Michael LaVerne Herbst, 65, Gratiot, Wis., died Dec. 8, 2015 at home after a battle with small cell prostate cancer. He was born Aug. 24, 1950 in Hazel Green, Wis., the son of Kathleen and LaVerne Herbst and he lived most of his life in Gratiot.
Mike graduated from Black Hawk High School and attended college at the University of WIsconsin-Platteville, where he made lifelong friends. He married Dianne Boeck June 16, 1973 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Gratiot. The couple has six daughters, in which Mike took great pride. He loved to tell people how later on God and his daughters finally graced him with boys after six sons-in-law and 11 grandsons joined the family.
Early on in his career, Mike worked as a home contractor for Wick Homes and received several awards until he decided to farm full time. He was intellectually gifted with numbers and was capable of great compassion -- he would give the shirt off of his back to anyone less fortunate. One of his biggest loves in his life was the farm. He will be remembered for giving combine rides to the grandchildren and spending time with those who worked for him over the years. Mike built the Gratiot Fast Stop convenience store in 1999 with his brother and owned and operated the business until 2014. He had a wonderful sense of family and community. He also loved his 1966 Corvette and enjoyed rides in the summertime. He was always helping others, spending time with family, watching the weather and had endless concern for his daughters’ whereabouts, especially during bad weather; even after they were grown.
Survivors include his wife, Dianne, of Gratiot; his six daughters: Shanna (Craig) Driessen, Seymour; Michelle (Carl) Huschitt, Browntown; Heidi (Adam) Lindsey, Lake Mills; Emily (Brent) Massingill, Orangeville, Ill.; Jaci (Jake) Haack, Dodgeville; Amber (Chris) Wersal, New Glarus. His siblings: Joe (Nancy) Herbst, Browntown; Herb (Marlene) Herbst, Gratiot; Mary Pat Richel (Mark Davis), Orangeville, Ill.; Chuck (Christy) Herbst, Gratiot; Dick Herbst, Gratiot; Pat Herbst, Gratiot; Lisa (Mark) Taft, Monroe. He is also survived by 14 grandchildren: Kort, Rhett and Teig Driessen; Madelyn and Owen Huschitt; Truman Lindsey; Mack, Griffin and Leo Massingill; Nash and Collins Haack; and Ford, Fletcher and Frances Wersal. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, LaVonne Boeck, Monroe. Special friends include Bob Montgomery, Ben Solberg and Jerry Seinfeld.
He was preceded in death by his parents: Kathleen and LaVerne Herbst; a brother in infancy, Tommy Herbst; his father-in-law, Delbert Boeck and two nieces, Carrie Herbst and Toni Boeck.
The family would like to give special thanks to the Monroe Clinic Oncology Department and its nurses, his favorite nurse, Michelle Huschitt, the Monroe Clinic Hospice Care, Dr. Robert Hegeman and several other doctors and nurses for all of their special care and concern.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at noon Monday, Dec. 14 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Gratiot with Rev. Joji Reddy officiating. Friends and family may call preceding the funeral from 9-11:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 14. Erickson Funeral Home in Darlington is serving the family.