MADISON—Doreen Stewart, age 95, passed away peacefully, July 19, 2018, at St Mary’s Care Center near Verona. She was born May 21, 1923, to Ralph and Edith Short on their farm near Neillsville, Wis. She attended the one-room, Shortville School through 8th grade, then graduated from Neillsville High School in 1941. She attended Central State Teachers College, now UW-Stevens Point, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in 1945, to teach high school science and home economics. She was hired to teach in Verona where she boarded at the home of Frank and Edna Stewart. On Labor Day 1945, she peeked out the window to get a glimpse of Don Stewart, home on leave from the U.S. Navy. After walking into the kitchen and seeing Doreen, Don said he never thought of another girl, and Doreen confided that she especially liked the young whistler, Don, where she lived. On an icy Dec. 28, 1946, they were married, thus began their nearly 69 years of marriage living in Verona, then Madison; Don passed away in September 2015.
Doreen taught science and home economics at Verona High, before starting a family in 1951, then later returned to substitute teaching. Her enthusiastic and social spirit served her well as a tireless volunteer in the community, leaving a lasting impact to this day. In 1950, she asked the Verona School Board to start the first kindergarten, and they did. Her love for entertainment led her to help brainstorm “stunt night.” a Mother’s Club (PTA) fundraiser in 1957. Stunt night was a great success and evolved into Verona Varieties in 1963, where Doreen planned shows, created costumes and performed on stage for many productions. Doreen embraced new cultures and built lasting friendships, during her 15 years of service to the AFS program, where she welcomed foreign exchange students to Verona, sent local students abroad, and raised funds through pizza sales and tasting teas. She helped organize the first Verona Senior Citizen gatherings and volunteered at the Verona Public Library for more than two decades, where she enjoyed cataloguing books and weekly camaraderie.
Doreen’s creative side was in the kitchen, the food always delicious and plentiful. Some college classmates recalled the aromas of roasted meats and vegetables that drifted from Doreen’s room at dinner time, while they prepared mac-n-cheese. Her artistry in the kitchen continued throughout her life. She was very organized and could entertain large group of friends or strangers at moment’s notice, and would prepare cookies and sandwiches for her children and grandson’s when they headed back to college or off on a road trip, even as adults. She made holidays and birthdays especially memorable.
Doreen and Don logged many miles sightseeing across the US and Europe, and dancing and dining at Supper Clubs across the Midwest; details were recorded in Doreen’s journals or fondly recalled on road trips years later. They especially loved trips to St. George Island, Fla., where new friendships began, or north to see grandsons and view spring and fall splendor. When not traveling, Doreen loved going to travel series, Verona Community Theater, Verona Historical Society, and Cheerful Charlie camp outs, playing bridge, and most of all, hosting potluck picnics at the lake to celebrate summer holidays with friends. Doreen’s grandsons aptly named her, the “Go Girl!”
Doreen left a lasting impression where ever she went. Friends remember her as enthusiastic, organized, creative, kind, modest, understanding, helpful and very interested in others. Doreen loved people and it was common for her to know someone’s life story within minutes of meeting. She made others feel comfortable in any setting and opened her home to everyone, old friends and new, locals and world travelers. She had a positive attitude, sharp mind and great memory, never forgetting a birthday; she also enjoyed keeping up with friends on social media. She was very appreciative of her family and proud to share stories from their lives with others. She will be greatly missed, but remembered by all.
Doreen is survived by son, Jeff Stewart (Karen) of Port Edwards; daughter, Jana Stewart (Jeff Prey) of Madison; and grandsons, Nathan, Ian (Cami) and Will Stewart. She was preceded in death by her husband, Don; daughter, Jovey; and her parents.
A celebration of life, open house will be held on Saturday, August 25, 2018, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the Stewart’s home in Madison. Memorial contributions may be made to the Verona Area Community Theater or the Verona Public Library.
The family wishes to thank Doreen’s friends and the staff of Associated Physicians, St. Mary’s Care Center, SSM Hospice, Meriter Hospital, and UW Hospital for their help and support.
To view and sign this guest book, please visit www.ryanfuneralservice.com.