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Mary Ellen Fleming
1935 - 2021
Gunderson Funeral Home - Madison
5203 Monona Drive
Madison, WI

Fleming, Mary Ellen

MADISON - Mary Ellen Fleming, 86, of Madison, passed away Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, at home in her cherished neighborhood of 60 years.

She was born in Madison, on Aug. 28, 1935, to Jerome Walker and Eleanor (Bowles) Walker, and grew up in a cozy, cottage-style home on Chandler Street in the heart of Madison's storied Greenbush neighborhood.

Mary Ellen graduated from West High School in 1953, and married Robert H. Fleming on June 26, 1954, at the Church of St. James, just a few blocks from her childhood home. She worked as a dental assistant, and as the family grew to three children, Mary Ellen and Bob bought a home in 1961 on Groveland Terrace, at that time on the far edge of Madison's East Side in the town of Blooming Grove. There she lived until her last day, as the city and her family expanded around her.

For many of those years, Mary Ellen welcomed all into her home with an open mind and fresh hot coffee, which she could enjoy day or night. She thrived on the energy of her three children and their friends. Her home became a magnet for impromptu get-togethers in the neighborhood just south of La Follette High School, a collection of close-knit group of families with kids growing up together. Mary Ellen especially cherished coffees and chats with her next-door neighbors, Terri Cavan and Judy Sandell.

Later, as the children made their own way in Madison and abroad, Bob and Mary Ellen built a second home on the shore of Fisher Lake in northern Wisconsin, outside Mercer. Through the late 1980s, the project was a labor of love with family and friends. The home became a treasured retreat for all.

Before and after that, Mary Ellen traveled widely, following her daughter, Cathy, to Italy, Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe. In later years, Mary Ellen visited the Bahamas and Hawaii during cold Wisconsin winters and enjoyed the hubbub of New York City and Broadway shows in a visit with daughters, Lisa and Cathy. Time passed, Mary Ellen's children had children, and her later years were full of noise and love and pride as five grandchildren grew to adulthood.

Then, a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder diminished Mary Ellen's health and mobility. Through this time, she found comfort in Marley, a cat given to her by granddaughter, Laura. This constant companionship brought joy and consolation all the way through Mary Ellen's final hours. Mary Ellen's life here ended early the morning of Nov. 1, a day when many cultures celebrate life by remembering those who've died. And we will.

Mary Ellen was preceded in death by her parents; and her sister, Judy Horne. She is survived by her former husband, Robert Fleming; sister, Patty Walker; children, Daniel Fleming (Karla Carrillo), Lisa Larson (Jim Sutton) and Cathleen Fleming (Tim Kelley); grandchildren, Laura Larson, Matthew Larson, Jacob Fleming, Nicole Fleming and Maxwell Kelley; four great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; plus many in-laws and friends.

Special thanks to Mary Ellen's caretaker, Mirna Gonzalez, and Agrace HospiceCare nurses who assisted in Mary Ellen's care in her final weeks of life.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5101 Schofield St., Monona, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. A lunch will follow at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison. Visitation will be held at the church from 9 a.m. until the start of the Mass. Burial will be at a later date with immediate family.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East

Funeral & Cremation Care

5203 Monona Drive

(608) 221-5420

Published by on Nov. 7, 2021.
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9:00a.m. - 11:00a.m.
5101 Schofield St., Monona, WI
Mass of Christian Burial
5101 Schofield St., Monona, WI
Funeral services provided by:
Gunderson Funeral Home - Madison
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2 Entries
George, my husband, wishes to offer his condolences with me to our aunt Terri Cavan... We only knew that Terri and Mary Ellen were great friends. She was one of the people who helped aunt Terri when uncle Dan passed away...
George and Tama (DePrey) Frazier
November 15, 2021
Dan Fleming: Condolences on the passing of your mother, Dan. It is said that the true measure of a person´s life is the quality of children they raise into adulthood. In knowing you, Dan; it´s very apparent to me that your mother´s life was truly successful. You are in my thoughts and prayers, old friend. Best, Dave Dahlin Mpls, MN
David Dahlin
November 13, 2021
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