Dorothy J. Heberlein, 92, of La Crosse, died peacefully June 29, 2021, at Benedictine Manor as a result of a major stroke suffered on June 20, 2021, surrounded by the love and prayers of family and friends.
First and foremost a woman of faith, Dorothy was deeply committed to the Blessed Virgin, the Marian Catechists and the pro-life movement. Supported by a wide circle of spiritual friends, time spent at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and pilgrimages to Rome, Fatima, Medjugorje, Ireland and the Holy Land, she was a model of devotion and sincerity. She lived out her commitment to sharing her faith by teaching catechism at St James parish.
Dorothy and her husband Jerry were the first couple to be married at Blessed Sacrament Church in June of 1950 and were life long members of the parish, educating their children at the parish school. As a couple they enjoyed several trips to Germany, and in the spring of 1971 managed an epic month-long trip with all six of their children to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Embodying considerable fortitude and quiet strength, she supported Jerry through all the long hours, joys and sorrows of restaurant ownership while raising six children, all who entered professions serving others. She loved going out to eat and a good cocktail.
For a number of years she taught swimming lessons to children and adults at the YMCA, where her training as a teacher, her patience and gentleness were great assets. She was a gardener, a lover of flowers and a whiz with spider plants. A great cook and baker, her apple pies were beyond compare. Along with Jerry, she fostered in her children a love of healthy food and modeled a welcoming, generous hospitality.
Dorothy managed the challenges of Jerry’s death in 2005, her earlier strokes, the transition to nursing home care and COVID-19 isolation with remarkable patience and grace. She was respected and appreciated by so many for her positive attitude, warmth and playfulness.
The family wishes to extend great appreciation to Patricia Krause and her husband Rich, Dorothy’s spiritual community who have prayed for and supported her especially through these last difficult years, and to the amazing staff at the Benedictine Villa and Manor who took such good care of her during her residence there.
She is survived by her six children: Jerry (Enid), Greg (April Boxeth), Mary Fran Brandenberger (Jay). Mark (Kate), David (Sarah Kessler) and Savitri Joan (Tsering Dhondup); 16 grand children and 7 great grand-children Emily (Eric Sevigny and children Neil and Alec), Joel (Janine and children Jake, Max and Emma), Martha (Paul Jacobs and children Oscar and Ingrid), Evan and Eleanor Heberlein, Ellen and Rachel Brandenberger, Padraic, Molly and Brendan Heberlein, Eamon Adache (Shizue), Eliza, Lily and Moses Heberlein, Jangchub and Paljor Amba; siblings Eleanor Sullivan and Sam Skemp. Preceded in death by her husband of 55 years Jerry, parents Dr. Archie and Ellen Skemp, siblings Mary, John, Florence, Loretta and Charles.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 130 Losey Blvd. South, La Crosse. Rev. Peter Raj will officiate with burial to be held in Catholic Cemetery, La Crosse. A Rosary will be held at 9:00 AM at Church on Tuesday, with visitation following until the time of Mass.
In lieu of flowers, memorial are preferred to Blessed Sacrament Parish, Catholic Relief Services, or the BLC (Benedictine Living Community) of La Crosse Foundation.