MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – For the last five decades, Gem Roller Rink in Menasha has been a staple for weekend meet-ups, but the last skate is coming soon.

“We’ve moved some of the skate counters, we’ve redone the concession counters, and moved the DJ booth slightly,” said co-owner Susan Roen.

Roen’s grandparents opened it in 1972 and it’s been family-run ever since, but things changed in the last year.

“After losing both of our parents in the last year, dad died last October very unexpectedly, and then mom died even more unexpectedly on May 29,” said Roen.

Besides getting a new floor in 1996, the rink has remained largely untouched. Of course, things looked a little different when it first opened 50 years ago. Oneida Street, for example, was nothing but farm fields.

“Really to me, this is my youth. This is how I grew up. This is what I know from my childhood,” said Roen’s brother, Nicholas Becker.

That’s part of the reason it makes it all the tougher for the family to say goodbye.

“We thank the community for 50 years. I mean this is probably, next to losing our parents, probably one of the hardest things that we’ve had to make the decision to do,” said Becker.

There had been plans in the works for the rink to eventually close, says Roen. It just got moved up after the death of their parents.

“There are so many different generations that have come through these doors. And even a lot of them have commented on bringing their own children, and some of them bringing their own grandchildren, that’s something you can never get back,” added Roen.

While this location is closing, the siblings still run and own Skaters Edge in Grand Chute, helping to continue a family legacy for even more generations.

THE ‘LAST SONG’ DETAILS

Saturday, Oct. 15
7 p.m. to midnight
Gem Roller Rink, 1360 S. Oneida St., Menasha

You can follow updates on the Gem Roller Rink’s Facebook page here.