Betty Thome, age 88, died at her home on Tuesday, February 26, 2019, surrounded by her loving family who were singing “Climb Every Mountain.” She was born on January 9, 1931 in Appleton, the daughter of Helena Frances Junk and Grover Cleveland Wiegand. Up until the end, she was a woman of immense courage, who raised eight children after losing her husband, Earl, to a heart attack in 1972. Betty created a home on Betty Avenue in Neenah where all were welcome—it was a home where friends and family gathered to laugh, play cards and games, watch television, and eat good food.
Before marriage, Betty worked as a secretary at Kimberly Clark, where she bought her first car, a red convertible. To support her family after Earl’s death, Betty began to work for the Neenah School District, first at Armstrong High School and then at Counseling Services, ending her career back at Kimberly Clark, where she supported the foreign operations group. She retired in 1995 and enjoyed travel to visit her children and friends throughout the United States (she especially loved California, Florida, Arizona, and Door County), and memorable trips to British Columbia, Mexico and Italy.
Betty is survived by her eight children, Steve (Patricia) Thome of Cedarburg, George (Diane) Thome of Appleton, Dave (Trude) Thome of Deerfield, IL, Mary (Doug) Marshall of Sun Prairie, Paul (Allison) Thome of Hortonville, Julie (Andy) Carver of Plymouth, Cathy Thome (Barry Farrara) of Aromas, CA, and Patrick (Traci) Thome of Lakewood, IL. She deeply loved her 16 grandchildren: Fred Long, Elizabeth Long, Christian Thome Nolan, Ryan Thome, Elizabeth Marshall Anderson, Mallory Thome Laszewski, Rachel Carver Stichnoth, Ed Thome, Allie Thome, Sam Marshall, Abby Carver, Marisa Thome, Chris Thome, Parker Thome, Jared Thome and Spencer Thome, and three great grandchildren, Livi and Milo Nolan and Albie Stichnoth. Betty was especially proud that all of her children graduated from college and many achieved postgraduate degrees.
Betty is also survived by three sisters-in-law, Mary Jean Beyer & Doris Duwell both of Mt. Calvary, and Joanne Thome of Fond du Lac, and many nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death were her parents; father-in-law & mother-in-law, Dennis and Caroline (Dietzen) Thome; two brothers, Earl & Bill Wiegand; three sisters, Eldine Umhoefer, Helen Steffes, and Rose Weyenberg; sisters-in-law, Alice Wiegand, Jean Wiegand, Marion Cotter, Marcella Thome and Rosemarie Thome; brothers-in-law, Alex Umhoefer, Mark Weyenberg, Bud Steffes, Jack Cotter, Laverne Beyer, Eugene Duwell, Gordon Thome and Dennis Thome.
Betty suffered a stroke in 2012, which took away her ability to speak, but not her sense of humor or beautiful smile. She battled back and created a new life at Brookdale in Appleton. We are grateful for the loving care she received from aides there.
Betty will be remembered for the traditions she created around all holidays (Halloween was celebrated in costume), her ability to answer obscure Jeopardy questions and solve Wheel of Fortune puzzles, her love of reading (the librarian visited on her second to last day to pick up books), swimming at KC Health Center, eating fresh corn on the cob, and her favorite day in Neenah (Cranky Pat’s, Dairy Queen popcorn, and Riverside Park). Betty was a member of St. Mary’s Church in Appleton where she participated in a spiritual group for many years. Her introspection on how to overcome adversity and lead a meaningful life has been a gift to her children and grandchildren.
There will be a celebration of Betty’s life, with visitation on Sunday, March 10, 2019 from 1-4 pm, with a prayer service at 3:30 pm, at Kessler Funeral Home, 304 S. Commercial St., Neenah, and a mass on Monday, March 11, 2019 at 11:00 am, with visitation at 9:30 am, at St. Mary Catholic Church, 312 State Street, Appleton.
Donations would be welcome to support the traveling book program at Appleton Public Library and to St. Mary’s Environmental Committee to support the beautiful church that Betty loved.
To send flowers to Betty's family, please visit our floral section.