Mary Philomena Felker, 84, of La Crosse, died August 1, 2014, at Bethany St. Joseph Care Center, La Crosse. She was born November 25, 1929, in Stevens Point, WI to Victor J. and Ramona K. (Grabowski) Bukolt.Â Â She attended St. Joseph Academy in Stevens Point, and started her college career at St. Mary`s College in South Bend, IN.Â Â After meeting the love of her life, Charles (Chuck) Felker, at a Waupaca dance hall during the summer of 1948, she joined him at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI and finished her college studies there.Â Â They were married on August 25, 1951, in Stevens Point. Mary was an avid reader and gave all her children the gift of book joy.Â Â She prized her time with herÂ Â dear friends in bridge club and theology study club.Â Â She worked at WISAA (Wisconsin Independent Schools Athletic Association) and was named WISAA Woman of the Year in 1995. Mary and Chuck taught ballroom dance classes for many years and led over a dozen Caribbean dance cruises.Â Â They were true â€œriver ratsâ€, taking their family and friends out boating on the Mississippi almost every week for waterskiing, good food and fun.Â Â They loved to travel and spent many enjoyable years roaming around the country in their RV.
Mary will be dearly missed by her husband Charles, and their seven children and their families:Â Â Marcia (John) Sarnowski and their children, David (Lisa), Danny (Ann), and Jake (Rachel); Mark and his children, Brian (Cheryl) and Alison (Marshall) Handy; Michael (Nancy) and their children, Heather (Ben) Socie and Matthew; Marian (Thomas) Ricci and their children, Stephen (Lisabeth), John, and Christopher; Monica (Joseph) Weigel and their children, Erin, Nathaniel, and Samuel; Martin (Susan) and their children, Randy and Anna; Margaret (Marty) Tryba and their children, Ryan and Adam.Â Â She cherished every one of her 17 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, and her many nieces and nephews.
Mary is also survived by her brother James Bukolt and his wife Rebecca; and her sister-in-law Anne (Felker) Solomon and her husband Arthur.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her parents-in-law (Raymond and Eleanor Felker), her brother Victor Bukolt and his wife Theresa, her sister-in-law Barbara (Felker) Mellin and her husband William, and her brother-in-law Thomas Felker and his wife Patricia.
Mary`s family would like to thank all who cared for her so tenderly, including the staff at Benedictine Villa and Manor, St. Francis Hospital, Bethany St. Joseph Care Center and the St. Jude Hospice Team.
A visitation will be held at the Blaschke &Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Avenue South, La Crosse on Tuesday, August 5, from 4:30-7:30 p.m., starting with a scripture service at 4:30.
A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Wednesday, August 6, at 10:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman, 530 Main Street, La Crosse.
Memorials are preferred to the La Crosse Public Library, the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman, or St. Jude`s Children`s Hospital.