Kathleen Mary Ellertson
Kathleen Mary Ellertson was "Kay" to her many friends, "Sis" to her family and "Mimi" to her great-grandchildren. She passed away gently, surrounded by people who love and revere her, at Angels Grace Hospice in Oconomowoc on Saturday, February 18, 2017, at the age of 91.
Born on December 13, 1925 in Durand, Kathleen was the first daughter of Henry (Hank) Poeschl and his wife, Mary (Risler) Poeschl. She had one older brother, Ralph, and four younger siblings, Virginia (Werner), Edward, Raymond and Fern (Reimer).
After her father was killed in a truck accident in 1937, she helped her mother raise the younger children and keep the family together through the difficult years of the Depression. This experience set the tone for her life of caring.
She married Stanley Ellertson on June 3, 1947. They settled in Caledonia, where she nurtured her daughter Mary Lou Bell, her adopted son Don Ellertson, foster children including Alex Merch, Jeff Merath, Tammy Merath, and countless nieces, nephews and cousins.
Kathleen was also an active volunteer who taught religious education, helped settle refugee families and served on many committees and councils. She was an advocate for peace, justice and equal rights throughout her life. An avid reader, she was interested in everything (except computers) and quoted the newspaper on a regular basis. She also taught many of us, and even one of the nuns who taught at St. Louis Parish, to drive.
She worked hard, but she also had fun. She had a beautiful alto voice and could harmonize to almost any song. She instigated family water fights, dumped canoes and rode snowmobiles. She played cards, bingo and dominoes— for money whenever possible.
She retired from her career as a home health worker at age 64 to care for her mother, and went on to help care for her great-niece and nephew after that. In 2001, at age 75, she moved to Oconomowoc to provide day care for her great-granddaughters, Beth and Sydney (Miller), from infancy through their preschool and grade school years.
A woman of indomitable spirit, she gave generously of her time, talent and treasure. She knew her own mind and could be quite firm, and downright stubborn when challenged. At the same time, she was steadfast in her commitment to family and others in need. She was always ready to support, guide and lend a helping hand.
She will be missed and remembered by all those whose lives she touched and enriched, including her siblings, children, grandchildren Katie
(Dave) Miller, Jason (Meri) Bell, and Justin Ellertson; great-grandchildren Beth and Sydney (Miller) and Dominic and Bailey (Bell); her many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and especially her sister-in-law, Liz Ellertson and her double-cousin, Ellie Larson, who were her lifelong friends and "sisters."
Rather than a traditional funeral, Kathleen asked us to have a family reunion this summer. Planning is underway. "What Mimi wants, Mimi gets."