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Lillian M. Gelbach (Schwarzenberger)
Lillian M. Gelbach (Schwarzenberger)

Lillian M. Gelbach (Schwarzenberger), age 95, of Madison/Beloit, passed away on June 5, 2020. Lillian was born on August 21, 1924 near Monroe, WI, the daughter of Joseph and Frieda (Reinmann) Schwarzenberger.

Lillian grew up on a farm outside of Juda, WI. She enjoyed sharing stories of her childhood on the farm and loved driving the tractors and helping with the farm chores. Lillian graduated from Juda High School in 1942 and attended Madison Business College where she learned bookkeeping. After attending college, she worked at The First National Bank of Monroe for 11 years. After moving to Beloit, Lillian was employed by First National Bank, and Daniel Green DDS until her retirement.

On January 22, 1950 Lillian married Riley E. Gelbach at St. John’s Evangelical and Reformed Church in Monroe. They met at a dance at Turner Hall in Monroe several weeks after Riley had returned from the service in 1946. Riley and Lillian lived in Albany, WI until moving to Beloit in 1954. Lillian moved to The Arbors/Oak Park on Madison’s east side in 2014.

Lillian was an active member of Christ United Methodist Church/River of Life Methodist Church of Beloit and the Women’s Society. She and Riley enjoyed many evenings square dancing with the Beloit Petunia Square Dancers Club. Lillian was a loving mother and wife, enjoyed cards, knitting, gardening, and spending time with family. Lillian had a fun sense of humor and a mischievous side.

Lillian and Riley had three children, Steven, James, and Annette. Throughout their children’s youth, many fun camping trips were taken in their Apache camper. From Wyoming to Washington D.C. to Florida, and numerous camping trips to Northern WI, each summer was an adventure.

After retirement, Riley and Lillian traveled and enjoyed a special trip to Switzerland where Lillian was able to meet distant relatives and explore her Swiss heritage. They also spent much time at the cottage on Porters Lake in Wautoma where many memorable times were had including the annual birthday traditions.

Lillian is survived by three children, Steven (Sandra) Gelbach of Janesville, James (Jo Ann Oien) Gelbach of Lehigh Acres, Florida, and Annette Gelbach of Madison; 6 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; sister- in- law, Daria Schwarzenberger of Monroe, in-laws Gerald and Hazel Gelbach of Monroe; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Riley on December 15, 2007; a brother Joseph Schwarzenberger; and three sisters, Regina Zwald, Josephine Babler, and Marion Leaver.

The family would like to thank the doctors and RN’s at Stoughton Hospital, and Heartland Hospice. Their dedication to Lillian in her final days was greatly appreciated.

A private graveside service is planned, memorials may be made to River of Life United Methodist Church of Beloit WI. The Newcomer Funeral Home, Monroe, is assisting the family. Condolences may be shared at