TOWN OF CALAMUS — The life of Eleanor “Ellie” Neumann was filled with family and giving, so of course there was nothing but happiness for her as she lived her last Thanksgiving Day. Tragically she lost her life in a house fire Thursday evening.
Neumann worked for 40 years at American Bank before her retirement. Her family said she was active in First Evangelical Lutheran Church where she led the quilting guild and helped with church fundraisers.
Eleanor and her husband, Ruben, were celebrating Thanksgiving Day at the home of her son and daughter-in-law Bob and Kathy Lind.
“They always were happy,” Kathy Lind said. “They got to spend time on Thanksgiving with their one great-grandchild and four of their grandchildren. They had a lovely time and were looking forward to Ruben’s party the next weekend.”
The family had planned a birthday party next weekend to celebrate his birthday which is Dec. 13. Eleanor and Ruben celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last year.
Beaver Dam Fire Department was dispatched to the Neumanns’ home at N7295 Watercress Lane at 10:25 p.m. for a report of a house fire with victims trapped in the basement, according to a press release from Beaver Dam Fire Chief Alan Mannel. Dodge County deputies arrived on the scene and found heavy smoke and fire on the first floor of the house. Both Eleanor and Ruben were in the fire. Ruben, 92, was able to exit the home on his own. Eleanor, 85, was rescued from the home.
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The family said they had lived in the house since the 1980s.
Eleanor’s son Ken Lind said she was found near a fire extinguisher so they believe she was attempting to put out the fire that may have been caused by an electric blanket.
Both Eleanor and Ruben were taken to Marshfield Medical Center–Beaver Dam. Eleanor was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Ruben was sent to UW-Madison Burn Center, where he was undergoing surgery Friday, Ken Lind said.
Kathy Lind said she will always remember her last moments with her mother-in-law.
“We always say I love you and hug, so we have got that,” Kathy Lind said. “Everyone loved her.”
Responding to the scene were Juneau, Randolph, Lowell, Horicon, Burnett, and Fox Lake fire departments. Mayville EMS and Hustisford Fire provided covered for Beaver Dam while Beaver Dam Fire and Rescue were at the scene. No firefighter was injured, but one sheriff’s deputy was treated for smoke exposure.
The cause of the fire is under investigation with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and Wisconsin State Fire Marshal, Mannel said.
Follow Terri Pederson on Twitter @tlp53916 or contact her at 920-356-6760.