Skip to content


Ralph Dean Wanbaugh (known as “Dean”) passed away peacefully in his sleep at home on July 26, 2014.


He was born June 8, 1925, at his parent’s home in Anoka, MN to Samuel and Emeline (Scanlon) Wanbaugh.

The family moved to Menomonie, WI in 1930, later settling in the Knapp Hills area. Dean attended Knapp grade school, graduating from the two year Knapp High School in 1940, and Downing High School in 1942.

Dean, along with his twin brother, Wayne, started dairy farming on the family farm in 1942 in the Town of Stanton. They milked the entire herd of Guernsey cows by hand for the first year and continued dairy farming for 44 years until retirement in 1986. They sold the farm in 1989 and moved to Menomonie.

Dean enjoyed many adventures of hunting and fishing on the home farm and their property in Barnes, WI. He had a special passion for crappie fishing on Devil’s Lake in Barnes but also was a skilled hunter in many areas especially of deer and bear of which he experienced many successful hunts over the years.

He was an active member of the Dunn County Fish and Game Club for several years where he received the “Outstanding Conservation Award” in 2005. He especially enjoyed being involved with the pheasant project and work days. Dean also made it a priority to watch and cheer for the Milwaukee Brewers and the Green Bay Packers. He was a “die-hard” Packer Fan!

Dean has been a member of St. Bridget’s Catholic Church, Wilson, WI since the 1930’s. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus during the 1940’s & 50’s.

He is survived by his long-time devoted friend and caregiver, Sue Cave; sister, Mary (John) Widmar of Crosby, MN; nieces and nephews, Sam (Diane) Cave of Roseville, MN, Patrick (Joan) Cave of Seatec, WA, Mary (Dick) Jarvis, Wausau, WI; step-nieces, Pat (Al) Miller of Clearwater, MN and Arlene (Dick) Haworth of Wyoming, MN; John (Kris) Widmar of Downsville, WI, Tony (Suzanne) Widmar of Barnes, WI, Terry Widmar of Scottsdale, AZ, Ann (Dan) Kelly of Scottsdale, AZ, and Joan (Mike) Sutliff of Duluth, MN.

Dean was preceded in death by his parents, Samuel and Emeline (Scanlon) Wanbaugh; Evelyn (Ed) Cave and Sr. Mary Frances Wanbaugh OSM; twin brother, Wayne Wanbaugh; brother-in-law, Ed (Bernice) Cave; nephews, John “Skip” Cave, Dennis Cave, Robert Cave, and baby William Cave.

Since Dean had seen so many friends and family at his brother’s service not so long ago, he requested we have a private family service for him which took place August 2, 2014. He loved every one of you. Please keep Dean in your thoughts and prayers.

Chippewa Valley Cremation Services is serving the family. To share memories online, please visit