Obituaries

Fri
28
Feb
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Stanley Wagner

MIDDLETON/ASHTON–Stanley Wagner, age 94, passed away on Feb. 13, 2020 with his granddaughter by his side. Stanley was born on October 16, 1925 to George and Lena (Laufenberg) Wagner in Middleton. He lived his entire life and farmed within one mile from where he was born. He married Evelyn Koch in August 1950. Stanley was fortunate enough to still be cutting lawn at the age of 93 with the help of his daughter-in-law. After retiring from farming he worked for the concrete remover doing computer/book work. For many years was a driver for RSVP. He was also a member of the Catholic Knights and Knights of Columbus.

Fri
28
Feb
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Ronald P. Schaefer

MIDDLETON/MADISON–Ronald P. Schaefer, age 82, of Madison, passed away on Feb. 6, 2020, in Wickenburg, AZ. He was born on July 25, 1937, in Madison, the son of George and Genevieve (Hoven) Patzer.

Ronald graduated with the Central High School class of 1956. He worked for the State of Wisconsin Division of Highways for many years. He enjoyed playing for various softball and basketball leagues, and he proudly coached boys little league and girls softball teams. He also coached Cross Plains Home Talent baseball. Ronald loved being a youth leader at Mount Olive. He was a hardworking handy man and he loved playing golf and cards, riding dune buggies, and being around dogs.

Ronald is survived by his son, Jim; granddaughters, Teal and Brooke; sister, Jacci Overland; and many relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Randall Schaefer; and sister, Sandy Husby.

Fri
28
Feb
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Dr. Thomas Michael Julian

MIDDLETON–Dr. Thomas Michael, age 70, of Middleton, passed away on Feb. 14, 2020, of pancreatic cancer. He was born on June 30, 1949, in Minneapolis, MN, the son of Earl and Pearl (Passi) Julian. Tom graduated from Silver Lake High School and went on to graduate from St. Cloud University. He married Kathy Chalupsky on June 12, 1971, in Silver Lake, MN. and they moved to Brainerd, MN., where he was a social worker.

They then moved to Minneapolis, where Tom attended medical school at the University of Minnesota and graduated in 1978. He was a physician there until moving to Middleton in 1988. He finished his career at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, retiring in 2011. He was a member of many professional organizations and did much speaking, editing and writing of papers and books. He greatly appreciated the patients, students, interns, nurses and staff that he worked with throughout the years.

Fri
28
Feb
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Alfred J. “Al” Nonn

MIDDLETON–Alfred J. Nonn, “Al” to all who knew him, was born on Oct. 19, 1922, to Theador and Susan (Faust) Nonn and died on Jan. 25, 2020. He grew up on the family farm just outside of Cross Plains. That farm has always been an important part of his life. On June 7, 1947, Al married Rita Ziegler, and shortly thereafter moved to Middleton, and went to work for Madison Gas and Electric as a lineman along with his brother, Romuald. Work has always been a major part of his life, whether on call for MGE (he responded to nearly every power outage in his 38 years) or on the family farm where he helped out almost every Saturday and most of his vacation days from MGE. This continued after his retirement and into his 80s. 

Fri
28
Feb
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Gale Ruth Kooistra

CROSS PLAINS–Gale Ruth Kooistra, 75, of Cross Plains, passed away on Jan. 30, 2020. She was born on March 31, 1944, in Milwaukee, WI, to Richard and Ruth (Neitzke) Gramza. Gale had a brother, Keith, whom she lost to cancer in 1987. Gale graduated from Shorewood High School in 1962, and from the UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1966.

Gale worked for the Middleton-Cross Plains School District for many years as a substitute teacher for all grade levels while her three daughters attended school. She continued her career at the Lands’ End Call Center in Cross Plains for 18 years until it’s closure in 2012. After retirement, Gale worked at a local deli, enjoying a charitable and active lifestyle supporting both her church and community.

Fri
28
Feb
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Gale Ruth Kooistra

CROSS PLAINS–Gale Ruth Kooistra, 75, of Cross Plains, passed away on Jan. 30, 2020. She was born on March 31, 1944, in Milwaukee, WI, to Richard and Ruth (Neitzke) Gramza. Gale had a brother, Keith, whom she lost to cancer in 1987. Gale graduated from Shorewood High School in 1962, and from the UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1966.

Gale worked for the Middleton-Cross Plains School District for many years as a substitute teacher for all grade levels while her three daughters attended school. She continued her career at the Lands’ End Call Center in Cross Plains for 18 years until it’s closure in 2012. After retirement, Gale worked at a local deli, enjoying a charitable and active lifestyle supporting both her church and community.

Mon
03
Feb
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Gene E. Gray

MIDDLETON–Devoted husband, father, bumpa and papa, Gene E. Gray succumbed to cancer with his wife by his side at Agrace HospiceCare on Jan. 23, 2020. Gene was born on March 14, 1939, in Sparta, WI. to Ioen and George Gray. Prior to moving to Madison, he lived his earliest years in various communities due to his father’s work with the Milwaukee Road Railroad. During his school years, Gene developed close friendships that were fostered and lasted his entire lifetime. A 1957 graduate of the former Central High School, Gene briefly served in the US Army National Guard before studying education/PE and history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During the summers, he followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, working for Milwaukee Road as part of the line crew. Gene graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1962. 

Mon
27
Jan
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Gilbert J. Esser

MIDDLETON–Gilbert J. Esser, age 93, of Middleton, passed away on Jan. 21, 2020. He was born on Sept. 11, 1926, on the family farm in Middleton, the youngest child of Peter and Elizabeth (Bronner) Esser. Gilbert graduated from Middleton High School in 1944, and on May 21, 1947, he married the love of his life, Arlene Vosen.

Gilbert proudly worked as a farmer with his father and brother, Leo, on the family farms known as Esser Bros. Throughout his life, he was active in the local farming community. He always kept up with the crop and cattle cost with the farm report, even when he wasn’t physically able but was still actively involved with the farm. He was a lifetime member of St. Bernard Catholic Church. Gilbert loved traveling with his family, attending social card club with other local farmers and being with his dogs. He was known for his witty knowledge and he enjoyed conversation with any and every one. He touched the lives of everyone who was lucky to know him.

Fri
24
Jan
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Alice E. Schmitz

WAUNAKEE/BONITA SPRINGS, FL–Alice E. Schmitz, 91, passed away peacefully on Jan. 18, 2020 at Joanne’s House at Hope Hospice in Bonita Springs, FL.

She was born on September 3, 1928 in Taylor, WI, daughter of Ingvold and Anna (Peterson) Olstad. After graduating West High School in Madison, she worked at the Dane County Title Company. On June 21, 1947 she was married by the late Msgr. Wilfred Schuster to Robert W. Schmitz at St. James Catholic Church. She was a homemaker in Eau Claire, Hales Corners and Madison. In Madison, she worked eight years in the office of Crescent Lighting and enjoyed volunteering at the UW Hospital gift shop. Alice and Bob enjoyed traveling, taking trips to Germany, France, Switzerland and many cruises. They took many camping trips to several states with their children. 

Tue
07
Jan
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Vicki Jeanne (Mergen) Spink

MADISON-Vicki Jeanne (Mergen) Spink passed away on Jan. 3, 2020. She will be greatly missed by family and friends. 

Vicki began her journey on Jan. 7, 1945, growing up in Middleton, with her siblings, Judy Reynolds, David Mergen, and Annette Smith, who all remember her fondly. She graduated from Union High School in Middleton in 1963 and married Paul Edward Spink from Oregon on Oct. 5, 1964,

With their family, Paul and Vicki spent many years living at various points throughout the Midwest and South–Rockford, Il, Houston, TX, Appleton, Kingwood, TX, St. Charles, IL, Fond du Lac, Lewisville, TX, and Flower Mound, TX.  Vicki most recently lived in Austin, TX to be near her children and grandchildren. 

Vicki touched many lives–a warm-hearted and avid quilter, crafter, bridge player, photographer, volunteer organizer, volunteer firefighter, and friend. Her ready smile and quick wit endeared her to many who will always hold her laughter in their memory. 

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