April 15, 1940 - April 19, 2021
Milton, WI - Lysabeth N. Wilson, of Milton, WI, departed peacefully in the quiet afternoon hours of April 19, 2021, at Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center, Janesville, WI, due to complications from a stroke; her beloved immediate family was by her side to see her reach another year past eight decades just four days earlier. She was born in Lincoln, NE on April 15, 1940 to Svend and Lois Nielsen, of Weeping Water, NE.
Lys graduated from Elmwood, NE High School in 1958 as a scholar and member of the National Honor Society. She obtained a Bachelor's Degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1962, and did additional graduate work at Western Illinois University. Lys went on to teach 3rd Grade at three Iowa school districts, noted as an expert in cursive writing technique until 1975. Lys was also noted for giving seminars on bullying, including gay/lesbian discrimination, as she was trained for such at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA. Lys followed her teacher union trail then to become the Director of East Central UniServ Unit (ECUU) in North Liberty, IA. She moved to Wisconsin and became the Executive Director of Rock Valley Teachers United (RVUT) in Janesville in 1979.
She retired from RVUT in 2004 after serving many statewide teachers as well, through the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) and the National Education Association (NEA). Lys was a lead trainer in consensus bargaining. For her outstanding staff work, she was awarded the WEAC's Cunningham-Dickinson- Watson Outstanding Staff Award in 1997, as the first woman staffer to glean that award.
Lys was the lead organizer for the Janesville Marshall Middle School visit of First Lady Hillary Clinton in 1999, who came to champion the school's computer lab arrangement. Prior to this in 1997, she was trained by the US Secret Service near Baltimore, MD in top security measures. Lys also was the lead organizer for the Gore - Lieberman Democratic Rally in LaCrosse in 1999. She also assisted in organizing a Rally for Vice President Gore later that year in Racine.
After retiring, Lys actively volunteered for the Agrace HospiceCare organization, serving Rock County care patients, amassing 338 hours of volunteer time in 2014, and over 500 total hours in 5 years of service; this was above any other volunteer for the organization. In her working years, Lys also performed volunteer efforts for the YWCA (Shelter 4 Abused) and Janesville's Labor Fest
Lys' history additionally includes fundraising efforts for the Susan G. Komen Foundation by walking half-marathons in Phoenix, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. She participated in several other fund-raising walking events, 5K and 10K in nature, in Wisconsin communities in the 1990s.
Lysabeth exchanged vows with Phil Borkenhagen on December 17, 1984 before Judge Mark Farnum. Lys loved to travel with Phil, taking excursions to England, Germany, Norway, France, Austria, Ireland (2006 Ryder Cup), and annual trips with nine working colleagues to Door County, Chicago, Isle of Palm, Charleston, Savannah, Hilton Head, naming a few over 10 years.
Her fun time was spent needle-pointing, counted cross-stitching, quilting, pouring through books and reading obituaries. She attended UW football and men's ice hockey games for over 20 years, loved pro golf tournaments even attending two Masters and loved viewing college basketball on TV. Lys was known to adore special cats at home, namely, Princess (Ragdoll), Harry and Gracie (Birman) and Oreo (just a barn cat).
Lysabeth is survived by her loving husband, Phil; her son Walker (Kerrie), Melrose, MA; her daughter, Lisa (Steve Nelson), Milwaukee, WI; her sister, Kathy (Larry) Seureau, Chelan, WA; her brother, Armon (Nancy) Nielsen, Lincoln, NE. She is also survived by step-children Lynne Schroeder, (Neenah, WI); Tamarah Kent (New Jersey); William Borkenhagen (Morrisonville, NY) and Andrea Elwyn (Dunkirk, MD). She is also survived by grandchildren Dan, John C., Anna and Amanda; by step-grandchildren Stefan, Dr. John, Ryan, Hannah, Brianne and Corrine. Additional survivors include three great-grandchildren and eleven step- great-grandchildren.
Private family services will be held Saturday at the Albrecht Funeral Home, Milton, Pastor Dave Peterson officiating, with a Celebration of Life to be held near Summer, following an announcement. The family suggests that memorials in Lys' honor be designated and sent to Agrace HospiceCare, Janesville, WI. The
Albrecht Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, Milton, WI, is assisting the family with arrangements.
The family wishes to express a heart-felt THANK YOU to all the great RNs and CNAs at Mercy Hospital, who cared for Lys this past month, along with Dr. Kim and especially, Dr. Green.