Vernice D. Kirkeeng, 91, passed away Tuesday, December 3, 2019, at Hillview Health Care with family by her side. She was born January 11, 1928 at home in West Salem, WI (McKinley Valley) to Sophie and Fred Witte. Vernice was the youngest of six children.
She attended a one-room school (Walker School) and graduated from West Salem High School in 1945. Vernice loved to go dancing at the Avalon Ballroom with her cousin Verna. Vernice married Manley Kirkeeng on July 30, 1949 and they recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Vernice then went on to extend her education at WWTC for secretarial training. She worked at Electric Auto-Lite Co. in the traffic department, secretary for the YWCA, and for 22 years as a program assistant for the Vocal Rehabilitation Department.
Upon retirement at age 62, she volunteered briefly at Mt. Calvary Church as school secretary and the hot lunch program.
Vernice then went back to work driving for car dealerships doing dealer trades, picking up auction cars and finally transporting vehicles for Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, fully retiring at the age of 83.
She enjoyed summer vacations “up North” fishing and staying at lake cabins with friends and relatives, playing cards, a couple of bowling teams and traveling with her brother and sister-in-law, Muriel and Irene Kirkeeng to Florida, Canada and Mackinac Island.
Her mother’s kindness and friendliness inspired Vernice to leave her home and care for another family’s baby for room and board while attending West Salem High School.
Mom stated” I have two wonderful adult children (Jeanie and Bruce), grandson (Eric), one great-granddaughter (Allyssa) and son-in-law (Bob)” showering Manley and the family with kindness and love continually.
Our mother was baptized, confirmed and married at Christ Evanelical Lutheran Church in West Salem, WI , eventually joining Mt. Calvary Ev. Lutheran Church where she loved being a part of the Ladies Aid Society and with church friends playing Bunco. She had strong Christian values and instilled those values in her family.
Mom had the biggest heart of anyone we have ever known. She was a beautiful example of faithful, sacrificial and unconditional love. She introduced us to Jesus, modeled his love and encouraged us in our faith.
She is survived by her husband, Manley, two children, Jeanie (Bob) Blaschke and Bruce Kirkeeng, grandson Eric Mickelson and great-granddaughter, Allyssa Lind, brother and sister-in-laws, Lyle and Josephine Kirkeeng, Janesville, WI and Dave and Bev Kirkeeng, Rochester, MN, along with many dear nieces and nephews and friends, especially Jan and Ciel Dahlke.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers, Richard(Helen)Witte, Bernard(Adeline)Witte, Wilbert(Ruth)Witte, and sisters Elsie Witte (age 4) and Vernetta(Floyd)Romskog.
Funeral services will be held Monday, December 9th, at 11:00 A.M. at Mt. Calvary Ev. Lutheran Church, 1602 Park Avenue, La Crosse. Pastor Robert Wassermann will officiate with burial in Woodlawn Cemetery. Friends and family may call at the Blaschke and Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Ave. S., on Sunday, December 8th, from 4:00-6:00 P.M. and at the church on Monday from 10:00 A.M. until the time of services.
Memorials are preferred to Mt. Calvary Ev. Lutheran Church or Luther High School.
A special “thank you” to Dr. Kyla Lee and Peggy Smith, RN, for all the years of their kindness and tender loving care. We thank Hillview Health Care for their love and support to our mother, especially the 300 wing.