Frederic A. Stai, 84, passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, July 29, after a recent diagnosis of
Fred was born in Ettrick, Wisconsin on December 28, 1937, the third of four children born to Harry and
Lanth (Thompson) Stai. The family moved frequently in the early years for Harry’s work as a high school
principal and for his military service during WWII. After attending kindergarten and half of first grade in
Chicago, Fred spent most of his school years in Taylor, where Lanth taught grade school for many years.
As a youngster, Fred enjoyed sports and spending time on his grandparents’ farm near Northfield. He
graduated from Taylor High School in 1955 and then earned a barbering license at Eau Claire Vocational
School in June 1956.
Fred started his barbering career and earned his Master Barber License at Vic’s Barbershop in La Crosse
before buying into a barbershop in Blair in 1960 and then starting his own barbershop in Black River
Falls in 1964. From 1957 to 1963, Fred also served in the military. He served for three years in the
Marines and Marine Reserves and then finished his service with the Army Reserve, during which time he
was called to serve at Fort Lewis from October 1961 to August 1962.
On July 27, 1963, Fred married Mary Kubina. Aside from a brief stint in Milwaukee during their first
year of marriage, Fred and Mary spent the rest of their married lives in Black River Falls. They felt
blessed by their three daughters – Sandy, Karen, and Sarah – and later by their sons-in-law and
Through the years, Fred enjoyed camping and cross-country road trips with family and had many
hobbies, including woodworking, coin collecting, doing handyman projects with friends, and stewarding
100 acres of retired farmland that he purchased in 1994. Fred and Mary celebrated their 50 th anniversary
in 2013, eleven months before Mary passed away from a long battle with carcinoid cancer.
Fred transitioned from barbering to opening a State Farm Insurance agency on Feb. 1, 1971. Thirty years
later daughter Karen took over the business as agent, and Fred enjoyed working with her over the next
15 years until he retired from the insurance business for good.
In 2016 Fred met Carol Keen of Duluth, Minnesota and found in her a life partner for his later years. Fred
was actually inspired to consider new companionship by reading the obituaries! He found that life and
love can be found anew at any age. Fred and Carol enjoyed wintering in Gulf Shores, Alabama, spending
cabin time on the lake in northern Wisconsin during summers, and collaborating on woodworking and
other home improvement projects.
Fred made the trip of a lifetime to ancestral Norway in 2019 along with Carol, his three daughters, and
other family members, visiting ancestors’ farm sites and their respective churches. A special place to
visit was the Stai Station railroad depot in Stai, Norway.
Fred was not only a devoted family man and friend, he was very dedicated to the betterment of his
community, serving in many volunteer roles over the course of his 58 years as a resident of Black River
Falls. In the early years, he was a member of the local Jaycees and received an Outstanding Jaycee
award. Starting in 1985, Fred served over 35 years with the Lions Club. During that time he served as
president and treasurer and was honored as a Melvin Jones Fellow in 2009.
A lifelong golfer along with Mary, Fred volunteered extensively over the years in service of Skyline Golf
Course. He served on the Skyline Golf Course Board for four three-year terms, was president four
different years, and served on the Finance Committee for many years. Fred was instrumental in adding a
second nine holes to the Skyline Golf Course for 18-hole play. For his many contributions Fred received
the Skyline Service Award.
Fred was often tapped to lead or support fundraising efforts. He was proud to take part in fundraising
for the new library, the Lunda Community Park, the Field of Honor, the Foundation Legacy Maintenance
Fund, and the Skyline Golf Course Legacy Foundation Fund. He also served as a trustee of the Black
River Falls Area Foundation.
Fred was as comfortable putting on his work boots and clearing trees for the “back nine” at Skyline or
installing irrigation at the Field of Honor as he was crunching numbers in the meeting room.
In 2007 Fred was honored to receive the Rotary International Service Above Self Award for his many
years of dedication to the enrichment of the community. Although Fred was grateful for the awards
received, he was most appreciative of the reward and satisfaction that came from working with so many
friendly, talented, and generous people in the community over the years.
Fred is survived by his life partner of six years, Carol Keen; his three daughters, Sandy (Michael
Schnabel) of Chaska, MN, Karen (Jim) Koenigs of Black River Falls, Sarah (Kevin Hoffman) of Hudson,
WI; grandchildren Brandon, Dylan, and Jaden Schnabel, Kacey and Jayme Koenigs, and Samuel, Joseph,
and Gabriel Hoffman; sister Virginia Clipper of Whitehall, WI and brother Harry (Barb) Stai of
Menomonie, WI; and several nephews and nieces.
Fred was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Lanth Stai, sister Marilyn (Stai) Johnson, wife
Mary (Kubina) Stai, and four nephews.
A celebration of life for family and friends will be held at Skyline Golf Course on Saturday, August 27
from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. with a short program at 3 p.m. The family held a private burial for Fred at
Torgerson’s Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, Fred requested that donations be given to the Black River Falls Area Foundation
Skyline Golf Course Fund.