- A Merrill pastor critically injured in a car crash near Rhinelander this month died Monday afternoon.
According to a post from his wife on a family-created CaringBridge page, James Weiland died at 2:20 p.m.
Weiland, 58, was hurt in a crash on Highway 8 several miles west of Rhinelander around 1 p.m. on Jan. 12. His pickup truck crashed with a semi-truck, which led to a 4 1/2-hour closure of the highway. Medics took Weiland from the scene in an ambulance before airlifting him to Aspirus Wausau Hospital. The semi-truck driver was not hurt.
Weiland served as pastor at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Merrill, a post he held since 1996. According to the church's website, Weiland had five children. He and his wife, Sue, were married in 1982.
"If there's an individual here that's the leader of the church, that's Pastor [Weiland]," church councilman Ken Cerney told Newswatch 12 several days after the crash. "He's not just our spiritual leader but he's always in the middle of everything."
At the time, Cerney said the church leaders planned to hold a church meeting to decide who would fill in for Weiland while he was in the hospital.
Weiland posted a monthly "Pastor's Update" on the church's website. His final post came earlier in January, where the pastor wrote about making 2018 a "year to remember."
"Take action to serve others," Weiland wrote. "Find a neighbor who needs some help. Bake some cookies just to give them away. Take off early from work to simply spend time with your kids. Put down/away your phone and listen to your spouse or children talk. Volunteer to take part in an organization or project. Target your prayers for other people and their needs rather than focusing on your own."