Marikaye S. Robers, 96, formerly of La Crosse, Wis., passed away in San Antonio, Texas, with family at her side on Monday, January 15, 2018. Marikaye was born Oct. 6, 1921, in Chicago, Illinois. She was the first child of Francis Edward and Mary Cremin Smith.
Marikaye worked as a model for Macy’s fashions in New York City during WWll. The crew of a B24 Bomber was training in New York City at that time. Marikaye arranged dates with her modeling friends for the crew before they shipped out. They named the bomber after her “The Manhattan Maiden” with a caricature of her on the plane. She later moved back to Chicago and worked at an ad agency. On Feb. 2, 1952, she married Charles Robers and they made La Crosse their home.
Marikaye was committed to advancing medical care in her community. She served 25 years on the Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare Foundation Board. She was a charter member of Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare auxiliary, where she served as president. She received The Spheres of Influence Award for her service.
At Viterbo University, Marikaye served as a member of the Board of Directors from 1981 through 2000. She also served as a member of the Board of Advisors from 1977-1984, and was Chairperson of the Viterbo College’s Building the Future Capital Campaign in 1984. In 1991, Marikaye was honored as the recipient of the Pope John XXIII award. This is Viterbo’s highest non-academic honor bestowed by the university. In 1997, Marikaye served as a member and co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Council of the Coulee Region. She also volunteered her time to countless other charitable and community organizations.
Marikaye was a Lady of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. She went on a pilgrimage to Israel with her husband. The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre is a Roman Catholic order of knighthood under the protection of the Pope. She has been a member of the Blessed Sacrament Parish since 1952. Besides charitable work she had a love for bridge, golf and her book club. She also enjoyed traveling extensively with her husband.
She is survived by her loving husband Charley of 65 years, as well as their 2 daughters, Shelley Gilbert (John) of San Antonio, TX and Kitty deNeve (John) of Naperville, IL; grandchildren Mimi Gilbert Fisher (Felix), Charley Gilbert (Brittany), Emma Gilbert all of San Antonio, TX, and Nieka deNeve of Naperville, IL along with the great grandchildren Kila, Will, and Cade Fisher of San Antonio. Extended family members include her sister Jeanne Nolan of Chicago IL and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Frank Smith.
Family and friends may visit from 4 to 8:00 PM on Thursday Feb. 1, 2018, at the Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Ave. So., La Crosse, Wis., with a Rosary to be held at 7:00 PM.
A Eulogy will begin at 10:30 AM with the Mass of Christian Burial to be held at 11:00 AM Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 130 Losey Blvd. So, La Crosse, Wis. Rev. Matthew Marshall will officiate with Msgr. Bernard Mc Garty as the Homilist.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Viterbo University.