Sun Prairie-Isabel Schleicher of Sun Prairie, age 97, passed away peacefully on Feb. 6, 2019 at Meadows Assisted Living and Memory Care in Spring Green, WI where she received excellent care her last three years.
Born in Madison, March 3, 1921, Isabel was the eldest of Alice (Kraus) and Arthur Veith’s five children. Isabel developed her love of music, gardening, and baking while helping her mother, and her strong work ethic and love of nature and animals while doing farm chores with her dad. Isabel said, that as a child growing up in the depression, she learned that being helpful and cheerful made everyone else happier. Her generous caregiving and positive attitude continued throughout her life.
Upon graduating from Sun Prairie High School, Isabel followed her dream to become a registered nurse at St. Mary’s School of Nursing. After graduating in 1942, she taught cadet nurses for the war effort.
Isabel married Vernon F. Schleicher on Aug. 14, 1945. They had five children whom she raised as a widow after Vernon’s untimely death from heart failure on June 29,1953. Isabel’s Catholic faith steadied her during those difficult years when she denied herself all but the bare essentials to meet the needs of her children. She remained an active member of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church and St. Albert the Great Catholic Church parishes.
Isabel worked as a clinical nurse in Sun Prairie before her 20-year career at Mendota Mental Health Institute and the Children’s Treatment Center. She was a defensive driving instructor for the state, worked on a video-based parent education program, and recorded public service announcements for WHA radio entitled “A Mental Health Minute” which aired for over a decade.
In retirement, Isabel focused her enthusiasm for life on her grandchildren, hobbies, and volunteer work. She created Music in Motion, a senior exercise class at the Sun Prairie Colonial Club, and joined her sister Carol Kimball’s tap dance group. She played guitar, told stories, and read to the kindergartners at Westside Elementary. She was active with her St. Mary’s alumni class, her lifelong friends, and was well known and loved by her community, who honored her with the Book of Golden Deeds Award in 2002.
The warmth and love in Isabel’s home was symbolic of her character: her doors were always open, it was a gathering place for her siblings, nieces and nephews, and a second home to her 11 grandchildren. They remember the endless fun they had together. She would play board games and do art projects with them and read to them until she fell asleep. There were pillow forts in her living room, and games of hide-and-seek took over the entire house.
She rarely missed an opportunity to share her knowledge and had a way of teaching by example that was so graceful you wouldn’t even know she was doing so. She taught her grandchildren to bake and garden, to be both careful and brave, and to respect nature and be kind to all living things.
Isabel was as wise as she was humble and as capable as she was selfless. Her attitude was as contagious as her laughter, and her smile was as warm as the sun. Her good deeds will continue to ripple through the world, her spirit will live on inside those who were lucky enough to know her, and the pure goodness she brought into the world for over 97 years will reverberate through the fabric of existence forever.
She is survived by her children: John (Ann), Charlene Sauer, Janet Weinstein, Barbara Carl; 11 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; two sisters, Carol (Alex) Kimball and Mary (Robert) Helt; sister-in-law, Joan Veith; brother Leon (Dawn) Veith; brother-in-law Joseph (Mary) Schleicher and many nieces and nephews.
Isabel is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her son Robert, and her brother Robert Veith.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, June 29 at 11:30 a.m. at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church, 227 Columbus Street, Sun Prairie, with Msgr. Duane Moellenberndt presiding. There will be a luncheon and a celebration of Isabel’s life to follow at the church. Please share your memories of Isabel at www.newcomerfh.com.