Natalie Muriel Beach, 81, of Prairie du Sac, a woman who rarely met a bird or book that didn’t make her heart beat a little faster, passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. She made her home for the past 50 years on the shores of the Wisconsin River.
Natalie was born to Neil and Dorothy Hulsether on Jan. 30, 1936, in Montfort, between epic snowstorms that are still highlighted in modern weather records. She was profoundly influenced by growing up amidst the lush farm fields and rolling hills of Grant County, fostering a lifelong love of nature, science and outdoor sports. She graduated from Montfort High School and University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a degree in biology. Later, Natalie earned a master of library science degree at UW-Madison. She was a teacher of biology and physical education in Dodgeville, became YWCA leader in Burlington, Iowa, and served as library media specialist in Middleton until retirement in 1997.
Natalie had the great good fortune to marry Wilbur “Bill” Beach on Aug. 23, 1958, after they met as students in college. They were that rare, happy and complementary couple; he was a calm and contented man who was happy to sit for hours in his fishing boat fulfilling his role as one of the greatest walleye fishermen to ever drown a worm on Lake Wisconsin — or playing euchre with friends at deer camp, while she was forever in search of the next adventure. So, they balanced each other out quite nicely. They were married for 49 years and created volumes of wonderful memories as their family grew and became active in sports, and as they enjoyed one of their many hobbies such as downhill and cross-country skiing, enjoying nature in many different ways such as painting, hunting, bird watching and hiking, getting together with the Dodgeville Bridge Group and their families, hosting fish fries at their house on Lake Wisconsin, and gathering with their many winter Texan friends at Llano Grande in Mercedes, Texas.
Natalie and Bill traveled extensively across the United States and Canada by motorhome and finally spent winters in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas where they attracted a whole new crop of likeminded snowbirds. Natalie also traveled worldwide, making many trips to Europe and elsewhere. She worked with Global Village in Guatemala, Earthwatch in Fiji studying coral reefs, and made forays to Egypt, Peru and Central America. Perhaps her favorite traveling memory was watching the sunrise with Bill atop a Tikal pyramid in Guatemala, and visiting ancestral farms in Norway and Germany. Despite all her wanderings, however, she remained an ardent lover of Wisconsin.
Natalie was an active birder, an accomplished artist in pastels and watercolors and an insatiable reader. The beauty of landscape and inspiration of words on paper—yes, she preferred books published on actual paper—enhanced her life and fed her imagination.
She also made a wicked rhubarb pie.
Natalie is survived by three children, Timothy (Mary) of Folsom, California, Gregory (Deb) of Oregon, and Allison (Jim) Hellman of Sparta; and grandchildren, Neil (Kari) Beach; Paul (Caitlin) Beach; Joanna Beach; Grace, Nathan and Benjamin Hellman; and great-grandchild Clarissa Beach; her sister Kay (Gerald) Buhrow; and brother Brian (Lee) Hulsether; uncle Robert Fett; sisters-in-law, Joanne Kirchgassner, Norene (Art) Widmer; brother-in-law Roy (Mary) Beach; her dear cat Mieka; her “Shop to you Drop” friends, Karen Volker, Sue Hannah and Ellen Martin; her Wednesday Coffee Group; and many other family and friends.
Natalie was preceded in death by her husband Bill; her parents; and a sister, Fanchon.
Natalie’s family invites you to join in celebrating her life from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, at the Free Congregation Hall, 307 Polk St., Sauk City. Visiting with the family will begin at 1:30 p.m. and the program at 2:30 p.m. We request you bring your thoughts and fondest memories of Natalie.
Natalie’s family would like to thank Karen Volker, Lee and Brian Hulsether, Kevin Klingenmeyer and the staff of Agrace HospiceCare and the many other family and friends who offered their support during Natalie’s last days.
Gunderson West Funeral & Cremation Care is assisting the family.