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).

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Obituary: Leona "Jo" K (Josheff) Kinder - Class of 1946

MONONA - Leona "Jo" K. Kinder, age 85, of Monona, passed away on Monday, March 3, 2014, at Mercy Hospital in Janesville. She was born on Aug. 24, 1928, in Madison, the daughter of Peter and Mary (Dimoff) Josheff. Jo married Chester Kinder, the love of her life, on May 23, 1948, in Madison. He preceded her in death in 1989. She was a lifelong resident of Madison, and graduated from Madison Central High School in 1946. Jo was a member of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church for 41 years, where she taught Sunday school, sang in the choir and was a member of the Philoptochos. For the past 17 years, she was a member of St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church, where her son is the priest. Jo was Baba to everyone. Her family was the most important part of her life. She is survived by her children, Mary (Wayne) Blue, John "Jake" (Sharleen) Kinder, Jody (Ed) Adam and Father Patrick (Vanessa) Kinder; grandchildren, Sam (Caitlin) Blue, Katie Blue (fiancé, Mark), Cassie (Bruce) Perkins, JP (Meg) Kinder, Saraina Adam, Chet Adam and Anthony Kinder; great-grandchildren, Ava Perkins, Andy Perkins, Summer Kinder and Jack Kinder; and many nieces and nephews. Besides her husband, Jo was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Boris and Chris; and a sister, Frances. Funeral services will be held at ST. IGNATIUS ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, 2124 Shafer Drive, Madison, at 11 a.m., on Thursday, March 6, 2014, with the Most Rev. Father Patrick Kinder and Bishop Anthony Michaels presiding. A burial will be held at Roselawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be held at the church from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. with a Triasagion Service at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, and on Thursday from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church. The family would like to thank the staff of Mercy Hospital in Janesville for their expert and compassionate care of mom and us during her last days.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on March 5, 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)