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Ellen Kort

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Ellen Kort Obituary
Ellen R. Kort

Sunrise March 26, 1936

Sunset April 21, 2015

The final verse to the living poem we all knew as Ellen Kort. was written when she passed on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, at the age of 79. Ellen was an author, poet, teacher, speaker, and workshop facilitator. Accomplishments closest to her heart were being a mother and grandmother. Ellen was born in Glenwood City, WI on March 26, 1936. Daughter of the late Ivan and Waunetta (Smith) Tangen and grew up in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

She was appointed by the Governor as Wisconsin's first Poet Laureate from 2000-2004. Ellen was the author of numerous books, including The Fox Heritage: A History of Wisconsin Fox Cities and The Art of Labor: Building the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. She was also author of many books of poetry. The book Wisconsin Quilts: Stories in the Stitches, was named an Outstanding Book of Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Library Association. Ellen was featured in a wide variety of anthologies, and her writing has won several awards, including the Pablo Neruda Literary Prize for Poetry, the Mel Ellis/Dion Henderson Outdoor Writing Award, the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Poetry Award, Thomas G. Scullen Leadership Award, and the 2001 Dr. Hanns Kretzschmar "Excellence In The Arts" Award. She was honored to be a part of Appleton's Compassion Project. Her poetry had been performed by the New York City Dance Theater, was nominated for a Grammy Award, and is included in the Hospice Poetry Recording Project of Seattle. Ellen spoke on Wisconsin and National Public Radio and traveled with her poetry throughout the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, the Bahamas, and Japan. She taught at the Renaissance Fine Arts Charter School in Appleton, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, the Oklahoma Art Institute, Rhinelander School of the Arts, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point's Arts World, and University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh Writing Project for teachers.

Ellen gave to her community in a variety of ways and because she was passionate in her belief that poetry is for everyone, traveled Wisconsin presenting poetry workshops in schools, for at-risk teens, parents grieving the death of a child, families touched by cancer and AIDS, domestic abuse survivors, and women in prison. She carried a bucket of glow-in-the-dark chalk in her car so she could write poems on city sidewalks!

Ellen left behind her family, rich with love and a spiritual and artistic legacy that touched many: Denise (Russ) Krueger and children: Corey Krueger (Craig Hetherington), Mallory Krueger (Chris Moreau and son Drew), Cindy Kort, Louis Kort (Ellen Marshall), Kerry (Charles) Williamsen and son Dylan Williamsen, and Jayme (Dave) Bleick-Baehnman and children , Trevor Bleick (Katharine Steinberg), Kimberly Baehnman (Blair Koeppl), and Kassandra Baehnman; siblings: Della Mae Alleman and family: Mary Hoffmann and family and Erick (Susan) Tangen and family; her god-daughters Kim Doud and Hope Chrzan.

Ellen was preceded in death by her parents Ivan and Waunetta, her beloved son Kris P. Kort, and a brother-in-law Harry Alleman.

A celebration of Ellen's life and her many gifts will be held at 10:00 A.M. Saturday May 2, 2015 at Lawrence University Chapel downtown Appleton. An outdoor gathering will follow until 3:00 P.M. at Lawrence. Please feel free to bring a favorite memory to share.

Ellen's family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude for the outstanding care and compassion to both Ellen and her family through the last couple months of her life. These exemplary caregivers include, Doctors and staff at AMC, Brewster Village and Theda Care Hospice.

Memories may be shared by visiting

In lieu of flowers a memorial will be established in Ellen's honor

"My life is richer because you and I have shared the path. Thank you for all you've given me. May we all find a way to walk the road of peace." Love Ellen


Published in Appleton Post-Crescent from Apr. 22 to Apr. 26, 2015
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