Makenzie Muraski passed away on September 1, 2023, leaving a brief but rich legacy as a pride-inspiring daughter and a dedicated and nurturing sister, classmate, friend and mentor.
Born on March, 19, 2003 in Shawano, Wisconsin to Kim Gilbertson and Brian Muraski, Makenzie was purpose- and knowledge-driven through her formative years in Granton and as an honors student and emerging leader at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
"In a world where you can be anything, be courageous and be you" she wrote via Instagram. Action followed those words. She endeavored to lead -- to teach at the elementary and special education levels and apply the experience as a school administrator. As a UMD Integrated Elementary and Special Education major earning Dean's List honors, she mentored children through a Duluth YMCA day camp and as an "Out-of-School-Time Youth Specialist"' for the YMCA's Eagle Nest Afterschool Program.
The journey took shape at Granton Area Hgh School, which designated Makenzie as Class of 2021 Valedictorian. A member of the BLAST (Be Leaders and Stand Tall) student organization, she served the school's FFA chapter as secretary, reporter and vice president, as well as the school's National Honor Society as secretary and student council secretary and vice president. Academically excelling throughout as a high-honors student, she also was basketball team captain, played clarinet for the school band, served on the school yearbook staff, participated in Varsity Club and served as a 2019-2020 Granton Fall Festival attendant. Also, through her high school years, she worked nights and weekends for Mapleworks Cafe in Granton.
She enjoyed such activities as boating, tubing, fishing, kayaking, walking/hiking, dining and shopping. Favorites included playing cards -- '500 rummy' -- with Grandma Muraski, pontoon rides with Grandma and Grandpa Rondorf and 'shaking dice' with Grandma Dorothy. She will be especially remembered as a constant and dependable helper at home and as an amazing sister to her siblings. Moreover, she is beloved and remembered as a blessing and connecting presence between the multiple families in her life.
Makenzie is survived by her parents Kim and Jim Gilbertson of Granton and Brian and Cathy Muraski of Arpin; siblings Samantha of Baraboo, Dillon (Megan) of Neillsville, Caitlyn of Marshfield, Andrew of Arpin, Walker of Granton; partner Josh Shepherd (parents Natalie and Craig Shepherd) of Saginaw, MN; and grandparents Bill and Gloria Schoenknecht of Wisconsin Rapids, plus several aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends. She is preceded in death by Grandparents Ray and Betty Rondorf, Erwin and Dorothy Gilbertson, and Bernard and Inez Muraski, Uncle Jeff Schoenknecht; and Aunt/Godmother Laura Watson.
Visitation is Friday, September 8 from 4-7 p.m., with a prayer service immediately following, and on Saturday, September 9 from 9-11 a.m., with the funeral service immediately following - all taking place at Gesche Funeral Home, 4 S. Grand Ave, Neillsville. Pastor Timothy Ritter will be officiating. Pallbearers will be Samantha Muraski, Dillon Muraski, Caitlyn Muraski, Andrew Muraski, Alex Zimbauer and Cole Zimbauer, with Josh Shepherd, Megan Walter and Walker Gilbertson as honorary pallbearers.
Lunch will be served after the service at the Legion in Neillsville, followed by interment.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Makenzie's name to one of the following organizations she had passionately dedicated herself to: The Granton FFA, YMCA of Duluth, Minnesota or the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Online Condolences may be made at www.geschefh.com.
Gesche Funeral Home and Cremation Service is assisting Makenzie's family with funeral arrangements.