Carol Jean Hawley, loving mother and grandmother, of La Crosse, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully in her sleep and went to be with her Lord and Savior on April 29, 2018. She was born on June 14, 1935, and raised in Lancaster, Wisconsin. She married Thomas John Hawley in 1955, and they lived in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They later divorced in 1969, when Carol moved the family to La Crosse to finish up her four-year teaching degree in elementary education at Viterbo University; she graduated in 1970. After graduating, she enjoyed 28 years of teaching kindergarten for the Onalaska School District. Her teaching career started at Northern Hills Elementary School, and when the Fauver Hill Kindergarten Center opened, she taught there until her retirement in 1995. She also worked for a few years at the La Crosse Center as an usher.
After retiring from teaching, Carol enjoyed serving the community for many organizations. These included volunteering for hospice care, for Causeway, and for St. Francis Perpetual Prayer; teaching Catechism to preschoolers at Holy Trinity Parish; volunteering as a eucharistic minister at Mayo Hospital and Holy Trinity Parish for many years; serving meals at the Southside Senior Center; visiting and playing bingo with residents of Bethany Riverside Nursing Home; and working at the La Crosse Center Thanksgiving Meal event for many years. She served on the Viterbo University Alumni Advisory Board and was Viterbo’s alumni president for two years.
Carol loved to sing, and was a member of the Holy Trinity Church Choir for many years. She also was a variety singer.
Carol was a member of the Nakomis Grandmothers Club for many years. She was voted “Grandmother of the Year” in 1998.
Traveling the world was one of Carol’s passions. She loved taking trips with her girlfriends and church friends. She explored countless places including Lourdes, France; London, England; Canada; and Rome, Italy, where the highlight of that trip was seeing the Pope. One of her lifelong dreams was to ride on a gondola in Venice, Italy, which she did in 1996. She visited lots of places in the United States as well, and took many bus trips with her dear friends.
Carol loved the Green Bay Packers, gardening, journaling, playing bridge, playing the piano, and always looking for a way that she could be doing something for others. Over the years, she would load up her car and drive to a Native American reservation in South Dakota, bringing supplies, clothes, and gifts for the children. She loved sponsoring and being a pen pal to her friend, Maria, of Mexico for 18 years and Danelia of the Philippines for 5 years.
But above all, Carol was a wonderful and loving mother to her children and grandchildren. She was the type of mother who always put her children first. She was a positive role model in everything she did. She always taught us the importance of doing the right thing and making a difference in other people’s lives each day. She taught us unconditional love and the importance of family traditions. She was a constant source of support and strength, and the wisest teacher in life that we all had. She was a dear friend to so many over the years. She will be deeply missed by her family and friends.
She is survived by her two daughters, Kathy (Bill) Pearse of Holmen and Barbara (Frank) Laylan of Onalaska; her son, Mark (Jenny) Hawley of Onalaska; her seven grandchildren, Zach (Tessa) Weigel, Billy (Jessica) Pearse, Sarah (Justin) Zezulka, Bryan Pearse, Emily Laylan, Alex Hawley, and Matthew Hawley; and great-granddaughter, Scarlett Weigel.
She was preceded in death by her son, John C. Hawley; her grandson, Nathan Laylan; her parents, Bertha and Andrew Dersch; her brother, Charles Dersch; and her aunt, Teresa Hoffman.
A time of remembrance, visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, with a Prayer Service starting at 7:00 pm, on Thursday, May 3, 2018 at Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home at 1501 West Avenue South, in La Crosse. A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, May 4, 2018 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church at 1333 13th Street South, in La Crosse. A visitation will be at 9:00 am until the time of Mass at Church on Friday.
The family would like to thank Bethany Riverside Care Center staff, Dr. David Momont and staff, and the Gundersen Lutheran Hospice staff for all their kindness, compassion, and wonderful care they gave our dear mother, Carol, in the last weeks of her life.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Aquinas High School Scholarship Fund in Carol’s name. A private family burial will be held at a later date.