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In Memoriam - Fall 2011 Alumni & Friends

The UWSP Alumni Association has been notified of the following deaths from the classes of:

2000s | 1990s | 1980s | 1970s | 1960s | 1950s | 1940s | 1930s

Faculty and staff remembered


UWSP remembers alumni killed on 9/11

Two UWSP alumni who died on Sept. 11, 2001, were memorialized on Friday, Sept. 9, as UWSP recognized the tenth anniversary of the tragic events at the World Trade Centers, Pentagon and on-board United Airlines Flight 93.

The service held on the front lawn of Old Main remembered Dennis Johnson, ’75, commissioned as an Army officer through UWSP ROTC, and Patricia Statz, ’83, a theatre major, both killed when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. Johnson was deputy chief of staff for personnel at the Pentagon and Statz was a civilian assistant to the deputy chief of staff for Army personnel. Families of both alumni were present to receive memorial plaques featuring the UWSP seal and the name of their family member (left).

The service also included the posting of the colors by UWSP ROTC and words from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Al Thompson, Jr., and faculty members Edgar Francis and Susan Brewer of the History Department and Jeffrey Guse of the Political Science Department. A moment of silence was held in honor of all who lost their lives on 9/11.

In addition to the service on Sept. 9, UWSP offered a free public lecture by Francis on Sept. 8 that discussed The Middle East: Ten Years After 9/11” and on Sept. 12, a free public panel discussion was held on campus that discussed “Reflections on 9/11 and the U.S. Constitution.




Theresa Kroes, ’10, Onalaska, died June 25 at age 23 as the result of a traffic accident. She was to begin teaching junior and senior vocal music in North Fond du Lac in the fall and had taught four days of summer school when she died. She is survived by her parents and a brother. Memorials may be made to the UWSP Foundation. 


Bonnie (Hansen) Garrigan, ’95, Nekoosa, died April 27 at age 37 after a battle with cancer. She worked as a receptionist for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and was the lead singer of the Austin Healey Band. She is survived by her husband, Kevin, and two children.

Stephanie Golke, ’93, Butternut, died at her home May 10 at age 42. She graduated from the Green Bay Vincent Hospital Medical Technology program then worked for Marshfield Clinic at their Park Falls Hospital, Lake Center in Minocqua and Phillips Clinic. She is survived by a partner, Timm Morgan.

David Hinz, ’93, Williston, Vt., died Nov. 21, 2005, at age 39, after a ten-year battle with cancer. He earned a master’s degree in German literature and culture studies from Indiana University-Bloomington and worked for Seventh Generation, an environmental company. He also wrote newspaper reviews and was a tour escort for choirs traveling in Europe. He played a variety of musical instruments and enjoyed the outdoors.

Robert Stair, Jr., ’91, Janesville, died April 7, 2010, from injuries sustained in an auto accident at age 41. He was a sales manager for Frito Lay and avid sports fan. His wife, Jodi, and a daughter survive. 


Robert Zimmerman, ’84, Appleton, died at home March 25 at age 57. He served in the U.S. Navy and later earned a master’s degree in business from UW-Whitewater. He was a systems analyst, most recently for Humana Insurance in De Pere. He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Karen, and three children.

Susan (DeGoey) Lineberger, ’82, Plover, died May 20, at age 59. She worked in marketing and advertising for the last 20 years, volunteered for United Way and was on the board of directors for Community Industries. She also enjoyed outdoor activities. Her husband, Jerry Lineberger (a retired UWSP employee), and two daughters survive. Memorials may be made to the UWSP Foundation for the Schmeeckle Program Support Fund Moses Creek Restoration Project or online at

Debra (Hagstrom) (Pintar) Samsa, ’80, Appleton, died January 23, 2010, at age 53. She earned an additional bachelor’s degree at UW-Green Bay and a master’s degree at Marian College. She taught in Kaukauna for 18 years, organizing a Family Math Night and the annual Music of the Planets production. She also helped with the science and technology committees and school website. She also played piano for the Kaukauna Community Players and senior communities and played organ for St. Aloysius Church. She is survived by her husband, John, and a daughter.



Jean (Ecker) Barber, ’78, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, died June 14, 2010, at age 54 after a battle with cancer. She earned a master’s degree in education at the University of Toronto and taught in Hamilton for over 23 years. She is survived by her husband, Stephen, and two children. 

Bruce Tourbier, ’78, Rosendale, died Dec. 17 at age 55. He earned a master’s degree in agronomy at UW-Madison and worked as an agronomist at Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. He was a certified crop adviser, representative for the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, a member of several agri-business organizations and a member and president of the Laconia Wrestling Club. He also tended his own apple orchard. He is survived by his wife, Amy.

Michele “Shelly” Heinrichs, ’77, Madison/Stoughton, died Jan. 30 at age 55. She earned another bachelor’s degree in accounting from Edgewood College and graduated from the UW School of Radiology. She taught x-ray technician classes at Madison Area Technical College and worked at both UW Hospital and Meriter Hospital. She enjoyed travel and photography and was a member of the Dane County Shamrock Club, Madison Catholic Women’s Club and professional organizations.

Michael Kersten, ’77, Wausau, died April 4 at age 69. He taught at D.C. Everest School Forest until his retirement in 1998. He is survived by his wife, Margy, a daughter and two grandchildren.

Kevin Paulson, ’77, Medford, died November 23 at age 58. He worked in road construction and for Liberty Homes and the Ed Brecke mink ranch. He spent three years in California. He is survived by three children and four grandchildren.

Nick Bacon, last attended ’76, Milwaukee, died May 30 at age 56. He served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years and was a Gulf War veteran.

Jeffrey Thompson, ’76, West Salem, died Feb. 19, 2009, from brain cancer. He worked for Chartwells food services at UW-La Crosse and enjoyed the outdoors and preserving the environment. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Thompson, ’77, West Salem, and three children.

Terrance Browne, ’75, Madison, died Feb. 24 at age 63. He is survived by his former wife, daughter and two grandchildren.

Kathleen (Hunt) Anthony, ’74, Highlands Ranch, Colo., died August 7, 2009, at age 56 after battling cancer. She taught science at St. Mary’s High School in Cheyenne, Wyo., then at Bow Memorial School in Bow, N.H. She is survived by her husband, Rick, and a daughter.

Paul Renard, ’74, Eden Prairie, Minn., died June 3, at age 59 while sailing near his cottage. He worked for The Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay then for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for 30 years. He retired in 2010 and enjoyed painting and the outdoors. He is survived by his partner, Wendy.

Shirley (Day) Lechleitner, ’73, Edgar, died at home April 26 at age 74. She taught in Colby then in Edgar for 23 years. She and her husband, Leonard, operated the Snack Shack Restaurant for many years. He survives, as do four children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Gary Miller, ’72, Pardeeville, died at home on Feb. 5 at age 61, having suffered from esophageal cancer. He owned a plastering business for many years and enjoyed the outdoors. He is survived by his wife, Judy, a daughter and granddaughter.

DeWayne Schwalenberg, ’72, Anchorage, Alaska, died March 1 at age 64 while scuba diving with his wife, Patty, in Cabo San Lucas. He was a 20-year resident of Anchorage and worked for the Stevens Village Tribal Council as a natural resources director.

Nancy Yugo, ’71, Madison, died April 8 at age 64 after battling cancer and a progressive neurological condition. She earned a master’s degree in psychology from UW-Madison then had a long career with American Family Insurance. She was active with a folk dancing ensemble and enjoyed singing. She is survived by her husband, Michael Kuharski.

Geneva (Knudson) Wunderlich, ’70, formerly of Stevens Point, died August 3 at age 91. She earned a degree from Bethany Lutheran College then was married. After the death of her husband, Rev. Herbert Wunderlich, Geneva earned a degree at UWSP and taught in Junction City and Plover until her retirement in 1985. She volunteered at her church, at nursing homes and with hospice. She is survived by seven children, 19 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. 


Jerome LaValle, ’69, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, died Oct. 25 after suffering a stroke at age 64. He was a high school band director until 1987.

Stanley Novak, ’69, Stevens Point, died April 1 at age 98. A World War II veteran, he served in Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe, receiving the Good Conduct Medal and several other medals, ribbons and badges. He worked for Consolidated Papers as a shipping clerk for 36 years, retiring in 1974. He also volunteered with the Stevens Point Police Department for 20 years and was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps for 18 months. His wife of 36 years, Dorothy, preceded him in death. His son survives.

Allen Seilheimer, ’68, New Auburn, died Nov. 23 due to complications from chemotherapy at age 59. He earned a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota and was a commercial beekeeper in New Auburn, operating throughout Wisconsin, Texas, Florida and California. He is survived by his wife, Sandra, and two sons.

Janice (Nichols) Eberly, ’67, Friendship, died April 30 at age 65. She taught music at Wild Rose, Adams-Friendship and Delhi, Iowa, schools. She and her husband, Richard, founded two ministry groups then joined a Baptist ministry. Her husband survives.

Ferdinand “Fred” Zimdars, Jr., ’67, Burlington, formerly of Racine, died March 11 at age 71. He worked for many years for the Racine Department of Parks and Recreation, retiring as director. He then was a project manager for Mohns Inc. Construction. He was past president of the Wisconsin Parks and Recreation Association and volunteered for the Richard Bong Recreation Area and the Caledonia Historical Society. He also taught woodworking at Central High School in Paddock Lake. His wife, Judy, two children, four grandchildren and a great grandson survive.

Frank Wergin, ’65, Chicago, Ill., died April 28 at age 69. He was a district executive for Boy Scouts of America and a travel consultant in Chicago. A world traveler and history buff, he visited Africa, Australia, South America and Asia. His wife of 43 years, Cheryl, survives.

William Barnes, ’64, Eau Claire, died Jan. 2, 2010, of cancer at age 72. He served in the military,  taught at Lodi High School then earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in botany from UW-Madison. He taught plant ecology and botany at UW-Eau Claire from 1972 until his retirement in 1999 and authored many articles in scientific journals. He won several canoe races including a national championship in 1992. He was also an avid cross country skier. He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, and is survived by two children and four grandchildren.

Fern (Kullar) Sands, ’64, Wauwatosa and formerly of Stevens Point and Plover, died June 2 at age 95. She returned to college as a non-traditional student when her youngest went to high school, and majored in English education. She also earned a master’s degree at UW-Madison then taught in area schools. Later she was a bookkeeper for Herrschner’s Needlecraft. In the community she was a charter member of Stevens Point Campers and an officer in the Stevens Point Rebekahs. Her husband, Lee, preceded her in death. She is survived by her four children, Carole Sands Dziegielewski, ’58; Nancy Sands Carew, ’62; Jeannine Sands Langlois, ’66; and Roger Sands, ’67, as well as nine grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. A donation by the Lee & Fern Sands family trust was made to the UW-Stevens Point Foundation in her name.

Robert Buchacek, ’62, Germantown, Tenn., died Nov. 19 at age 70 from complications of polycystic kidney disease. He earned an advanced degree at the University of Iowa, served in the U.S. Army and worked for DuPont as a chemist for 25 years. He enjoyed sports, music and the beach. He is survived by his wife, Anne, two children and three grandchildren.

William Haack, ’61, Appleton, died May 13 at age 71. He earned a master’s degree in education at UW-Oshkosh. He worked in sales and marketing for Appleton Coated Papers and then taught for more than 30 years, first in Sheboygan and then Appleton, where he was also a guidance counselor and won the H.H. Helble Outstanding Educator Award in 1992. He enjoyed an active retirement, working on various home projects and enjoying outdoor sports. He is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Carol Ann (Erickson) Haack, ’61, three daughters and six grandchildren.

Edna (Herman) McNown, ’61, MS ’68, Mauston, died at home April 16 at age 96. She taught in Cassian township rural schools then in Antigo. After she was married she worked at the Army Ordinance Camp in Camp Bowie, Texas, during World War II. After returning to Wisconsin, she taught in Thorp, Antigo and Aniwa. She was the principal and a teacher at East Elementary in Antigo until she retired in 1980. Her husband, Dr. William McNown, preceded her in death. She is survived by three children, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

William Bablitch, (left) last attended ’60, Madison/Kailua Kona, Hawaii, died February 16 at age 69. A Stevens Point native, Bablitch earned a degree at UW-Madison, a law degree at UW-Madison Law School and a master of laws degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. He was Portage County district attorney then a Wisconsin State Senator and majority leader, all while continuing private practice as an attorney He was instrumental in saving UWSP’s Old Main from demolition and keeping its Founders Room in its historic style. He was elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1983 and reelected in 1993, retiring at the end of his term in 2003. In 1981, he received the UWSP Distinguished Alumnus Award and in 2004 the UWSP Alumni Association William C. Hansen Distinguished Service Award for his public work. He served on the UWSP Board of Visitors for 10 years. He also taught at New York University Law School and was a lecturer for the Wisconsin State Bar, American Bar Association Appellate Section and Appellate courts in several states. Later in life he was a partner at the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich in Madison. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Anne Milne, a daughter and two granddaughters.



Arlington “Andy” Anderson, ’58, Fond du Lac, died Dec. 20 at age 81. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War and received a Purple Heart. He earned a master’s degree in education from UW-Oshkosh and taught in Mayville, Weyauwega and Fond du Lac, retiring in 1989. He volunteered at the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home in King and was recognized for 3250 hours of service. He was also active in his church and the American Legion. His wife, Meroe, a son and two grandchildren survive as does his sister, Dorothy (Anderson) Youngson, ’37, Waupaca.

David Shafton, last attended ’57, Stevens Point, died April 26 at age 76. He served in the U.S. Army and earned a degree from UW-Madison and UW Law School. He practiced law in Madison then in Stevens Point until his retirement in 1997. He was active in civic affairs, was a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Portage County Bar. He served as president of the Stevens Point Noon Optimist Club and was a member of the Stevens Point Elks Lodge.
Vernita (Sullivan) Bahr, ’56, Birnamwood, died July 8 at age 75. She taught at Bear Creek for six years then had a 24-year career at Galloway and Elderon elementary schools. She also co-owned Bahr’s Ben Franklin in Wittenberg with her husband of 45 years, Michael, who survives. They retired to the shows of Post Lake near Elcho, where she enjoyed gardening and hobbies. She is also survived by four children and seven grandchildren.
Kathleen “Kay” Pierce North, (left) ’51, Key West, Fla., died May 16 at age 81 after suffering a head injury in a fall. She taught for several years in Wisconsin, gave private piano lessons and also worked for Hi-Liter Graphics Publshing Company in Burlington. She was married to Rev. Art North for 36 years and moved to the Florida Keys in 1979, where she worked at DePoo Hospital. She is survived by three sons, six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and one great-great grandson.
Mary Jane (Buss) Zdroik, ’51, MS-HEC ’72, Rosholt, died July 29 at age 83. She taught at a number of high schools and received a master’s degree from Loyola University and UWSP. She was involved in local churches, the Portage County Library Board and Commission on Aging. She was preceded in death by her husband, Maynard, a son and a grandson. She is survived by two sons, including Michael Zdroik, ’83, Rosholt; a daughter, Mary (Zdroik) Olstad, ’85, Madison, Miss., and eight grandchildren.

Lawrence Eagleburger
, (left) last attended ’50, Charlottesville, Va., died June 4 at age 80. The former secretary of state won the 1976 Distinguished Alumnus Award and was a member of the UWSP Foundation Board of Directors. Eagleburger was deputy Secretary of State under James Baker during the first Bush administration in 1989 and took the top post in 1992. Previously he served the Nixon administration as executive assistant to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, was President Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to Yugoslavia and was assistant secretary of state and undersecretary of state in the first Reagan administration. He went on several trouble shooting missions and spent much of his time abroad in the Balkans. In subsequent years he offered companies advice on international politics as a consultant and president of Kissinger Associates and as a consultant with law firm. He also chaired the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, was a member of the Iraq Study Group and served as an adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton as she prepared to take the role of secretary of state. He also advised Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marlene, and three sons. He earned a degree from UW-Madison and served in the U.S. Army before joining the Foreign Service.


Barbara (Felker) Mellin, ’47, Tomah, died July 9 at age 86. She and her husband, William Mellin, ’48, moved to Tomah in 1952. She directed a church choir for more than 30 years, taught piano lessons and worked as a substitute teacher. She also was active in the schools and in civic organizations. She is survived by four children, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her husband preceded her in death.

Mary Ann Garbrecht, ’45, Merrill, died March 27 at age 92. She was a computer programmer and had worked in Fort Worth, Texas, Philadelphia, Pa., and Arizona.
Mary (Okray) Bennett, ’44, Janesville, died April 12 at age 86. She taught in Plover and worked at the ASCS office in Janesville for several years. She was preceded in death by a daughter and her husband, Robert Bennett, ’50. She is survived by two children, two granddaughters and four great grandchildren.
Norman Reineking, ’41, Marshfield, died March 7 at age 90. He served in the U.S. Army and worked in the banking industry until retiring in 1982. His wife, Sophie, three children, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren survive.
Marguerite “Peg” (Sargeant) Felio, ’40, Wausau, died April 19 at age 92. She was a teacher in Rib Mountain, Weston and Rothschild and a leader in the Happy Valley Pals 4-H group. She was also active in her church. Her husband of 55 years, Henry, preceded her in death as did a son. She is survived by two daughters, four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and foster children. 
Eugenia “Jeanne” Mansavage, ’40, Stevens Point, died March 21 at age 92. She taught in a rural school then joined Hardware Mutual (now Sentry Insurance) in 1944 and worked in Chicago and Stevens Point until her retirement in 1984. She also volunteered at St. Michael’s Hospital gift shop for 18 years.
Corinne Sandmire Seago, ’40, Columbia, S.C., died February 17 at age 91. She taught home economics in Richland Center and Pittsville then did graduate work in nutrition at UW-Madison. She served a dietetics internship with the U.S. Army then was commissioned as an Army officer and was a hospital dietician at several bases across the U.S. In later years she was a homemaker, artist and hospital volunteer. She was predeceased by her husband, Wilna, and is survived by a daughter and three grandchildren.


Genevieve (Hintz) Fortune, ’38, MS ’68, Stevens Point, died April 30 in her home at age 91. She taught for 34 years, first in a one-room schoolhouse in Arnott then in Ellis then retiring from Emerson Elementary School in Stevens Point in 1985. Her husband, Michael Fortune, ’49, died Dec. 31, 2010. She is survived by eight children, all Pointers, as well as seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. (See Class Notes for more on this Pointer family.)

Albert Totzke, ’38, Edgar, died May 4 at age 95. He and his wife of 66 years, Agnes, farmed in the town of Frankfort. He also served as the town’s assessor and member of the Edgar school board for 12 years. Agnes preceded him in death and he is survived by six children, eleven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Myrtle (Hoff) Stoltenberg, ’34, Waupaca, died March 27 at age 96 after a brief illness. She taught in Scandinavia, Owen, Minneapolis, Nelsonville and Wittenberg, where she taught elementary school for 23 years and retired in 1978. She and her husband, Howard, retired at Sunset Lake in Amherst Junction and wintered in Arizona. He preceded her in death. She is survived by two sons, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Stanley Lepak, ’32, Milwaukee, died May 6 at age 97. He served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, stationed in India, then taught fifth grade at Jefferson Elementary in Milwaukee for 24 years. He was well known for his woodworking skills. He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret, and a son. Surviving are two daughters and four grandchildren.
Ruth Wahlin, ’32, Stoughton, died Sept. 14, 2005, at age 91. She did office work for Stoughton Trailers and worked at Mill Fab with her husband, Harold, until his death. She is survived by four children, 16 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.
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