Received June 8, 2010
Husband – The Rev. Canon Michael J. Stolpman of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee, died in 1990 while traveling in Galway, Ireland.
Son – Andrew, lives in Milwaukee
Daughter – Amy, a BSN. Lives in Phoenix and works at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Scottsdale. She is married and they have 2 sons.
Grandchildren – Michael 3 1/2; William 6 months
Brother – Dr. Lowell Froker, retired Radiologist living in Lafayette, CA
Sister – Nancy (Froker) Mayne, retired Physical Therapist living in Marion, WI
Sister – Connie (Froker) Bogue, my dear twin
Parents – Deceased.
Prior to retirement, I was Executive Director of “Sojourner Truth House”, a shelter for battered women and their children, a position I held for 25 years. I was honored with “The Woman of the Year Award” by Mount Mary College in Milwaukee and “The Frank Zeidler Award”.
Obituary from January 16, 2016 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Back in 1982, Stolpman was a stay-at-home mom in Brookfield. Her husband, the Rev. Michael Stolpman, was an Episcopal priest and board member of Sojourner Truth House, the first domestic violence shelter in Milwaukee. At the time, the shelter was short of funds and staff and Stolpman’s husband asked her to help out.
So, the stay-at-home mom took a $5 an hour part-time job.
“I think that first day she found her true calling and felt an immediate feeling that she was where she needed to be,” said her son, Andrew.
Stolpman, who served as the shelter’s executive director for 25 years before her retirement in 2008, died Thursday at her home in Saint John’s On The Lake. She was 73 and had Parkinson’s disease.
“She was an extremely outspoken advocate for peace and for nonviolence, especially domestic violence,” her son said. “That was one part we’d see, someone who was very fierce in protecting the institution of Sojourner Truth House and making sure there was a safe place for battered women to go.”
“What people didn’t see is that she was just a very kind and caring and sweet and gentle woman who loved her family and loved her kids and enjoyed nothing more than being with them at home,” he said. “She really taught us a lot when we were growing up.”
Born and raised in Madison, Kathie Froker graduated in 1964 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in social work. Her father, Rudolph, had been the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
In Madison, she met Michael Stolpman and they were married in August 1965. They later lived in Richland Center before settling in the Milwaukee area. Michael Stolpman rose to become Canon of the Diocese in Milwaukee. He died in 1990.
At Sojourner Truth House, Stolpman became director and ran the shelter in 1983. A year later, she was named executive director.
“Violence forever changes a life,” Stolpman said during a 2008 interview with The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We have to be especially concerned with the next generation. I feel strongly that the high incidence of violence in the city today needs more attention.”
In 1986, Milwaukee police asked Sojourner Truth House to operate a 24-hour hotline for domestic violence victims. Calls spiked from 450 to more than 1,800 in one month and Stolpman said, “Our life changed forever.”
“Kathie always said that nobody should expect or tolerate violence or abuse,” said Angela Mancuso, who succeeded Stolpman as executive director at Sojourner Truth House. “That goes back to the idea of treating everybody with dignity and respect.”
In 2009, the Sojourner Family Peace Center was created after the merger of Sojourner Truth House and the Task Force on Family Violence.
“Through her actions she created the foundation upon which this agency sits,” said Carmen Pitre, executive director of Sojourner Family Peace Center. “Without her, we would not be here. I said to the staff that she walked in the footsteps of Sojourner Truth herself.”
Besides her son Andrew, survivors include her daughter Amy Conkle, her brother Lowell Froker, twin sister Connie Bogue, sister Nancy Mayne and three grandchildren.
A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday at at St. John’s On The Lake, 1840 N. Prospect Ave. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials in Stolpman’s name to the Sojourner Family Peace Center, (619 W Walnut St, Milwaukee WI 53212) or the Department of Neurology (Attn: Vicki Conte) Froedtert and the Medical College of WI (9200 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee WI 53226).