MariBeth Josephine (Denzer) Rajek, Cornell WI, passed away Sunday March 20, 2022 at the Marshfield Medical Center, Marshfield, WI, from lung cancer. She was born on April 28, 1971 in Red Wing MN, the 6th child of Stanley J. and JoAnne C. (Zeeveld) Denzer. MariBeth grew up on a farm in Hager City, and graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1990. She was affectionately called Beth or Bethy by her siblings or Bethycat by her dad.
MariBeth married Robert F. Rajek Jr. December 2, 2000, they were blessed with three children, Cordell, 20, Ashley, 19 and Elizabeth, 14. MariBeth loved her children, was tremendously proud of them and celebrated all their accomplishments in school, 4-H, FFA, and life. Being the mother of Cordell, Ashley and Elizabeth was MariBeth’s greatest joy and happiness. Beth faced cancer fiercely and was there for her children as much as possible. MariBeth stayed positive throughout and appreciated her family’s encouragement and support. Due to limitations from COVID, Beth utilized social media, phone calls and letters to stay connected to her caring relatives and friends.
From the time she was a little girl, MariBeth had a strong affinity with animals especially cats, dogs, baby lambs, and sheep and they had an affinity with her. Beth’s mother JoAnne recalls how she would carry around kittens, puppies, cats or dogs and loved to help bottle feed orphaned lambs. Her most memorable companion was Benny the ram lamb, who followed Beth everywhere. Benny was infamously spoiled by Beth and notorious for getting a running start then ramming into every kid and adult in the family from behind, usually knocking them flat! Benny was the source of much amusement for Beth and her siblings, except when he knocked them down also! MariBeth shared her love of animals with her dad, who raised sheep his whole life, he taught Beth and they raised sheep together until she married and began raising sheep with her husband and children. One of MariBeth’s favorite activities was attending and showing sheep at fairs and sheep shows. She taught her children to show and continued to show herself in open class much of her adult life.
MariBeth continued to have cat and dogs for pets; in most pictures, she is holding a pet. Beth enjoyed picking strawberries, working out, playing cards especially Gin Rummy and getting her nails painted regularly. Relaxing in a hot tub was a special treat for her. MariBeth enjoyed cooking, but her favorite foods were Stan’s beer-grilled chicken and a steak dinner – which her parents served at her wedding. Beth had a fun and infectious laugh, she liked parties, talking to everyone and listening to country music. She loved to crank up the volume and sing along to her favorite song “American Kids” by Kenney Chesney.
MariBeth will remain in the hearts of her husband, Robert; children Cordell, Ashley, and Elizabeth; stepchildren Clayton (Laykin) Rajek and Brittany (Paul) Smoczyk; mother JoAnne; siblings Steven (Pam) Denzer, Ellen (James) Denzer MacSwain, Anna (Scott) Johnson, Rita (Mark) Elwood and Bernard (Rebecca) Denzer; 13 nieces and nephews; aunts Helen (Harlyn) Puhrmann and Elaine (David) Denzer, Uncle Byron (Vicki) Zeeveld and cousins; and many friends and neighbors. Beth was preceded in death by her father Stanley John Denzer, two infant brothers Daniel John and James Joseph, Grandparents Anna Hazel (Buck) Denzer, Henry Denzer Jr., Josephine Elizabeth (Gavin) Zeeveld, and Audley Thoen Zeeveld.
A Celebration of Life for immediate family members was held for MariBeth on April 10, 2022 at the Big Drywood Lutheran Church, Cornell, WI. MariBeth will be buried next to her father, Stanley, at St. Mary’s Big River Church, River Falls, WI. A Memorial Service for family and friends to remember MariBeth will be held at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home, Baldwin, WI on Friday May 6th from 5 to 8 pm, light refreshments will be provided.