Man killed in crash near Menomonie, WI identified as local rocker

"He is officially playing his big gig in the sky," his obituary says.
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"Whether you loved him or hated him you’ll never forget him."

So reads the obituary for Wisconsin musician Kenneth R. Candelaria, perhaps better known by the nickname "Papa Smurf," who was killed in a car accident near Menomonie on Thursday.

"He is officially playing his big gig in the sky," the obituary says.

Candelaria was "an extremely talented musician from a very young age" and played in such bands as "Wicked Lester" and "Denied" and "tried to thrill them all."

Candelaria, a 58-year-old Menomonie resident, was driving in Dunn County, about 35 miles from the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, when his SUV collided with a semi truck in an intersection, according to a news release from the local sheriff:

The driver of the semi was not injured, the release says.

Why the two vehicles may have collided is not clear, as the crash is still under investigation. Dunn County authorities are asking any witnesses to contact them at 715-232-1348.

Candelaria is survived by multiple children and grandchildren. Funeral services will be held "at a later date," according to the obituary. 

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