June Rood Zalewski Pedretti
June Rood Zalewski Pedretti, age 82, of Viroqua, passed away on Saturday morning, Aug. 29, 2015, at the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse.
She was born at home on a farm in Upper Newton Valley in Harmony Township in Vernon County to William and Mariam (Proctor) Rood on June 28, 1933.
She attended Newton School. Her father died suddenly on Feb. 17, 1944, and in 1946 the family moved to La Crosse, where her mother obtained a job in housekeeping at St. Francis Hospital. June then attended Lincoln Junior High and then in 1951 she graduated from Central High School. While in junior high, she and nine other girls formed a club called T.N.T. (Ten Nutty Teens). They have maintained their friendships all these years with regular gatherings. She attended La Crosse Teachers College, now University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where she went on to become an elementary teacher in Oconomowoc and later at New Berlin, where she was at when she retired.
She married Thomas Nordengren and they had three children; Nick, Tim and Jill. As a result of a terrible car accident in Arizona in 1969, Jill suffered serious brain damage.
Shortly after that, she and Tom divorced. In 1973, she married a principal, Harry Zalewski. They bought a 10room farm house at rural Viroqua and retired there in 1988. They spent 20 years remodeling it. In their retirement, she and Harry videotaped over 60 senior citizens for their life stories which are on file at the Vernon County Historical Museum. She wrote three books: “History of Newton Valley,” “Round Barns of Vernon County,” and just completed “Little Indian Girl in the Big Basket,” which was about her great-grandmother. Her dear friend Karen Hankee illustrated the book and Howard Sherpe published it. She also chaired three historic walking tours of areas including several Cemetery Walks in Viroqua and also in Genoa. For several years she wrote articles on 100 years ago for the Vernon County Broadcaster. She was a past president of the Vernon County Historical Society, served on the board of the Viroqua Partners and also served on the Associates of the Restored Temple Theatre Board of Directors.
She was one of the spark plugs in the Viroqua Revitalization Project. No one can forget her heading up the dance hall girls for Wild West Days. June loved the outdoors and was an avid turkey hunter with her husband, John, and has over 20 birds to her credit.
She also enjoyed fishing.
Harry died in 1995 and he had four children: Gail, Dale, Terry, and Shari. In 2000 she married her neighbor, John Pedretti. He had a son, John, and three daughters: Angela, Theresa, and Rebecca and 13 grandchildren. He made his dairy barn into a party barn, which is used for weddings and other parties. The two of them have made that a very successful venture.
June is survived by her husband, John; one son, Timothy “Tim” (Sheryl) Nordengren, of Cazenovia; one daughter, Jill Nordengren of Viroqua; two grandchildren, Stacy and Michael Gonzales of Milwaukee; one sister, Joy Peterson of Chaseburg; daughter-in-law, Libby Gonzales of Milwaukee, other relatives and many friends.
She was also preceded in death by her parents; one son, Nick Gonzales; two brothers, Gordon in infancy, and Eldred Rood; and two sisters, Beatrice Rood and Arlene Warren.
The family suggests memorials to the Vernon County Historical Society, Vernon County Museum, Temple Theatre, or charity of their choice.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. today, Sept. 1, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Viroqua with Father John Mano officiating. Burial will be in the Newton Cemetery in Newton Valley, rural Viroqua.
Visitation was held at the Thorson Funeral Home on Monday, Aug. 31, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and again at the church today after 10 a.m.
Thorson Funeral Home, Viroqua, is serving the family. For more information, call 1-800-657-6741 or visit