Sunday, April 13, 2014

Obituary: Caryl (Young) Willan - Class of 1932

MADISON - Caryl Willan, "Mom, Ma, Gram," lived an amazing 100+ years. She passed away at Oakwood Village East on April 11, 2014. Caryl lived a good, full life for a 100+ years, a century, entirely in Madison. She was born to George and Sydonia Young on July 16, 1913, in the 1200 block of East Dayton Street in the Tenney/Lapham neighborhood. Caryl was the youngest of five siblings, Gertrude, Edith, Ruth and George Jr., all deceased. Caryl's entire childhood and many years of her young adult and married life were spent in the 1200 block of E. Dayton Street. Madison Central, now MATC, was Caryl's high school. She graduated from Central in June, 1932. She met her husband-to-be, Russell Willan, near her childhood home on Dayton Street. They were married on Oct. 29, 1932. Caryl and Russell had two sons and a daughter, Lyle (Judy), Rollie (Ginny) and Marilyn Greve. All three children have remained in the Madison area. Caryl's husband, Russell passed away in 1982. Caryl was affectionally know as "Gram" to 14 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. Caryl Willan, during her century of life, demonstrated and lived an array of positive qualities. She was always there. A - rock" for her kids, a good listener and was not judgmental. Caryl always respected a person's privacy. Gossip or speaking with ill will was foreign to her. She was kind. She was a great mother-in-law, supportive, encouraging and didn't meddle. Caryl was a calm, even keeled woman. Anger was incredibly rare and always controlled. She lived a number of old adages: "Change what you can change, accept what you can't." "If you can't say something nice about someone, say nothing at all." She never complained and asked for little. Intellectually, Caryl remained sharp as a tack. Even in to her late 90's, Caryl paid her own bills, handled her own banking, read the newspaper regularly and always voted. In her later years, thanks to Terry (granddaughter) and Carl Dvorak, Caryl Willan became a "cruiser," going on a number of Caribbean Cruises. A death, after a century of life, is worth celebrating. We admire and celebrate Caryl Willan's meaningful, well-lived life. In her 100 years, Caryl witnessed and adapted to a myriad of changes: 18 presidents, beginning with Woodrow Wilson, too may wars (World War I, World War II, Korean, Viet Nam, Iraq I and Iraq II), the Depression and multiple recessions, horses to Ford Model T to Hybrid/Electric cars, air travel, space exploration, TV, computers, the internet, solar power and cell phones. Caryl Willan experienced so much change and yet remained vibrant, active and forever independent. Upon her passing, there is ample reason to celebrate. Thanks to Carl and Terry Dvorak for letting Mom experience life well beyond Dayton Street. Thanks to the folks at Oakwood Village East for making Mom's last two decades, safe, active and comfortable. Thanks to Dick Christofferson for the many red lobster lunches and staying in touch. Thanks to Agrace HospiceCare for making Mom's last days easier and more comfortable. Thanks to the Frautschi Family and Webcrafters for underwriting her health insurance so many years after retirement. Any Memorial Offerings could be made to Oakwood Village East c/o Oakwood Foundation, 6201 Mineral Point Road, Madison, Wisconsin 53705; Plymouth Congregational Church, 2410 Atwood Ave., Madison, Wisconsin, 53704; or Agrace HospiceCare, 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Madison, WI 53711. A Celebration of Life Gathering will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. at the OAKWOOD VILLAGE EAST CHAPEL.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on April 13, 2014. Submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968).

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Obituary: Richard Neal Sweet - Class of 1967

MADISON - Richard Neal Sweet died of melanoma in Madison, on Monday, April 7, 2014.

Dick was born in Madison to Ben Sweet and Miriam (Gast) Sweet on Jan. 10, 1949, and was a lifelong Madison resident. He graduated from Lincoln grade school, Central High, UW-Madison, and UW Law School. Dick worked as an attorney for 36 years for the Wisconsin Legislative Council, a job that he enjoyed involving a mix of law and public policy. He specialized in health law, veterans issues, and administrative rules, and was widely respected for his work with the Wisconsin Legislature as well as the National Conference of State Legislatures. He retired in 2011 and enjoyed time reading, cooking, doing volunteer work, auditing UW classes, taking his collie, Riley, to dog parks, and spending time with family and friends. He was an ardent fan of the Milwaukee Brewers and UW sports.

While they were both working in the Legislature, Dick and Judy Zvara began dating and were married on a beautiful fall day in 1982 at the University Club on State Street. That day, October 3, was also the day the Milwaukee Brewers sealed their inclusion in the 1982 playoffs. Dick and Judy spent part of their honeymoon cheering for the Brewers at the World Series in Milwaukee.

Dick and Judy loved camping, cross-country skiing, and traveling; their pre-child adventures included a month-long trip to the British Isles. They enjoyed vacationing with their children at Disney World, Longboat Key, Fla., and many road trips in between. The family favorite was the annual trip "Up North" to northern Wisconsin with friends. Dick was known for his kindness, his humility, his even-handed and analytical approach to issues great and small, his dry wit, and his legendary knowledge of 50s and 60s rock music.

Dick is survived by his wife, Judy Zvara; children, Kathryn and David Sweet; and grandson, Oliver Sweet. Riley the collie already misses Dick's loving companionship. Dick is further survived by his sister, Linda Sweet; uncle, Morris Sweet (Helen); cousins, Pauline Sinnamon (Jim), Mark Sweet (Lynn), Nan Roytberg (Dimitry), and Mona Carver (David); sister-in-law, Carol Gobel; niece, Kristina Gobel (Steve Burgun) and their children, Matthew and Michael; and nephew, Gregory Gobel.

The family thanks the many friends with whom we have spent wonderful times through the years and who provided so much support during Dick's illness.

 Memorials may be made to RSVP of Dane County, The Road Home, or a charity of your choice.

A gathering to celebrate Dick's life will be held on Sunday, May 4, 2014, at 1 p.m. at the UNIVERSITY CLUB, 803 State St., in Madison.

 Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on April 9, 2014. Submitted by Sidney Iwanter (Class of 1967) and Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1969).

Obituary: Maurice "Maurie" Ellis - Class of 1953

WAUNAKEE - Maurice "Maurie" Ellis, age 79, died at home on Monday, April 7, 2014, after a courageous, two year battle with colon cancer.

Born on April 4, 1935, to Wayne and Eunice (Rasmussen) Ellis, Maurie spent his early years in the Brooklyn, Wis., area, moving to Madison in 1949. Maurie attended Central High School and graduated from UW-Stout in 1957. He served in the U.S. Army from 1957 to 1959. On Dec. 28, 1957, Maurie married his college sweetheart, Mary Katherine "Kay" Kennedy, at St. Aloysius Church in Sauk City. Maurie and Kay started Ellis True Value Hardware Store, in the Westmoreland area of Madison, in 1961 and operated the business until 1990. Maurie then worked at Ace Hardware on Willie Street until retirement.

Maurie's retirement years were just as active as his career days until his illness forced him to slow down. He was always looking for a way to be of service to others and to help those around him. Maurie volunteered at Habitat for Humanity's Restore and with the Red Cross for 15 years, delivering donated blood and helping with disaster relief during hurricanes in Florida and Mississippi and tornados in Wisconsin. He was a member of the Devil's Head Ski Patrol for over 30 years, where he recently received a Distinguished Service Award from the National Ski Patrol for his many hours of community involvement. This award meant the world to Maurie and the timing of its presentation on Jan. 26, 2014, could not have been better.

Many people may know Maurie as the "Tool Man" as he was both a trader and restorer of fine hand tools. Every spring, collectors would follow the signs to Maurie's annual tool sale in Waunakee for tool bargains and tool-talk. Maurie could talk tools or skiing all day and made wonderful friends through his many interests. Maurie and Kay enjoyed years of camping, travel, and celebrations with their family of close friends, Fred and Marge, Pat and George, Ted and Sande, Dick and Shirley, Marty and Larry, and Joanne and Charlie. This close-knit group has dropped a stitch and will forever feel the hole left by Maurie's smile and quick wit.

Maurie is survived by his wife, Kay; daughter, Patti Ellis (Hugh Miller); son, Tim (Lynne); granddaughters, Kristi (Travis) Brown and Abby Ellis; sister, Betty Cerniglia; and sister-in-law, Jackie Murphy. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Robert; and brother-in-law, Matt Murphy.

Maurie was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and a joy to his many friends and colleagues. He will be deeply missed. The family would like to thank the staff at Dean Oncology and Agrace HospiceCare for their excellent care and compassion.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Thursday, April 10, 2014, at 11 a.m. at ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CATHOLIC CHURCH, 209 South St., Waunakee. A visitation will be held at church from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass.

 In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, or Agrace HospiceCare.

 Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on April 9, 2014. Submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968) and Martha Soules Rortvedt (Class of 1965).

The class year for Maurie Ellis is based on information from a 1953 list of Central High School graduates published in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Obituary: Carroll (Waddell). Accola - Class of 1934

PRAIRIE DU SAC - Carroll W. Accola, age 96, passed away on Saturday, April 5, 2014, at Maplewood Nursing Home in Sauk City. She was born in Madison on April 17, 1917, to the late Charles and Hulda (Koerth) Waddell. She graduated from Central High School in Madison, class of 1934. Carroll married Harlow P. Accola on Sept. 28, 1940. He preceded her in death on Dec. 6, 1992. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Prairie du Sac, and enjoyed being active in the church, volunteering in the community, golfing, and playing bridge.

She is survived by her six children, Marilyn (Glenn) Herschleb of Sauk City, James (Sue) Accola of Fond du Lac, Jack (Judy) Accola of Prairie du Sac, Janice (Skip) Stephenson of Laguna Niguel, Calif., Susan (Tom) Schermerhorn of Portage, and Tom Accola of Key West, Fla.; 12 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; a special sister-in-law, Kay Accola; and numerous other relatives and friends. In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in by two brothers, Harvey and Clinton Waddell; a sister, Lorraine Osterfund; and grandson-in-law, Les Helms.

A funeral service will be held at the FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 435 Fifth St., Prairie du Sac, at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Burial will follow in the Prairie du Sac Cemetery. A visitation will be held on Monday, April 7, 2014, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the HOOVERSON FUNERAL HOME, Sauk City, and one hour prior to her service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the First Presbyterian Church or the Ruth Culver Memorial Library.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on April 6, 2014. Submitted by Miochael Vahldieck (Class of 1968).

Obituary: Paul E. Wichmann - Class of 1961

MADISON - Paul E. Wichmann, age 70, of Madison, passed away on March 5, 2014. He was born on Jan. 24, 1944, in Stevens Point, the son of William "Bud" and Myrna June (Edwards) Wichmann. Paul graduated Madison Central High School in 1961. He was employed at Madison Opportunity Center and Ray O Vac. Paul was an usher at University of Wisconsin football games in Camp Randall and basketball games held in the Fieldhouse. He lived in Madison for more than fifty years and was a resident of the Romnes Apartments for over twenty years. Paul was an avid sports fan. He closely followed the Badgers, Brewers and Packers. He loved bingo and his bowling league. Paul was a member various Presbyterian churches in Madison and of the Eagles Club.

Even though he had challenges in life, he was very generous of his time and talents to the residents of his apartment complex. Paul was often able to help the residents with their needs, driving them to appointments and shopping trips. He will be fondly remembered for his unique sense of humor, kindness to many, and great attention to detail. Surviving are his cousins, Louis (Nancy), Phillip (Pauline), William (Pat), and Barrett Jung, Gaye (Jack) Scheidegger, Charles (Karol), Scott (Carol) Wichmann and Brenda (Fred) Caruso, and their families. He was preceded in death by his father, Bud, in 1954; and later his mother, Myrna June Duranti, in 1998.

Family and friends are invited to attend graveside funeral services on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at 2 p.m., at the BELMONT CEMETERY in Belmont, Wis., with the Rev. Chris Davis officiating. Martin Schwartz Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Platteville is assisting the family.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on April 6, 2014. Submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Obituary: Theresa Marie (Castagna) Hare - Class of 1945

MADISON - Madison has lost a good one. Theresa Marie Hare (Castagna) [age 86] went to Heaven on March 27, 2014. She fought one helluva fight and did it her way. Cue the Frank Sinatra music! Her spirit still lives on with all who were fortunate to know Theresa. She touched everyone she ever knew. She was fun, funny, hard-working, friendly, the life of the party and made you feel like part of the family. She was tough as nails and you wouldn't have wanted to make her mad. She was a 5 foot powerhouse bursting with personality.

She married the love of her life, Jesse Jack Hare and together they forged a life branded with the motto "You only live once, so what the hell, go for it!" Theresa opened her first bar Chesty's in 1952 and eventually ran many businesses with Jack including The Bunny Hop, The White Hare and Hare's Towne Bowl. Their life read like a manual of how to live the best life ever! Theresa was blessed with family, many friends, crazy adventures and lots of love. Theresa's daughters, Toni and Jackie always felt lucky to have been chosen to be her kids. The greatest gift she ever gave to her daughters was an idyllic childhood filled with fun, laughter and lots of love.

When friends think of Theresa they remember her quick-witted humor and how she made everyone feel special. She could be found most Sundays hosting big spaghetti dinners and pool parties. Theresa also loved to take trips in their family's RV. As Theresa grew older into what she called "the Rusty Years", she still stayed spry. She never missed an Italian Fest and reminiscing with former Greenbush neighbors. She taught her grandchildren that fine art of being a wise-crackin' jokester. They were lucky to know that their Grandma loved them with every fiber of her being. Theresa lived life not according to how old the calendar said she was. In fact, she really disliked hanging out with "old people". At 86, she never considered herself old. That is the key to defying 70+ years of smoking those damn cigarettes and eating a cheeseburger with a slice of raw for breakfast! Her strength, tenaciousness and determination was the foundation of who Theresa was.

So get ready world because the Angel of Happiness is on the scene! The Department of Fun will never be the same! Raise a Miller Lite, smile and enjoy life today as Theresa would tell you to do. We all love and miss you, from your family: Toni Hare and Marcy Braucht, (Katie and Alex Hipler, Gabe and Will Braucht) Jackie and Mark White (Scarlett, Marshall and Truman White) and the Arizona Hares. Join us to celebrate the amazing life of Theresa Hare, Thursday April 3, 2014, at Good Shepherd Catholic Parish at St. James Church, 1128 St. James Court, Madison, Wis, with a 10 a.m. visitation and 11 a.m.funeral. Luncheon will immediately follow.

 Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on March 30, 2014. Submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968) 

Note: Theresa Castagna's class year is based on a 1945 list of graduates published in The Capital Times.

Obituary: Teresa Ann (Trotter) Brinker - Class of 1962

CONROE, TEXAS - Teresa Ann (Trotter) Brinker passed away of pancreatic cancer on March 27, 2014, in Conroe Texas. She was born Sept. 2, 1944, to Frank and Mabel (Jensen) Trotter at St. Mary's Hospital and grew up on the Isthmus at the corner of Dayton and Few St. She attended Lapham, St. Patrick's and Central High School. Tess had a big heart, impeccable handwriting and a beautiful voice. She sang in Triple Trio at Central with future recording artist Tracy Nelson. Tess was busy every fall canning tomatoes and vegetables for family and friends. Family was most important to her. Tess is survived by her children, Dale (Gail), Dee Ann, Denise (Roy), Derek, Dennis (Paula) and Damon; 13 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; sisters, Mavis, Chrissi, Sue (Scott); brothers, Norm, Curt (Sharon), Frank (Beth); Aunt Irene; 30 nephews and nieces and many, many more relatives. Tess was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Ralph Brinker (Nov. 2, 2013); son, David; and brother, Steve. Memorials can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or to a charity of an individual's choosing in Teresa's name.  

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on March 30, 2014. Submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968). 

Note: Teresa Ann Trotter's class year is based on information in the 1962 Tychoberahn, where her photograph is included amongst those of the graduating seniors.

Obituary: Brian Dennis Briggs - Class of 1960

HOLCOMBE, Wis. - Brian Dennis Briggs, age 71, formerly of Madison, passed away Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, surrounded by his loving family and friends. Brian was born in Oshkosh on Oct. 1, 1942, to the late Leroy E. and Norabel A.(Hutchins) Briggs. After attending schools in Madison and graduating from Central High School in 1960, he attended UW-Stevens Point and UW-Madison. In 1962, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, eventually being stationed in Hawaii where he served two years as a cartographer, mapping battle areas in Viet Nam for the ground troops. After his honorable discharge, Brian was employed for 13 years as a cartographer for Alster and Associates (later Owen Ayres & Associates) in Madison. Next he owned the Madison Gym Muscles and Fitness, first on Sherman Avenue and later on East Washington until retiring in 1996 and moving to the north woods near Holcombe, where he built a log home on the Fisher River. On Aug. 14, 1965, Brian married Stephanie Fike in Hawaii and they later divorced. On June 9, 1984, he married Franny Meyer in Columbus, Wis. From then on, he was her rock! Believing in the benefits of physical fitness and improving himself every day, resulted in Brian's lifelong love of sports, including playing and coaching hockey in high school, college and adulthood. Weightlifting and powerlifting were Brian's passions and he coached and mentored countless athletes while competing in numerous state and national drug-free powerlifting meets, setting many records along the way. Many remain unbroken today. Brian was also a skilled promoter and businessman. This expertise led to his being Badger State Games Commissioner of Lifting events for several years. Nothing, however, gave Brian more pleasure than cheering on the Badgers and the Packers. Volunteerism played a big role in Brian's life. He helped first graders learn to read at Lake Holcombe Elementary, delivered meals at Christmas for the Cornell Food Pantry and helped serve meals at Eau Claire's Community Table. Brian was the sort of person who would drop whatever he was doing if a friend or neighbor needed help. Brian is survived by his wife of almost 30 years, Franny Meyer-Briggs of Holcombe; his daughter, Kimberly Briggs of Tucson, Ariz.; a sister, Kathie (Bill) Nardi of Middleton; grandson, Julio "Max" Briggs Gonzalez; granddaughter, Olivia Briggs Gonzalez; in-laws, Ted and Rosalie Meyer of Thorp, Wis.; Franny's brothers and sisters, Nancy and Ray Kodl and Denny and Arlene Meyer, all of Thorp; Donna Meyer-Klick and Denny Klick of Boyd, Wis.; Mary Lou and Jim Felix of Greenwood, Wis.; and Jerry and Sally Meyer of Menomonee Falls; 15 nieces and nephews and their spouses; three great-nephews; five great-nieces; one great-great-nephew; and many friends and surrogate children who were very special to him. Brian's family would like to thank the staff at Sacred Heart Hospital, especially those on Seventh Floor, who cared for him and his family and friends the day of his passing with so much compassion. A celebration of Brian's life will be from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, 2014, at the AMERICAN LEGION HALL, 309 South 2nd Street, Cornell, Wis. Concluding the Celebration of Life at 2 p.m., Military Honors will be conducted by the Cornell American Legion. Please feel free to bring stories about Brian to share. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Highground Veterans Memorial Park, Neillsville, Wis. or honor Brian's spirit by volunteering in your community to help those less fortunate than you. Borton-Leiser Funeral Home is serving the Family.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on March 30, 2014. Submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968).

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Obituary: Gordon Joseph Esser - Class of 1946

MADISON - Gordon Joseph Esser, age 85, died on March 3, 2014, surrounded by family, and good friend, Paulyn Ripp, at Waunakee Manor.

Gordon was born on March 6, 1928, the son of the late Joseph and Leona (La Crosse) Esser. He attended Holy Redeemer School and was a 1946 graduate of Central High School. Gordon was employed by the City of Madison (Purchasing Comptroller and Treasurer's Dept.) and retired in 1985, after 40 years of service. He was a longtime Badger football and basketball fan. He also enjoyed attending the theater here, as well as in Chicago. Gordon was a member of St. Mary's Auxiliary, the West Madison Optimist Club and Blessed Sacrament Church.

Gordon is survived by his sister, Joyce Faust; nieces, Kaye (Loran) Mezera, Susan Faust (John Evans), Mary Jane (Paul) Sams and JoAnne Nelson; great-nieces and nephews, Michael, Matthew, Michelle (Preston), Kristina, Samantha, and Shannen; and great-great-nephews, Preston and Joseph. He was preceded in death by a brother, Warren; and brother-in-law, Robert Faust.

A burial is to take place at St. John's Cemetery in Waunakee. A private family memorial service will be held at a later date.

The family wishes to thank St. Jude Hospice Care, and a special thanks to all of the wonderful, caring staff at Waunakee Manor for their support and friendship to Uncle Gordy since 2010.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on March 6, 2014. Submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968).

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Obituary: Edward John Muehlemann - Class of 1965

STOUGHTON - Edward John Muehlemann, age 67, of Stoughton, passed away on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, at Agrace HospiceCare. He was born on Jan. 22, 1947, in Madison, the son of Werner and Dorothy (Whiting) Muehlemann.

Ed married Diane Davis on June 20, 1970, in Madison. He graduated from Madison Central High School in 1965. He worked for 39 years with the U.S. Postal Service, retiring last year. Ed was active in coaching youth baseball in Stoughton. His coaching philosophy was always "team unity."

Ed is survived by his wife, Diane; a daughter, Tammy Muehlemann of Madison; a son, Scott (Stacy) of Hales Corners; grandchildren, Samantha, Leah, and Ryan; and brother, Fred of Kingman, Ariz. He is preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Chuck Muehlemann.

A Memorial Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON STOUGHTON FUNERAL HOME, 1358 Highway 51 N. at Jackson, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., on Thursday, Mar. 6, 2014. Private services will be held in the spring.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on March 2, 2014. Submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968)