Obituaries

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. 

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. 

Tue
07
Jan
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Marilyn A. Dahlby

CROSS PLAINS–Marilyn A. (Leary) Dahlby, age 77, passed away on Jan. 4, 2020 at Sauk Prairie Health Care, surrounded by family. She was born on March 6, 1942, in Dodgeville, the daughter of Ruth and Leo Leary in Ridgeway. Marilyn attended Ridgeway High School and MATC in Madison. She worked at various places in Madison and Milwaukee. 

On Aug. 6, 1966, she married John A. Dahlby at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Madison. Marilyn enjoyed her family, especially her grandchildren. She also enjoyed reading, playing cards, cooking, camping and golfing. 

Marilyn is survived by her husband, John; sons, Jason (Debra) Dahlby of Lodi and Aaron of Lagrange, GA; grandchildren, Clayton and Alyssa Dahlby of Lodi; brother, Patrick (Helen) Leary of Madison, and many nieces, nephews and extended family. She was preceded in death by an infant son; her parents; and sisters, Mabel Magli and Elaine Campbell. 

Fri
03
Jan
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Lila Mae (Rule) Meyer

MADISON-Lila Mae (Rule) Meyer, age 85, Madison, died on Dec. 31, 2019.  She was born in Linden, the daughter of Elwin and Matilda (Prohaska) Rule on Feb. 16, 1934.  

Lila is survived by her husband Ralph; daughter Joette; son Paul (Laurie McAllister).  She was extremely proud to be grandma to Ian and Ryan, Paul’s sons. She is further survived by other relatives and friends.  

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2020 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 602 Everglade Dr., Madison, WI 53717 with Father Bart Timmerman presiding. Visitation will be at the church on Saturday from 10 a.m. until time of mass. Immediately following mass, Lila will be brought to her eternal place of rest at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery in Madison. A luncheon will be served at the church.

The family would like to thank St. Mary’s hospital and SSM Health at Home staff for their compassionate care.

Fri
03
Jan
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August L. Butler

CROSS PLAINS–August L. Butler, age 88, passed away on Dec. 28, 2019, at Sienna Meadows. He was born on Jan. 19, 1931, in Cross Plains, the son of Leroy and Hulda (Scheele) Butler. He married Shirley Schoephoerster on May 14, 1960. 

August owned a successful upholstery business in Cross Plains and was a proud member of the Cross Plains Volunteer Fire Department. He enjoyed fishing and hunting, and he was a gifted woodworker, building furniture and doing wood crafts. More than anything, he loved his two grandchildren.  

August is survived by his wife; daughter, Mary Ann Butler; sons, Kenneth Lee (Peggy) Butler and James Michael Butler; grandchildren, Joshua Lee Butler and Amanda Sue Butler; and many dear relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, William Butler and Donald Butler; and sister, Grace Fulgrabe.

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