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Mary Stuessy
Mary Stuessy

Mary Lou Stuessy, 86, of Monroe, WI, died at home on January 10, 2023. She was preceded in death by her parents Wallace Wells and Irene Schott Wells, sister Shirley and brother-in-law Bill Wylie, and husbands Earl Goodland Roethke, Elmer Widish, and Dennis Stuessy. She is survived by her children Earl (Lore) Roethke, Minneapolis, MN; Linda (Deb Styer) Roethke, Chicago, IL; John (Barbara) Roethke, Potosi, WI; Mary (David) Hardyman, Platteville, WI; James (Lisa) Roethke, Poynette, WI; Ellie (Mitch)Wainwright, Mineral Point, WI; Al (Paula) Widish, Fort Collins, CO; Chris (Asta) Widish, Palos Hills, IL; stepsons Dave (Laura) Stuessy and Don Stuessy, New Glarus, WI. Later in life, she was able to find Richard Pelkey, a son who had been lost to her when she was young. She is also survived by twenty-five grandchildren and twenty-seven great grandchildren.

Mary Lou was born and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a young bride, she moved to Wisconsin to be close to her husband Earl Roethke’s family in Racine. Together they started a family of their own. They eventually moved to Potosi where they with their five children were renovating an 1860s schoolhouse when Earl died. Later, after having lived in Platteville, Mary Lou moved to Blanchardville with her second husband Elmer Widish, and they were blessed with three children.

While raising eight children, she managed the clothing department at Farm and Fleet in Monroe. After Elmer passed away, Mary Lou was fortunate to meet her third husband Dennis while helping him pick out clothes at Farm and Fleet. She and Dennis retired to Monroe, where they enjoyed traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Often proudly calling herself stubborn, Mary Lou lived with great determination but also with great heart. With a heart of gold, she embraced all those she met, loving, and accepting every child into her life no matter what the circumstances. She was also a devoted animal lover who loved pets her entire life (her last was a stray, her treasured dog Georgie). She instilled a strong work ethic and a respect for the natural world in her children. She loved gardening and gave the gift of reading to her children. She will be remembered as a gifted quiltmaker, sewing upwards of a hundred quilts. Every one of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, as well as those dear to her, celebrated a significant event such as a birth, graduation, or marriage with a unique quilt made by Grandma Lou’s hand. She could be adventurous as well, as illustrated by her willingness to participate in indoor skydiving in her late 70s. Most important to her was her love of family and friends.

A celebration of Mary Lou’s life will be held May 13, 2023, at the Broske Center, 400 Pitt St,

Platteville, WI 53818.   Observance Service at 11:30. Lunch to follow.