VanDen Heuvel, Kathleen "Katie"
Kathleen Frances VanDen Heuvel passed away peacefully on her 71st birthday, Saturday, December 1, 2012, at the Jack and Engrid Unity Hospice Residence after a courageous battle with mesothelioma. The daughter of the late Francis and Delores (Stangel) Ploederl, Kathleen, or Katie, as her family and friends knew her, was born December 1, 1941, in Manitowoc. She moved with her family to Green Bay as a young girl where she attended St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Grade School, and later, St Joseph Academy where she graduated in 1959. Upon graduation, she attended Wisconsin State College Oshkosh, now UW-Oshkosh, and completed her degree in education in 1964. Katie later went on to earn her Master of Science in Reading from UW-Oshkosh.
On July 22, 1964, Katie married her lifelong partner and best friend, Earl VanDen Heuvel at St. Bernard Catholic Church. That year they moved to Omaha, Nebraska where Earl was stationed in the U.S. Air Force and while there, she began her teaching career in the local elementary schools. After a short stint in the United Kingdom where Earl was stationed for the next year, they settled in Green Bay with newborn baby, Earl. Katie would be blessed with two more boys, Robert and Keith. Sadly, a fourth son, Joseph, passed into God's realm shortly after birth.
After spending most of the next decade raising her family, Katie returned to teaching, first as a substitute and later as a full time teacher in the Green Bay Public School System where she taught for over 20 years. Katie was a caring and positive influence on the lives of so many young people over those years as she taught kindergarten at Allouez, Howe and Anne Sullivan Elementary Schools, where she also taught first grade until her retirement in 2004.
In retirement, Katie enjoyed spending time with her family, particularly her seven grandchildren, Francis, Lauren, Katherine, Natalie, Christine, Michael and Michaella "Rory." She loved to have them visit the house for a swim on summer afternoons or, in Minocqua, where she would insist on treating everyone to breakfast at Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty, or, at The Villages in Florida, where she spent the colder months with Earl. Katie always enjoyed spending holiday and vacation time with her sister, Mary Ellen, and brothers, Terry and Bobby, and their families. Over the years Katie also kept busy with her many girlfriends, playing cards, golfing, reading and celebrating birthdays. She was also very involved in the Love Life Ministry and at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church where she spent many hours helping those in need. She will always be remembered for her wonderful sense of humor and the laughter and smile that went with it, her love and appreciation of nature, and her affection for collies, which she shared her home with for the last 35 years.
She is survived by her husband, Earl; her sons and daughters-in-law, Earl and Patti, and their children, Francis and Katherine; Robert and Lesly, and their children, Michael and Michaella; Keith and Kristin, and their children, Lauren, Natalie and Christine; her brothers, Terrance Ploederl, Robert (JoAnn) Ploederl; her sister, Mary Ellen (Jim) Wadzinski; many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Proko-Wall Funeral Home, 1630 E. Mason St. There will be a parish wake service at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Friends may also call from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, 312 Victoria St. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the church with Rev. Larry Canavera officiating. Burial will be in Allouez Catholic Cemetery. To send online-condolences, visit www.prokowall.com
The family expresses their gratitude to the caring staffs at St. Vincent Hospital and Unity Hospice who were exceptional in their service and compassion, as well as to Sister Helen Keyzer who was a constant spiritual and physical presence during the past two weeks.