Loretta Florence Bickford, 93, of Prairie du sac, passed away at her home on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

She was born Aug. 7, 1924, in Beloit, to Hattie and Otto Neumann. Loretta was the girl’s valedictorian and star athlete of Beloit High School class of 1942. She graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison’s nursing school in 1947. She met her husband Melvin Bickford when she went to the home of a fellow nursing student for the weekend. They were married on Oct. 6, 1946. After a honeymoon to the West Coast she moved to the Bickford family farm in Prairie du Sac. There, Melvin and Loretta ran a successful farm operation and raised five children. After retiring from farming, Loretta was a faithful volunteer at Sauk Prairie High School for 15 years where she tutored and helped instill her love of learning and the value of education on another generation. Loretta will always be remembered for her hard work, cooking and baking, keen intelligence, love of books and belief in God.

Loretta is survived by her children, Carol (Troy), John (Lela), Paul (Wendy), Jim (Marlene), Beverly (Brad); 12 grandchildren, Tim, Adam, Ryan, Michael, Michelle, Levi, Olivia, Alix, Jeff, Jewel, Jacy, Jacob; 13 great-grandchildren, Hank, John, Mazie, Conner, Zane, Jade, Piers, Ethan, Natalia, Liam, Kirstian, Dominic, Devin; and her sisters, Gert and Millie.

She was preceded in death by her husband Melvin Bickford; her parents Otto and Hattie Neumann; her brother William Nimz; grandson Greg Bickford; and granddaughter, Joie.

The family gives special thanks to Loretta’s very special caregiver friends; Teri Henn, Amy Johnson, Cady Hummitch, Tony Reinhold, Emmy Kirch, Kayla Kutz, Cole Henn-Sherwood and Allison Ballweg who provided incredible care and made it possible for her to remain at home. Additional thanks go to Pastor John and the congregation of the First United Presbyterian Church and Luci, Yvonne, Sara, volunteer Mary, and the rest of the Home Health United Hospice staff for their compassionate care.

A celebration of Loretta’s life was held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at First Presbyterian Church, 435 Fifth St., Prairie du Sac. Visitation was held from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial scholarship will be established in Loretta’s name.

Online condolences may be made at hooversonfuneralhomes.com.