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Marilyn Rose DeWitt
Back in the 1960s and ‘70s – the era of Marilyn DeWitt’s mothering of four young children, the car of choice for suburban moms was a bulky station wagon powered by a sluggish six-cylinder motor.
But Marilyn was hardly given to such automotive mediocrity. No stereotypical land-shark, kiddie-hauler for her! She was a life-long convertible girl. Off she would go in her VW Champagne Edition Beetle, top down, scarf snapping in the breeze, freckled face turned to the sun.
Marilyn was neither conventional or sedentary. Her brand of relaxation ranged from roller blading and bicycling, to piano and cello playing, to painting, to sailing with husband Dan, their kids, and friends. The whole family relished the annual trek to downhill ski at the “Porkies” (Porcupine State Park in the UP).
While her children were young, the family explored the Great Plains toward the Rocky Mountains and beyond to roam the scenery of the great American West from Arizona to Washington state. Every summer, Marilyn and “Grandpa Howard” and “Grandma Clara” (her parents) would stock Howard’s pickup truck and camper with an assortment of amusements for distracting the junior DeWitts during the long journey (predictably discarded by the time they left the Wisconsin border).
Marilyn was well-travelled, even hiking the Camino de Santiago in later life with her favorite partner in crime, Rosie. But her favorite place in the world was the family-built cottage on Kangaroo Lake in Door County. There she would spend her days tending to her daisies and geraniums, but was most often found with her feet dangling off the dock, a novel in hand. She would go the whole summer without shoes, preferring the “barefoot life”. When restlessness struck, she donned a sailor's "bucket hat" and took to propelling her wooden rowboat, Tiny Bubbles, across the south end of Kangaroo Lake.
Afterward, Marilyn typically indulged in her preferred evening refreshment: a glass of good wine and a bag of potato chips. When autumn came every year, she transitioned to the sacrosanct habit of settling into a sofa in front of the television every Sunday afternoon to root on her beloved Packers.
Marilyn DeWitt was born May 12, 1939, as the first of two daughters to Clara and Howard Hermsen of Green Bay. In 1957 she graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy and subsequently attended Mount Mary College, in Milwaukee.
Marilyn Hermsen married Daniel DeWitt of Green Bay in 1959, while Dan was finishing his Business
degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After Dan’s graduation, the couple worked side by side in their shared ownership and management of Mednikow’s Grocery on Green Bay's Main Street for 16 years.
She possessed a deft mind, allowing her to pivot to new challenges after the store closed. She even served as an assistant at Malcore funeral home – a position she landed despite getting lost in the basement morgue on the way to the boss’s office for the job interview. From there she went on to the insurance business, where she won numerous awards over the years.
In addition to husband Dan, she is survived by sons Michael and Phillip DeWitt; daughters Colette Kuhfuss and Renee Bisbee; sons-in-law Ron King and Jeff Bisbee; sister Jackie Resick; brother-in-law Jim Resick, nieces (Andrea and Emily Resick), sisters-in-law Susan Davie and Dina Plumb, nine grandchildren (Ashleigh DeWitt, Alyssa (DeWitt) Preloger (John), Abigail DeWitt, Michael DeWitt, Jr., Angelica (DeWitt) Spoliansky (Jordan), Shannon (Kuhfuss) Stewart (Justin), Hunter Kuhfuss, Austin and Rhiannon Bisbee), and three great-granddaughters: Sawyer and Sunny Stewart and Eloise Preloger. She is preceded in death by her parents Howard and Clara Hermsen, son-in-law Timothy Kuhfuss, and daughter-in-law Susan DeWitt.)
A week before her passing on May 16, some of Marilyn’s last words were in response to daughter Colette bringing her a box of Dots candy, her favorite, in the memory care unit where she lived out her final months. By that point, words came infrequently and laboriously to Marilyn. Yet with one glance at the candy box, her still-bright blue eyes radiated, and from her lips the words tumbled effortlessly, “Oh, I LOVE those!” and plopped one in her mouth.
Rest in barefoot peace, beautiful spirit. You will be forever missed.
Private family services will be held. Malcore (East) Funeral Home is assisting the family.
The family wishes to acknowledge the amazing staff and caregivers at Renaissance by Rennes Memory Care. We felt the love and attention you provided to Marilyn/Mom every day. A heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you for the important work you do each day.
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