FITCHBURG—Lois (Vesley) Rethard, 82, passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 10, 2019, at Agrace in Fitchburg, Wis. with her family by her side after fighting a courageous battle with cancer.
She was born on September 11, 1936, to Roger and Marjorie (Wilcox) Vesley. She graduated from Portage High School in 1955. Following high school, she went on to become a nurse caring for patients at Divine Savior Hospital and at Cook County. After her nursing career, she went on to own three Jolly Roger trucks, which started her lifelong career with Dairy Queen. This career included three different Dairy Queen stores in the span of over 50 years. While attending various Dairy Queen conventions, Lois discovered her love for traveling, which took her around the world. One of her favorite places being Australia.
When she wasn’t saving lives in her younger years, you could find her either bowling, camping, or snowmobiling on her spare time in the Sauk City area. As her years grew upon, if she wasn’t mixing blizzards, you could spot her at a local garage sale, Goodwill, or St. Vinnies trying to get a really good deal on something or at Ho Chunk trying to strike it rich. She also liked to journey down to Sam’s Club or Costco.
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Lois spent a lifetime loving her family and friends, offering hospitality at every turn. She was always on her porch watching birds at the bird feeders or indulged in a good book. She loved company and always found something to give as they would visit, even if they didn’t know they needed it. Her generosity extended to her pets. While she had many pets along her journey, Meghan (her puppy) had to be her all-time favorite. If you were around her you could be certain that you would find out how much she loved Meghan. But her over all love for her family is what made her as special as what she was.
Lois is survived by her sister, Gail (Eckel) Strandemo; sister-in-law, Claudia Vesley; daughters, Pamela (Ace Gray) Natarus, Tammy (Dennis) Steinke, Wendy (Jeff Golliher) Mitchell; grandchildren, Travis (Cassandra) Steinke, Heather (Steinke) Frame, Dylan (Sarah Gardner) Mitchell, Reana (John Kosmatka) Mitchell, Jeremiah Gray, Ian (Justin Olmscheid) Gray, Ashley (Drew Bos) Gray-Bos; three great-grandchildren, Tamryn, Taya, and Jimmy; and five nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Paul Vesley; and her former husband, Red (Harles) Rethard.
A celebration of Lois’ life will be held on September 21, 2019, from Noon to 5:00 p.m. at the VFW in Portage, Wis. In lieu of flowers, please give donations to the Columbia County Humane Society.
The family would like to give a special thanks to all of her doctors, nurses, and friends who took their time out of their lives for Lois. Especially Dr. Parks, Dr. Pogorelc (as Lois called her Dr. Jill), and Nurse Magan, as you all did an excellent job! A few special friends, Jackie Tarnutzer, Diane Smith, Sue Hamel, and to the wonderful staff at Agrace Hospice for the tremendous care they showed Lois.