133 Mason St., Onalaska, WI • Call (608) 788-2188


Lance E. Schmitt

March 7, 2020 | 15 comments

Lance E. Schmitt, 48, of Onalaska died March 4th, 2020 at University Hospital in Madison from complications following heart surgery performed at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. He was born March 9, 1971 to Dean and Lorraine Schmitt of Fountain City, WI.  He grew up in Onalaska and graduated from Aquinas High School where he was a state champion wrestler. In 2018, he was awarded the Aquinas Blugold Wrestling Legacy Award.  On October 14, 2006, he married Sara Mathis of Waukon in La Crosse, WI. Lance owned Schmitt Builders in Onalaska. He was an accomplished carpenter and worked with his brother, Lee. His passions were his children, enjoying mornings and getting them ready for school and on the bus.  He also enjoyed trips up north to the Wessleys, trout fishing, taking walks with Sara and Coco, playing cards with friends and family, and cruising backroads. Everybody loved Lance for his playful pranks, his strong, helping hands and his easy-going nature.  He was a frequent visitor to local watering holes and made many friends during these adventures.  Lance will be greatly missed.

Lance is survived by his wife, Sara (Mathis), his children Wessley and Avery Schmitt both at home; sister Lisa and brother Lee (Erin) Schmitt, Onalaska, father and mother-in-law, Daniel and Kathy Mathis, Waukon, IA, sister-in-law Jennifer (Dwayne) Durham of (Centerville, IA) and brother-in-law Eric Mathis of Marion, IA; nephews Adam, Carson, Conner and niece, Maggie, dear friends Scott (Erin) Wessley, Todd (Amy) English and many other relatives, neighbors and friends.  Lance’s family would like to acknowledge the kindness and support from Renee Thies.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dean and Lorraine Schmitt.

Consistent with Lance’s caring spirit and willingness to help others, he has become a hero to many through organ donation.

A funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, March 11 at 5 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Parish, Onalaska.  A visitation will be held from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm on Tuesday, March 10 at The Gathering Place, 133 Mason St., Onalaska.  Visitation will also be from 4 p.m. until the time of Mass on Wednesday at the church.  In lieu of flowers, memorials to the family are preferred.

To view Lance’s memorial video click the link below:
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  1. Clarissa

    So sorry for your loss. May the memories you have help you through this sad, sad time.

  2. Mona Malszycki (Greg and Josh)

    We are so sorry for your loss! Lance and Coco always put a smile on our faces. We met as neighbors around 2002. Lance was fearless with our little Jaker. He always made the time to stop and say hi and have a conversation. He helped us around the house and offered his advice. He was a lovely person and our hearts go out to his wife and children, Coco, and his brother Lee and family.

    • Bill janowiak

      Prayers and thoughts go out to Lee and Erin. Not only were Lance and Lee brothers but business partners! Tragic and sad.
      Love, Uncle Bill and Aunt Anita Janowiak and Janowiak family, Arlington Heights

  3. Joe Riker

    Schmitt family

    So for your Loss, lance was a great guy, I got to know him through Lee. They did some work for us up in Rochester Years ago. But the time I spent with lance and seeing him down there was always a good time. He was a v family guy, and love to have fun. Always had a great time no matter what he was doing. He will be missed so much, sorry for your Loss.

  4. Sheila Panke

    So sorry to hear this. He was a great kid. He and out son Jeff were very well acquainted through wrestling. They will meet and continue wrestling.

  5. sharyl Huskamp

    Sarah if there is anything I can do to help you let me know I am so sorry for your loss my words can not express it enough only my tears I am sure that Lorraine is saying what the heck are you doing here

    • Bob and Kay Troendle

      Our sympathy to Sara and their family.

  6. The Brisch’s

    Lance holds a special place in our hearts as he does with all who knew him!
    He always had a smile on his handsome face and he touched the hearts of many!
    He will be sadly missed by his family and friends.
    Cherish all your wonderful memories of Lance and may you find comfort in them!

  7. Julie snitker

    So sorry for your loss, you are in our thoughts and prayers!💙🙏 many hugs!

  8. Nathan Vinson

    I was shocked and saddened to hear that Lance had passed away. He was a close friend in high school, and sadly after I left Lacrosse in 1989 the visits with him disappeared after the mid 90s. My deepest condolences to Sara, Wessley and Avery who will no doubt carry heavy sadness for a long time. They say “remember and hold close the good memories”…I am not even sure I can recall one bad memory of Lance. He was a special person with a huge heart and when it came right down to it, he was someone you could count on to be there when you needed him the most. He will not be forgotten.

    • Loren Salzwedel

      We are deeply sorry for your loss. My wife and I became good friends years ago with Lance. I, along with the rest of the crew at Affordable Concrete had the pleasure to work on many of Lee and Lance’s jobsites. There was never a dull moment with Lance around. He was full of humor/smiles and always took pride in his hard work. I loved to hear of his trout fishing experiences and always came away from those conversations, knowing Lance had a passion to catch not only trout, but huge trout. The news of his passing came as a shock to us and in finding comfort in this, the memories of Lance will be cherished forever. You will be missed my friend.

  9. Renee Skaer

    I am so sad to read this news! Lance was a wonderful guy! He had a great personality very outgoing and friendly. We meet him when we were neighbors at Cedar Ave and Sara was pregnant with Wessley. Lance very much loved our golden retriever “Buddy”. Lance was building a home next to the one we were building and we raced to see who would get the roof done first. He won and then came and helped us. He was a great guy! I am so sorry for your loss.

  10. Martha Koloski

    Dear Sara, Wessley, Avery, Lee and Lisa, Lance was straight out of high school when I met him. He helped me put the siding on my first duplex. He was one of those people that could work so hard and still have so much fun getting it all done. I can’t even imagine the number of people he’s helped in our area, but I wanted you to know his work ethic, kindness and sense of humor were truly appreciated and he was really one of a kind! My prayers and condolences to your family.

  11. Kami Newkirk

    Sara and family,
    I’m so incredibly sorry for this devastating and unexpected loss. I pray for strength as you all try to navigate life without Lance. I hope you find some peace in knowing he is resting in the arms of Jesus and watching you all from above.
    Peace and blessings to all who loved him.


  12. Bruce Henslin

    Sorry to hear about your loss. Lance was a great carpenter! Him and Tom put the wood flooring in our house. Did a fantastic job! He was very talented at what he did. I’m sure he will be missed by many!


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