree knight in Campion Council 1840 in Prairie du Chien, and Fr. Mazzuchelli Assembly 1202. Steve was an avid woodworker and maintained a workshop that would be the envy of any skilled craftsman. When not spending time wood working, you could often find him at any available table getting together a game of bridge.

Steve and Pat loved nothing more than having friends and family “out to the farm” to entertain and enjoy the countryside. There was always plenty of room and food for anyone to stop and visit. Steve and Pat’s greatest joy was to see any of their nine grandchildren running through and around their home.

Steve is survived by his wife of 36 years, Pat; children, Darrin (Debbie) Klapprodt of Chicago, Ill., Darci (Todd) Knapp of Prairie du Chien, Christopher (Maura) Mercaitis of Chicago, Ill., and Stephanie (Allen) Robertson of Alexandria, La; grandchildren, Noah, Darrin, Joseph, Kristina, Kaitlyn, Benjamin, Hannah, Lauren, Kyleigh and Daniel; great-grandchildren, Evan and Rachel. He is also survived by one brother, William Anthony (Jane) Mercaitis, Jr. of Dardanelle, Ark.; and a host of very special nieces, nephews, friends and family. 

Stephen was preceded in death by his parents William, Sr. and Cleo Mercaitis.

A Memorial Mass of Resurrection will be Saturday, Feb. 15, at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Church of the Holy Family Parish, Prairie du Chien, with a Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Honor Guard attending. Friends may call at the church from 9 a.m. until the time of services. Military honors will be accorded by the Prairie du Chien Honor Guard. The Garrity Funeral Home of Prairie du Chien is assisting the family. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to Wisconsin Badger Camp, P.O. Box 723, Platteville, WI 53818. 

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