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Mary Helen (Caldwell) Sharpee passed away peacefully October 19, 2023. Mary was born November 1, 1935 to J. Gordon and Valbor (Webster) Caldwell in Madison, Wisconsin.
Mary was united in marriage to Louis “Louie” Sharpee on March 19, 1955. Mary and Louie set out to raise animals, crops, and four children together on their family farm north of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Farm life was Mary’s passion, and after Louie’s passing in 2001, she continued to help her two sons with their farming businesses. Mary and Louie enjoyed many memories of traveling over the years with their children. Mary always looked forward to returning to her home on the farm, though, where she lived independently until the age of 80.
During her years on the farm, Mary prepared thousands of lunches for semi drivers and other farm help - or whoever else happened to be around at noon on any given day. If you did not clean your plate, Mary would surely ask, “Didn’t you like it?” This also rang true for dinners she served after long days in the tobacco fields. In addition to raising her own four children, Mary fed and diapered scores of neighborhood children as she was the much beloved rural neighborhood childcare provider. As well as with her own grandchildren, countless other children over the years had a special bond with “Grandma Mary.”
Mary also loved serving her community with her work at Spring Prairie Lutheran Church in rural DeForest, Wisconsin. There, Mary served as Ladies Aid President, Sunday School Superintendent, and coordinator for funeral lunches. Being known for her skills in the kitchen, especially when it came to baking sweets, people loved indulging in Mary’s contributions to any church potluck or bake sale.
Those of us who knew Mary will also remember her as a 4-H leader; a square dancer; a Farkle and dominoes player; a lead foot driver of Chevrolet vehicles; a mender and sewer; an unapologetic farm cat feeder; a prolific birthday card sender; a farm taxi driver (at times ambulance driver); a postcard collector; a lawn mower; and a laundry expert.
In addition to her loving husband, Louie, Mary was preceded in death by her father; her mother; her stepmother, Valborg (Christopher) Caldwell; her brother, John Caldwell; and her sister, Margaret Severson Miller. Mary is survived by her four children, Ronald (Debra) Sharpee, Susan Sharpee, Michael (Vicki) Sharpee, and Kathryn (Dennis) Kindschy; six grandchildren, Heather Guenther, Lindsey Guenther (Henri Voubou), Jonathan (Britt) Guenther, Abigail (Alex) Albrecht, Joshua (Lacey) Steckel, and Chelsea Bell (Nate Privett); seven great-grandchildren, Gracin, Simon, Annika, Wheldon, Annabelle, Eleanor, and Jaycee; her sister, Janet Taft; and nieces, nephews, other family, and friends.
Memorial services will be held Friday, October 27 at 11 AM at Spring Prairie Lutheran Church in Keyeser with Rev. Rick Bursh officiating. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. Visitation will be held Thursday, October 26 from 4 to 6 PM at Spring Prairie Lutheran Church and again from 9 AM until the time of service Friday. If you wish to make a memorial, please consider donating to Spring Prairie Lutheran Church or to a charity supporting dementia and Alzheimer's research. Mary’s family would like to thank the staff of Home Again Memory Care in Columbus, Wisconsin, and St. Croix Hospice for their tender care of Mary in her final years.