Obituary for Ellen L. Willenberg

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Ellen L. Willenberg, 91, of La Crosse, WI., passed away Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at Hillview Health Care Center. She was born in La Crosse on April 18, 1928 to Frank and Luella (Niebling) Loeffler. 
Ellen met Carl Willenberg at the Concordia when she was 18 years old. She liked the look of him so she tried to trip him to get his attention. They were married on June 7, 1947 and celebrated their 62nd anniversary before Carl’s death on April 26, 2010.
  After raising three children, Ellen worked at Sears in the catalog division for 18 years. When she retired she spent more time with her family, especially her sisters Violet and Shirley. They had great times on their annual trips to Las Vegas. At home in La Crosse, she cared for a succession of much-loved cats, Butterscotch, Jenny June, Buttons and Chucky. She also loved to bird watch and kept full bird feeders outside her windows, even when she moved to an assisted living apartment. On Fridays, Ellen enjoyed dinner at Houghton’s and always ordered fish and fries with a gin and sour from her favorite waitress, Kelly.  Ellen was a lifetime member of Immanuel Lutheran Church and always attended Sunday morning services with her sister, Shirley and daughter, Susie.
Ellen is survived by her three children, Rick (Nancie) Willenberg of La Crosse, Susie (Gary) Stanley of La Crosse, and Randy Willenberg of Whalan, MN; five grandchildren, Gretchen Willenberg, Holley (Parag) Tolat, Linda (Dan) Hafner, Tara Stanley (Bill) August, Jason (Liston) Stanley; and 10 great-grandchildren. 
In addition to her husband, Carl, she was preceded in death by her parents, two sisters, Shirley E. Stetzer and Violet Schmeckpeper; and two brothers Norm Loeffler and Vernon Loeffler.
Ellen’s family would like to thank Gundersen Medical Center staff and Hillview staff for their kind and patient care in the last four months of her life. She was able to pass away peacefully and comfortably thanks to all of you.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1201 Avon Street, La Crosse, WI. Pastor David Leistekow will officiate and burial will be at Oak Grove Cemetery. Family and friends may call at the church on Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. until time of service.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at