January 8, 2015
La Crosse, WI -- Wendy Lou (Miller) Severson, 72
Wendy Lou (Miller) Severson, 72, died peacefully on Thursday, January 8, 2015, at Bethany St. Joseph Care Center, La Crosse, due to complications of diabetes and dementia.
Wendy was born September 28, 1942, in Indiana to Orlo Wayne Miller and Dorothy Louise (Shoulders) Miller. She had two sisters, Peggy Lynne (Miller) Blackman and Sherry Miller Welch. Wendy attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received a B.A. in home economics. She married L. John Severson on July 5, 1963, at the Delta Delta Delta sorority house in Madison, WI.
Wendy lived in Goshen (IN), Madison (WI), Racine (WI), Albert Lea (MN), Clear Lake (IA), Galesville (WI), St. Louis (MO), La Crosse (WI), and Epinal, France.
Wendy developed insulin-dependent diabetes at age 11, which prompted a lifelong interest in diet and cooking. She was known for her culinary skills and creativity, attended cooking school in France, and was working on opening a cooking school in the town of Medary, Wisconsin, in the early 2000s when her health and memory began to fail.
Wendy was also a gifted artist, working in a wide variety of media. She leaves behind dozens of cherished works of art -- oil paintings, pen-and-ink drawings, illustrations in self-published children’s books, wood carvings, textiles, and more.
Wendy retired in 1995 as marketing communications manager of RTP Co. of Winona, MN. In the 1970s, she was co-owner of Heart of the Artichoke, an Albert Lea shop specializing in artwork, crafts and antiques.
Wendy and John enjoyed travel, Old English Sheepdogs, hosting parties, gardening, and remodeling old homes. Their most recent project was an old farmhouse on Smith Valley Road in the town of Medary.
Wendy was preceded in death by her parents; in-laws Lloyd and Genevra Severson, Centerville, WI; sister Peggy; and a stillborn baby son. She is survived by her husband, John; son Eric Severson (Ellen Dodge Severson), La Crosse; daughter Jennifer Kate Snyder (Jim Snyder), Memphis, TN; granddaughter Johanna Porath Severson, La Crosse; sister Sherry, Falmouth, ME, and many members of her extended family.
Special thanks to Zwickey Funeral Homes, Bethany St. Joseph Care Center, Gundersen Hospice, Home Instead, Natural Arts Garden Club, and Gundersen Health System (especially Greg Pehling, Mary Beal and Sandy Gabrielson).
A celebration of Wendy’s life will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 401 West Avenue South, La Crosse (608-796-9993). A reception will follow. Flowers may be delivered that morning, or memorial donations are encouraged to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (www.jdrf.org).
WISCONSIN HIGH 50TH REUNION
Son – J. Eric Severson, 46
Granddaughter - Johanna Porath Severson, 19
Daughter - Jennifer Severson Snyder, 41
Sister - Peggy Riethmiller Blackman, Madison IN, deceased
Sister - Sherry Miller Welch, Falmouth ME
Parents - deceased
I retired in 1995 as a marketing communications manager. I spent the next 6 months living in Epinal, France where John was responsible for “installing” a communications center for all of the Trane Company global sites. We loved our sojourn in France! I have always enjoyed resurrecting old neglected houses and buildings. Our last project was an old farmhouse we remodeled and refurbished in a little valley outside La Crosse, WI. We now live in an apartment in downtown La Crosse where we can enjoy all the amenities this delightful little city has to offer.
I retired in 1995 as a marketing communications manager. Spent the next 6 months living in Epinal, France where John was responsible for “installing” a communications center for all of the Trane Company global sites. I could move to Europe without hesitation! I enjoy resurrecting old neglected houses and buildings and am keeping in touch with the downtown La Crosse scene for a new opportunity. I also teach cooking classes at our local food co-operative and in my home.
Activities - Writing and illustrating two children’s books on creativity, garden club, travel, tending herb garden, spending time in Maine on island kayaking and cruising sister Sherry’s old classic lobster boat.
My high school memories include a warm spring school day when some of us girls managed to be down on the big pier behind the Union absorbing the sun rays. Something was accidentally dropped into the water and a couple of us went in, diving to the bottom to retrieve it. We were a mess and couldn’t go back to school! I also remember a spring concert the band gave in the Memorial Union auditorium. A lot of our classmates were sitting right in front of the stage and I was charged by Mr Justice, the music director, to play the special piccolo part during the Star Spangled Banner. He motioned me to stand and come to the front for the “performance”. My “friends” performed some antics themselves, and I was terribly distracted. Those bad friends!