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Mary Lillian Apel

November 21, 2012

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APEL, Mary Lillian (Schildmeyer)

Mary Lillian (Schildmeyer) Apel, 85, of La Crosse, passed away peacefully on November 21, 2012, at Mayo Franciscan Hospital surrounded by her family.  She was born October 4, 1927, in St. Lucas, Iowa to Henry and Elizabeth (Wulf) Schildmeyer, the second of eight children.  The family moved to farm outside of Ossian Iowa in 1934.  She attended St. Frances De Sales School where she loved playing basketball and “kitten ball.”   Her education was completed at Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, IA.  She worked in Minneapolis, MN and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester as a medical secretary. On a trip to Germany with her parents, she met her future husband, Karl Josef Apel of Delmenhorst, Germany. Karl immigrated to America and they were married on September 7, 1959, at St. Mary’s Church in Roseville, IA.  They lived in Hammond, IN and began their family with daughters Marga and Karla. They made wonderful memories and cherished living close to their extended family, the Peters.

In 1963, they moved to La Crosse, WI where daughters Lisa and Barbara completed their family.  Mary served God by serving others and focused on always finding the good in others. She was an active member of St. James Catholic Church on the north side of La Crosse, where she served in the PCCW, funeral lunch and craft groups, among many. Mary cherished her weekly Holy Hour of Adoration with her dear friend and prayer partner, Clara Haag.

She had a deep faith and determined spirit, living life to its fullest. She found great joy collecting baby clothes, shoes, and blankets for the Missions. She made several visits to her sister, Sister Elizabeth Ann, OSF and Marga in Honduras, working with them side by side helping the poor. She was thrilled with the adventure of traveling to remote mountain villages on mules, and crossing raging rain swollen rivers.

Mary loved sharing her famous rye and cranberry breads at Christmas. Her enthusiasm for sports carried thru watching her children compete and later her grandchildren. She loved attending the Packer games at Lambeau Field.

Mary faced several health challenges head-on, after suffering a severe brain-stem stroke in 2003.  She spent 3 years at Hillview, before accomplishing her goal to return to her home. Many thanks to Karen Fisher, Cathy Schaub, and her dear friend and caregiver Winnie McGuire for helping her achieve this dream!

Throughout the 9 years she lived being paralyzed, having to use a tracheostomy, feeding tube and oxygen support she still managed to vacation at her daughters’ homes.

Mary valued Catholic Education and Respect for all human life. Her favorite motto was, “Where there is life, there is hope,” which she lived to the end.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Karl, on July 6, 1985; her parents; father- and mother-in-law, Christian and Wilhelmina Apel; brothers Bruno(Judie) Schildmeyer and Billy Schildmeyer; sisters Agnes(Omer) Topf and Ann Schildmeyer; Brother-in-law Hans Apel and Christa (Sigfried) Wanke.

Mary is survived by her daughters, Marga Apel of LaCrosse, Karla (Tim) Larson of Eagle Lake, MN, Lisa (Tom) Apel-Christianson of Eagan, MN, and Barb (Joey) Honsa of Freedom, WI; grandchildren Chris  and Katie Larson,  Gretchen and Annalena Christianson, and Mikayla Honsa; one brother Joseph (Caroline) Schildmeyer; two sisters, Fran (Bill) Topf and Sr. Elizabeth Ann Schildmeyer, OSF; Sister-in-law Marga (Hans) Dierkes; one brother-in-law Ernst (Uschi) Apel;  She is further survived by many nieces and nephews in the United States and Germany.

Special thanks to Dr. Stephen Pavela, Dr. Neil Brown, Dr. JP Skemp, and the entire ST.Francis Family,  Fr. Schaller, Msgr. Scheckel, Audrey Bateman, her faithful friends Pat Skiles and Arlys Johnson, fellow St.James parishioners and countless others who kept her in their prayers.

A funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 AM Saturday, November 24, 2012, in St. James the Less Catholic Church, 1032 Caledonia St., La Crosse, Wis. Rev. Robert Schaller will officiate with burial to be held in the Catholic Cemetery, La Crosse, Wis. Family and friends may call today, form 4 to 6:00 PM at St. James the Less Catholic Church, with a Rosary to be held at 5:45 PM. Family and friends may also call from 9:00 AM until the time of Mass in the church on Saturday.

The Blaschke & Schneider funeral homes are assisting the family with arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.