Louise Wapp Klussendorf

Aug. 6, 1923 — May 11, 2015

Louise Wapp Klussendorf, 91, of Waukesha, formerly of North Prairie and Sturgeon Bay, died peacefully Monday, May 11, 2015, at Avalon Square in Waukesha.

Louise was born August 6, 1923, in Waukesha, the daughter of the late Ruth (nee Bostwick) and Willard Wapp.

She graduated from Waukesha High School in 1942 where her class yearbook noted that “she is active in everything ... (and has) plenty of pep,” attributes which she displayed in life to the very end.

After graduation, she obtained her teaching certificate from Carroll College, and began her career teaching at Meadowbrook and Zion schools. On December 21, 1946, she married Donald Klussendorf at the Evangelical and Reformed church in Waukesha.

In 1960, Don and Louise moved the family farm to North Prairie when I-94 was built through the middle of their Pewaukee farm. Louise was involved in many aspects of the North Prairie community from leading 4-H to organizing youth events at the town hall.

The church was central in Louise’s life. She was involved first at the United Methodist Church, and then St. John’s Lutheran Church while in North Prairie.

After taking time off to raise their five children and work on the family farm, she returned to teaching at Magee Elementary School in Genesee then Clarendon Avenue Elementary School in Mukwonago.

During this time, she also represented her fellow teachers through leadership in the Lakewood Teachers Union.

After obtaining a master’s degree in learning disabilities, she taught at Prairie View School in North Prairie for the rest of her 31-year career. If ever there was a born teacher, Louise exemplified that calling. She never lost her love of teaching; tutoring children well into her 80s, and was immensely resourceful, patient and supportive of her students. Louise reluctantly retired from teaching at age 69.

In the early 1990s, Louise and Don moved to Sturgeon Bay. But, the word “retirement” really didn’t apply to them, for they integrated themselves into their new community with vigor and enthusiasm. After they bought an old and nearly abandoned farm on 40 acres in the south Door County area, Louise was instrumental in starting and running the Hearthside Bed and Breakfast and Country Dance Barn, rebuilding the house as well as the barn into a friendly and informal respite from city life.

Not content only to run the inn and care for her guests in her retirement, Louise thoroughly enjoyed ballroom dancing and loved traveling throughout the Midwest participating in dance competitions where she was well-known for her spectacular dresses. She also enjoyed taking photography classes and was an enthusiastic member of the Image Makers Photo Club. She and Don never lost their attachment to 4-H and the Waukesha County Fair, often driving down from Door County to attend events.

Louise also belonged to the Wisconsin Retired Teacher’s Association, the Delta Cappa Gamma (Women Educators) Society, the Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association, and served both as a volunteer and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Door County Boys and Girls Club. Most of all, she loved spending time with her large family, and could always be counted upon to make time for them in her busy life.

In Sturgeon Bay, Louise and Don joined the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and contributed significantly through their support and enthusiasm for the church’s mission to their fellowship’s expansion and building programs.

After Don’s passing, Louise gave up the bed and breakfast at age 85 and returned to Waukesha to be closer to family. She was a pillar of her family and her communities, and will be sadly missed by all who knew her.

Preceding Louise in death was her loving husband of 61 years, Donald; her parents, Ruth and Willard Wapp Sr.; brothers Willard Jr. and Louis Wapp Sr.; and sister Myrtle Morrow.

Survivors include sons Rob (Chris) of Medford and Mike (Katie) of Wausau; daughters Cheryl (Pete) Almberg of Oshkosh, Helen (Peter) Leenhouts of Port Ludlow, Wash., and Jill (Gary) Bacon of Waukesha; and 13 grandchildren, Erica (Roy) Spatz, Ryan (Cheri) Klussendorf, Beth (Rob Perez) Klussendorf, Bekah, Heather and Jordan Klussendorf, Nicole (Bruce) Berlowski, James (Alice Dees) Leenhouts, Katherine Leenhouts, Derek (Michelle Bond) Bacon, and Justin, Kyle and Julie Bacon. She is also survived by six great-grandchildren, Kale, Max and Owen Klussendorf, Addison and Asher Spatz, and Nolan Berlowski; sisters Melicent Hilsmann of West Bend and Susan Boulch of Oregon; brothers Andrew Wapp of Waukesha and Douglas Wapp of Toronto; and sisters- in-law Dorothy Becker of Green Bay and Ruth Klussendorf of Illinois.

Visitation will be at 10:30 am, with a memorial service at 11:00 am Saturday, May 23, at Elmbrook Church Chapel, 777 Barker Road, Brookfield. Pastor Nathan Lewis, her former pastor in Sturgeon Bay, will be officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in her name to Wycliffe Bible Translators, c/o Luke Wapp (Luke is Louise’s grand-nephew needing launching funds as he starts his mission work in the Philippines); The Boys and Girls Club of Door County; or the Waukesha County 4-H Endowment Fund.