Darlene Zeise

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Zeise, Darlene L.

Darlene Lois Zeise was born to eternal life in Christ on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in Fort Atkinson, Wis., surrounded by her children. She was born in Green Bay, on Nov. 1, 1930, the daughter of Henry and Adeline (Liebmann) Van Ess. She graduated from Green Bay East High School in 1948, and married her beloved "Dixie," Richard Zeise, on Aug. 4, 1951.

In her younger years, Darlene enjoyed singing in the Green Bay Girl Choir and dancing at the Riverside Ballroom and Bay Beach. She first worked as a carhop at Dehn's on Three Corners, and later became a trained practical nurse, working in obstetrics at both Bellin and St. Mary's Hospitals in Green Bay. After moving to Madison, she served as a nursing assistant at Mendota Mental Health Institute. Alongside her husband, she helped operate Dick's Appliance Repair in Madison and Whitewater for many years. Many will remember her as "Hot Rod"—the Fairhaven van driver in Whitewater—a job she enjoyed for over 25 years. After her retirement in 2001, she volunteered at Fairhaven, logging over 3,000 hours of service in various roles, including the mini-mart, driving and "Dining with Darlene."

At the time of her passing, Darlene served as facilitator of the Alzheimer's Support Group at Hearthstone, coordinator of the Whitewater Meals on Wheels program, and tireless poll worker. She proudly never missed an election, including the presidential election in November. Darlene previously served as president of the Fairhaven Auxiliary Board, member of the City of Whitewater Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, among many other civic and volunteer interests.

Darlene loved her hometown Green Bay Packers, collecting cardinals, and sending greeting cards to friends and family. Many will cherish the annual Fourth of July parties she hosted along the parade route in Whitewater. While she lived there for 40 years, Green Bay was always her home. A visit was not complete without a burger with "everything on" and a bowl of chili from Kroll's.

Along with a strong will and a kind heart, Darlene possessed an unshakable faith in God. If anyone needed prayer, she was faithful to intercede. She was generous with her time, talents and resources, and always put others' needs before her own. Her warmth and kindness drew a wide circle of friends. She withstood life's challenges with resiliency and grace, and was a selfless and compassionate mother, grandmother, sister, neighbor and friend to all.

Darlene is survived by five children, Cheri (Dennis) Schmidt, Madison; Cathy (Denny) Steele, Milton; Curt (Janet) Zeise, Beaver Dam; Craig Zeise, and Beth (Mike) Mader, Green Bay; 14 grandchildren, Heather, Andrew (Lisa), Nicholas (Sarah), and Michael Schmidt, Courtney, Hayley, Jarrod and Krista Steele, Carissa (Donald) Pottner, Zachary and Vanessa Zeise, Brooke, Lauren and Luke Mader; and five great-grandchildren, Corey Quaschnik, Jesse, Kai and Carson Steele, and Lily Schmidt. She is further survived by two brothers, Carmon (Mary) Van Ess and Larry (Jane) Van Ess, both of Green Bay; a sister-in-law, Grace (Reginald) Bayard, Green Bay, and brothers-in-law, Roger Zeise, Scottsdale, Ariz.; and James (Beatrice) Zeise, Harshaw, Wis.; as well as countless other family members and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; her in-laws, Clarence and Gertrude (Van Beek) Zeise; a brother, Vernon Van Ess; sisters and brothers-in-law, Estelle (Leo) Zeutzius, Betty (Kenneth) Wendlendt, Mary (Ray) Burkard, Robert (Carol) Zeise, Donald (Joan) Zeise, Clarence Zeise Jr., Raymond Zeise and Thomas Zeise; dear friend, Marion Frey; and a very special "grand dog," Molly, who was her faithful companion for the past 12 years.

Special thanks to the Good Samaritans who came to her aid and to the Whitewater Police, Fire & Rescue, and the ER and ICU staffs at Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital for their compassionate care.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, at CrossPointe Community Church in Whitewater, with Rev. Donald Stein officiating followed by a visitation and celebration of her life from 3 to7 p.m. A visitation will take place at Blaney Funeral Home in Green Bay, on Friday, Dec. 7, from 3 to 7 p.m., with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. Interment at Fort Howard Mausoleum in Green Bay.

In lieu of flowers, a donation to a is appreciated.

Thank you, Mom, for your servant's heart and unconditional love. We are forever indebted to you and can only hope to live up to the example you set. You are irreplaceable and will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved you.

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Blaney Funeral Home
1521 Shawano Ave.
Green Bay, WI 54303
920-494-7447
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Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette on Dec. 5, 2012
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