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Obituary for Katherine Elise Waack

CHETEK Katherine Elise (Mathiesen) Waack left us on July 7, 2017 at the Our House Memory Care Center in Rice Lake, WI.

Kathy was born in Eau Claire, WI to Camilla (Hansen) and John Mathiesen on July 28, 1940. She attended primary schools in Chetek, Eau Claire, and Milwaukee. She graduated from Milwaukee Washington High School in 1958 and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science in Education in June, 1962.

Kathy and Elton Waack were married on August 13, 1960 in Madison. Kathy taught at high schools in St. Paul, Minnesota, Sun Prairie and Madison. She was the Director of Volunteer and Guest Services at Methodist and then Meriter Hospitals in Madison. She retired from teaching at La Follette High School in 2003.

Kathy’s greatest accomplishment was leaving alcohol and nicotine behind her in mid-life. She then became an avid bicyclist. Her Waterford bike was a partner in many adventures on the country roads of Wisconsin and numerous other states. She loved to swim, read, hike, yoga, and was a bocce ball medalist in the Senior Games in Green Valley and Tucson, Arizona. She was a wonderful cook and enjoyed hosting dinner parties with her many long time friends. Kathy was an accomplished actress and appeared in theatre productions in primary school, high school, with the University of Wisconsin Players, Madison Theatre Guild and the Madison Civic Repertory Theater (“The Rep”). Kathy was a principal founder of The Rep in 1969 and served on its Board of Directors for many years. She was a volunteer for organizations in Madison and Green Valley.

Kathy is survived by Elton, daughter Marit, son Peter, grandchildren Morgan, Carly, Nils and Solveig, great-granddaughter Ella, and brother Johan (Kay) Mathiesen. Sisters and a brother in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and her bike, yoga, and bocce friends will also miss her.

Very special thanks to the care team at Our House and to the Heartland Hospice Services of Eau Claire staff, especially Cheryl and Laurel, for their care and compassion for Kathy.

Kathy was an advocate of green burial and her wish will be honored at a private gathering of family and friends.

A gift in her memory to the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute (www.wai.wisc.edu/give) will help to end this brutal disease.


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