When a mother dies, the loss of unconditional love is a loss that no one else can fill. At age 92, Gladys, holding her daughters’ hands, passed away peacefully at Bethany Nursing Home, Waupaca, on Sunday, June 19, 2011, where she had been a resident for almost eight years. Gladys was born December 23, 1918, daughter of Edward and Flora (Christensen) Hansen. During her high school years, because she lived in the country several miles from school and transportation was scarce, she stayed with a family in Waupaca who owned a bakery. There, she babysat and earned her room and board while finishing high school. Gladys was married August 28, 1937, to Ronald, who had his eye on her from the time she was a little girl in braids, and had said he would marry her some day. They lived a simple life where, side by side, they farmed for many years on Townsend Road in Waupaca. She was a 4-H leader, Girl Scout leader, member of the Casey Lake Homemakers, and a member of Sarah Circle at Trinity Lutheran Church, of which she and Ronald were lifetime members. In 1958 they sold their farm and moved into town. Gladys worked in the kitchen for the Waupaca School System, at Woody’s Cheese Co, and also as a meat cutter at IGA Grocery. She found her true niche as head cook when she worked in the kitchen at Bethany, (where her mother was resident at the time). Her wonderful ability to make made-from-scratch breads, pies, cakes and cookies as well as peeling hundreds of pounds of potatoes for their “home cooked” meals was a delight for residents as well as visitors. However, goiter surgery and then severe rheumatoid arthritis caused her to take early retirement and she was bedridden for an extended time. After numerous trips to Marshfield Clinic and countless gold shots, she made a miraculous recovery. She was diagnosed with cancer in 1990 and again, recovered. Then, after living with diabetes for 35 years, her leg was amputated in October 2003. She became a resident at Bethany, where she excitedly learned to walk again after being presented with a prosthesis with a big red bow; her birthday present at age 85. Hope remained high to return home. However, her beloved Ronald passed away just a month short of their 68th wedding anniversary and then, due to many small strokes which left her unable to speak, and the onset of dementia, her hope was forever gone. In January 2011, she underwent emergency surgery at Theda Clark Hospital, Neenah, for a broken leg due to acute osteoporosis. She remained there for the next six days and was so happy to return “home” to Bethany. Gladys was such a fighter for so many years, but lost the battle with advanced Alzheimers. She has gone to her Heavenly Home where once again, she will be able to talk, be healed and be happy. Gladys is survived by her two daughters; Sharon (Jerry) Breen of Appleton, and Rhonda (Dan) Melzer of West Bloomfield. She is also survived by six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; Jennifer (David) Knaack, Elijah and Emily of Greenfield – Melissa Fischer, Courtney, Coleton, and Caylah of Appleton – Mark (Tammy) Boone of Appleton – Joel (Julie) Boone, Hailey and Cody of Appleton – Cameron (Dawn) Melzer of Appleton – Corey Melzer of Waupaca. Gladys is also survived by several nieces and nephews and their families. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Ronald on July 30, 2005; an infant brother, Robert; and her brother, Kenneth Hansen.
A special thank you from Gladys’s family to the ENTIRE staff and employees of Bethany Home (past and present) for your friendship, care, support and sincere love shown to her…you will be fondly remembered. Also, thank you to Theda Care at Home Hospice.
A Funeral Service will be on Monday, June 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM at the Bethany Home Chapel in Waupaca, WI. Reverend Dr. Charles L. Tews will officiate. A visitation will be held from 10:00 – 11:00 AM at the chapel on Monday. Burial will be at Lakeside Memorial Park in Waupaca following the service on Monday. The Holly Funeral Home of Waupaca is assisting the family with arrangements.
We had two mothers…two mothers we claim.
Two different people, yet with the same name.
First was the mother who carried us here… Gave us birth and love and wiped our tears. She was the one whose features we bear…
Complete with facial expressions we wear. But then came the time that her mind clouded so… We knew that the mother we’d known soon would go. So quickly she changed and turned into the other…A stranger who dressed in the clothes of our mother. She looked the same, at least at arm’s length… But she was the child now, and we were her strength. The years have passed, and we had two mothers; The second we loved – just like the other. We’ll love you forever, Momma
Rhonda and Sharonk