Peggy Lautenschlager

Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin

1955 - 2018 (Age 62)


Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin


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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

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Peg was truly a remarkable woman. I knew her for almost 40 years and she left me with many fine memories. Peg took over my spot in our law firm in Oshkosh after I was appointed Family Court Commissioner. It wasn't too long after that that she was appointed DA for Winnebago County by Tony Earl. We had some good times in those days, like the time we almost burned her house down trying to make blackened fish. Then there were the many good times after our offices closed on Fridays and we got...

Bill and Family, I was so sorry to hear of Peg's passing. She was such a fighter that it seemed impossible, despite her own warnings, that she might ever actually lose the battle. She was a light in my life, as she was in so many, and thousands more who never even knew she was fighting for them. She never lifted a finger to test the political wind, but followed that magnificent internal compass toward good government, women's reproductive rights, civil rights, protection of the environment,...

I really wanted to attend Sunday's service, but the extreme weather prevented it. She and I were friends and colleagues during the 80's and early 90's.
She was easy to like :)
Sincerely condolences to her family and friends

Bill and family,
My thoughts and prayers are with you. Peg's lively spirit, energy and impact will be missed by many. I have very fond memories of our time working and having fun together in Oshkosh and Madison. She had a great impact on my life and was always a good friend. She will be greatly missed.

After Peg was no longer our attorney general she continued to serve as Wisconsin's private attorney general as persons from around the state would call to ask for her help. Peg would field these calls, and when appropriate call on other attorneys to help her. I was always honored to be associated with Peg.

Our last communication was on Feb 25, 2018 when I texted her a picture of attorney general candidate Josh Kaul speaking to a standing room only crowd from his perch on a...

Peggy was an outstanding individual. Her Mother Patsy was my Math Advisor as I taught at Woolworth Jr. High. I had her grandsons for my students and have witnessed what their accomplishments have taken place. The combo of Lautenschlager and Rippl guided their daughter and sons to be a productive family! Their Grandparents, Fritz and Patsy were always pleased to travel to a variety of places during the summer sessions. My conversation with Bill yesterday, made me want to be present for the...

Our deepest condolences to you Bill and your family. Peg was a true leader and a wonderful person. Sincerely.

Bill & Family: We are so sorry to hear that Peg passed away. She's in a far better place free of pain. We will be unable to attend the funeral as we are in Arizona. Deepest sympathy, Ed and Deb Danoski. Kaukauna, WI