Mary Jeanette Wissestad, 96, of Sparta, surrounded by her loving family, was called home to the Lord on February 28, 2018. She was born on May 13, 1921 to James and Ida (Pfaff) Allen at the home of her aunt and uncle, Elmer and Myrtle Amborn.
She was born the oldest of 4 children. Their first home was a farm near Cataract, Wisconsin, where her dad worked on shares for a farmer. It was during the Great Depression, jobs and money were very scarce, and soon this farm job was not enough to support two families. So then the family moved to La Crosse, where it was hoped her dad could more easily find work. But that did not happen, so they moved back to Sparta, where Mary lived the rest of her life.
She went to Sparta Area Schools and graduated in June of 1941. During her high school years she would work at Schultz Bros. Dime store to get a few dollars during summer vataction.
On October 15, 1941, Mary married Harold Wissestad in Sparta by Reverend Arthur Berg. They moved to the farm home owned by Harold’s parents, and lived in the upstairs while Harold’s parents lived downstairs. So their married life started on a farm and always with plenty of work. She helped with milking by hand and not a milking machine at that time. In 1942, “Uncle Sam” called on Harold to serve for his country, and he was in the service until 1945. Then Harold and Mary went back to their farm home where they raised their family.
As a family, they enjoyed camping in a tent, and fishing, and having camp fires and cooking over those campfires. They took family trips.
Harold and Mary farmed on the Wissestad farm from 1941 to 1969 when they moved to Bush Prairie. The family farm is still in the Wissestad family and was a “100 year Wissestad Farm” in 2014.
Mary worked at Decomet for a number of years and later as a CNA at the Tomah VA Medical Center.
After retirement, Harold and Mary spent 15 consecutive winters in South Texas and Florida. They also spent many summers fishing walleye in Canada, and traveled in the United States and Mexico.
Mary enjoyed flying and took trips twice to Hawaii and also to Norway, England, France, and Iceland. She enjoyed spending time in Norway visiting relatives of Harold’s Dad.
Mary enjoyed embroidering in her spare time and she had a collection of 1000 salt and pepper shaker sets. She looked forward to baking hundreds of cookies each year for Vacation Bible School at her church. She always enjoyed the children telling her which cookies they liked best and called her the “Cookie Lady.”
She was a member of Calvary Baptist Church for nearly 50 years and enjoyed her Church Family.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, Harold on October 18, 2005. She was also preceded in death by her parents, James and Ida Allen; her daughter, Carolyn Crady; her sisters, Louise Noble and Margaret Foss and their husbands; a brother, James Allen Jr. and his spouse; a grandson, Christopher Fisher; a daughter-in-law, Debra Wissestad; and a son-in-law, Greg Weide. Lastly, Mary is preceded in death by her cherished dachshunds, Gretchen and Heidi.
Mary is survived by her children, Judith Wissestad, Mary Weide, William (Toni) Wissestad, and Barbara (Duane) Fisher. She is also survived by 15 grandchildren; 33 great grandchildren; 1 great great grandchild; and many nieces and nephews and friends.
A funeral service will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at Calvary Baptist Church, Sparta, with Reverend Jeremiah Cochran officiating. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery, Sparta.
Family and friends are invited to call from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Friday at Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta, and at the church on Saturday from 1:30 p.m. until time of services.
The Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta, is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.