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Peggy Lautenschlager

1955 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Peggy Lautenschlager Obituary
Peggy Lautenschlager

Fond du Lac - Peggy Ann ("Peg") Lautenschlager, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, died on March 31, 2018, after a battle with cancer that began almost 14 years earlier. The daughter of Fond du Lac public school teachers, Peg served as a district attorney, a state legislator, a United States Attorney, Wisconsin Attorney General, and the first Chair of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. She had an impact on countless people, and it meant the world to her.

Peg was born on November 22, 1955, in Fond du Lac. She was the valedictorian of her class at Goodrich High School; a Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude graduate of Lake Forest College, where she majored in history and mathematics; and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Peg was appointed District Attorney of Winnebago County in 1985 and was elected to that position the following year. In 1988, she was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, defeating a 32-year incumbent. Peg is the only Democrat to have been elected to represent the Fond du Lac area in the State Assembly in the last 75 years. She was re-elected in 1990.

In 1993, Peg was appointed by President Clinton to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin. During her tenure, she served on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee under U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. Peg was the first Wisconsinite ever to serve on the committee.

In 2002, Peg was elected to serve as Wisconsin's 42nd Attorney General—the first woman elected to that position. As AG, Peg created a Public Integrity Unit, was a leader on environmental issues, and sued 36 pharmaceutical companies for reporting inflated drug prices. She prosecuted a man who was convicted of murdering six hunters and attempting to murder two others in northwest Wisconsin. She also issued an opinion concluding that Wisconsin law prohibits the exclusion of prescription contraceptives from benefit plans that provide prescription drug coverage.

After serving as Attorney General, Peg continued to advocate for causes that were important to her. She worked with the Service Employees International Union, fought for public access to the Wisconsin State Capitol during the protests of Act 10, and did pro bono legal work for young people in Fond du Lac. She also volunteered at Blandine House, a substance-abuse treatment center, where she was known for her home-cooked meals.

Peg is survived by her mother, Pat Lautenschlager; her husband, Bill Rippl; her five children and step-children, Jason Rippl (Marnie Spielbauer), Josh Kaul (Lindsey Powell), Justin Rippl (Alicia), Ryan Kaul (Kelly Bridgeman), and Rebecca Johnson (Brandon); and five grandchildren and step-grandchildren, Elias Johnson, Simon Kaul, Emma Johnson, Henry Kaul, and Will Rippl. She was deeply proud of her children and step-children, and she delighted in playing an active role in her grandchildren's lives.

Peg was fiercely independent, a gifted orator, funny, and down-to-earth. She was a mentor and friend to numerous people who wanted to serve their communities.

In 2006, the Fond du Lac Reporter wrote that a "woman with the kind of tenacity and courage Peg Lautenschlager has shown in her fight with breast cancer, a woman who picks up the pieces and battles on, doesn't walk away." She never did.

A memorial service for Peg will be held in the Fond du Lac area, although details have not yet been finalized. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Blandine House, Inc., the ARC of Fond du Lac, Inc., or United For Diversity.

Kurki-Mach Funeral Chapel & Crematory is serving the family, 920-921-4420
Published in Fond du Lac Reporter on Apr. 2, 2018
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