Obituary: Diana Kay Montalto, 67

Diana Kay Montalto, age 67 of Whitewater Wisconsin, passed away peacefully, November 21st, 2021 with her loved ones by her side. Diana was born June 15, 1954 in Madison, WI to Harold Keith Chisman and Delaine June Chisman. She graduated from Madison West High School in 1972 and later married Joseph Montalto the 3rd, raising 4 children, 1 foster daughter, and becoming grandparents to 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

Diana spent her life caring for others. She opened her home for 30+ years to the foster care community, caring for children and adults with disabilities. Not only did she spend her life creating a loving home for her family and fostercare, her door remained open for anyone who needed a place to go. She was a second mom to many.

Diana loved the simple things in life, like boxed wine, watching the TV show Friends, and having that first sip of coffee in the morning. If you found drips of coffee on the carpet, you knew it was from Diana. She enjoyed listening to music as loud as it could go. Whenever she had access to an Alexa or Echo, the music could be heard from up the street. She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, being present in the moment and watching them dance the day away. She loved getaways with her sisters, where they would reminisce, shop, and laugh until their faces hurt. She always described it as beautiful.

Diana was a warm-hearted, kind, and selfless person. She touched the lives of everyone who was fortunate enough to know her. Her positive and warm presence would fill every room she entered. Diana had a strong faith in Jesus, and she lived out her faith for all to witness. 

Diana is survived by her husband Joseph (Salvatore) Montalto the 3rd, her children Jamie (Mike) Melik, Christina (David) LaHann, Joseph Montalto the 4th, Cailee Montalto, her grandchildren Alexis (Randy) Andrews, Tess Montalto, Kadie Zimmerman, Cailynn Montalto, Kenidy Montalto, Addison LaHann, Hailey LaHann, great grandchildren Griffin Melik-Andrews, Cambria Andrews, and her sisters Susan (Philip Montalto) Chisman and Paula (Tom) Elver, Uncle Donald (Erva) Chisman, Uncle Gary (Suzanne) Repsumer, many special cousins, nieces and nephews.

She is reunited in Heaven with her parents, brother Tom “Tommy” Chisman, and foster daughter Anna Leija.

The family would like to thank Agrace Hospice for their kind and compassionate care of Diana during her final weeks of life. A special thank you to her daughter Jamie Melik for her in-home care and unwavering support and to family, friends, and neighbors for their calls, cards and visits.

Diana’s final wishes were that family and friends would gather together in celebration. In lieu of a funeral service, a celebration of life is being planned for a later date.

Obituary: James McBride Stewart, 85

James McBride Stewart, 85, passed away peacefully with family by his side on November 26, 2021 at AngelsGrace Hospice Care. Jim was an exceptional husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather who was a continuous resident of Whitewater, WI, since 1972. Jim is survived by his wife of 62 years, Claire (Hunold), son Scott Stewart, Fort Atkinson, WI (s. John 23),  daughter Brenda Zellmer, Waukesha, WI (sp. Gary Zellmer, d. Abigail 30, s. James 26), son Greg Stewart, Whitewater, WI, son Michael Stewart, Big Bend, WI (sp. Heidi Stewart, s. Christian 25, s. Alex Zalewski 25, d. Sarah 23, d. Elizabeth 21, s. Connor 19, d. Lauren Doedens 18, d. Anna 17, s. Nick Doedens 16, s. Liam 15), daughter Adele (Tricia) Rohrs, Janesville, WI  (sp. Brian Rohrs, d. Angelica 25 s. Garret 22).  Jim also has two great grandchildren from granddaughter Abigail; Jack 4 and Wesley 2.

Born on March 20, 1936 in Kilmarnock, Scotland (UK) to William and Agnes Stewart (Manson), much of Jim’s childhood was influenced by the defense of the United Kingdom throughout the entirety of World War II.  Following World War II, Jim, his sister Betty (Wipperfurth), and parents emigrated to the United States in 1950, where they settled in Madison, WI. Jim attended St. Raphael’s grade school and Edgewood High School (Class of 1955), where he met and later married his wife Claire (Hunold). After graduating with a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1959, Jim was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. That same year, Jim and Claire married, and then immediately proceeded to prepare for their three-year assignment to Jim’s first permanent duty station in La Rochelle, France.  For the next 20 years, Jim would go on to lead a distinguished military career, both at home and abroad. During this time, he would serve two unaccompanied tours in Vietnam where he earned a Bronze Star Medal with Valor. He also served an unaccompanied yearlong tour in South Korea, as well as numerous tours throughout the U.S. with his family. Between 1974-1979 Jim was assigned to the Military Science (ROTC) Program at UW-Whitewater (UWW), where he obtained a M.A. degree (1975) and a M.S. degree (1978). Jim retired from active-duty military service in 1979, having achieved the field grade rank of Lt. Col., US Army (Regular).

Beginning in 1980, Jim became an Assistant Registrar at UWW, where he continued working until retiring as Registrar in 2001. During this same time, in 1982 Jim was elected to represent the Wisconsin State Assembly 32nd District, where his biennial committee assignments included serving on the Children and Human Development; Higher and Vocational Education; and Labor committees. As a State Representative, Jim was most proud of his efforts in passing the Wisconsin Marital Property Act of 1984, which helped to usher in the nation’s first major overhaul of women’s property rights at that time. 

Having learned, and fully embraced, the meaning of “selfless service” in the military, Jim was always on the lookout for how he could help others. While Jim had literally been around the world, twice, he called Whitewater his home.  This was never more evident than in 1981 when he decided to run for, and eventually become elected to, the Whitewater School Board, later served as Board President, and continued serving as a member of the School Board until his passing.  Jim would also go on to be elected to serve on the City of Whitewater Common Council, and appointed to serve on the City of Whitewater Police and Fire Commission. Years of local service helped Jim to recognize the need for the community to have a dedicated local news source.  As a result, Jim established the WhitewaterBanner.com, which continues to be a lasting legacy of the great pride that he had for the entire Whitewater community.

Jim regularly expressed his gratitude for the support that he had received from so many people throughout the community over the past 49 years.   This was reflected in the great care that Jim took in meeting the needs of others, which extended both near and far, and always centered around strengthening his relationships with family and friends.  Jim especially enjoyed mentoring the next generation of local government and educational leaders, and showing his community pride by supporting both the UWW Warhawks and the Whitewater High School Whippets.

Claire and the entire family would like to give a special heartfelt thanks to the entire staff of ProHealth AngelsGrace Hospice, located in Oconomowoc, WI, for the wonderful care that Jim received. 

A public visitation will be held between 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Friday, December 3, 2021 at Nitardy Funeral Home, located at 550 N Newcomb St, Whitewater, WI 53190.  Funeral services and mass will be held on Saturday, December 4, 2021 at St Patrick Catholic Church, 1225 W. Main St., Whitewater, WI 53190 with a brief visitation starting at 10:00 a.m., followed by mass at 11:00 a.m. Full Military Honors will take place immediately following the service.

In lieu of flowers, Jim has requested that those interested, consider making a memorial donation to further support the Jim Stewart Memorial Scholarship Fund being administered by the First Citizens State Bank of Whitewater.

Online condolences may be made at www.nitardyfuneralhome.com

Nitardy Funeral Home, Whitewater is assisting the family.

Obituary: Geran “Jerry” Laxton, 64

Geran “Jerry” Laxton, 64, passed away November 14th 2021. He was born February 9th 1957 in Bluefield, West Virginia to John and Wilda (Shrewsbury) Laxton.

He loved to hunt and fish and was very patriotic as he was a Vietnam Veteran.

He is survived by his wife Halina, Step-mother Stella (Young) Laxton, Half-Brother John Laxton, Son Jeremy Laxton Wichita, KS, Daughters Lori (Laxton) Taylor Palm Bay, Florida, Jennifer Laxton Wichita, KS, Step-Daughters Shelly (Greg) Schissel Waukesha, WI and Amie Griffin Waukesha. Grandchildren Jasmine Taylor, Alyssa Taylor, Gabriella Taylor and Kyle Foxworthy. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father and brother Phillip Laxton.

No service is planned at this time. At a later date, family and friends will gather to celebrate Jerry’s life with Military Honors at Union Grove Cemetery.

Obituary: Shirley McQuade, 92

Shirley McQuade, 92 of Whitewater, passed away on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021. She was born on December 26, 1928 to Roland and Maude (Lezotte) Hartel in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. She graduated from Fort Atkinson High School in 1946 and married Maurice McQuade on November 4, 1950. They made a home and raised three daughters in Whitewater. She worked as a receptionist at Fairhaven for fifteen years. In 1988 she retired to enjoy her grandchildren and to travel.

She is survived by three daughters, Colleen (Jack) Rades, Ann (John) Kaufelt, and Pat Winner, five grandchildren, Genevieve (Scott Fitzsimmon) Rades, Jake (Kira) Rades, Jillian (Seth) Robinson, Danielle (Mike) Wisneski, and Cassandra Winner, and three great grandchildren Adeline and Theodore Robinson and Alexandra Rades. She is also survived by one sister-in-law, Mary (Dick) Thayer and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sisters Arvella (Jerry) Humbach and Adeline (Ed) Garthwait. Her husband Maurice died April 18, 2005.

Her final days were spent at Rainbow Hospice in Johnson Creek where, in her words, they treated her like a queen. She had time to enjoy flowers and cards and share stories with friends and family. She continued to charm those around her up to the end. We will all miss her great sense of humor, beautiful smile, warm heart and comforting hugs.

Special thanks go to those at Fairhaven who assisted in her transition from Fairhaven to Rainbow Hospice, all the staff at Rainbow Hospice for their end-of-life care and support, and her massage therapist who was critical in maintaining her quality of life in her final years. Shirley requested that those who wish to celebrate her life feel free to do so at a time and in a manner and place that is convenient and meaningful for them.

Nitardy Funeral Home in Whitewater is assisting the family. A funeral mass in her honor will be celebrated on Friday, December 3rd at noon at St Patrick Catholic Church, 1225 W Main, Whitewater. Visitation will be at the church the hour prior to the service. Due to COVID concerns, the family requests that masks be worn. The service will be streamed live and archived on the Nitardy Funeral Home site. Luncheon will follow at Jessica’s Family Restaurant, 140 W Main, Whitewater.

In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in Shirley’s name to Rainbow Hospice.

Online condolences can be made at www.nitardyfuneralhome.com

Obituary: Robert L. Sauer, 84

Robert L. Sauer, age 84, of Janesville, WI passed away peacefully on November 17, 2021 at Agrace Hospice, Janesville. Robert was born on March 9, 1937, the son of Louis Saueressig and Helen Pociopa in Milwaukee, WI. In 1955 he graduated from Washington High School in Milwaukee. Washington High School days were a highlight for Robert as he was challenged academically, did well, and was encouraged by his teachers to further his education.

To pay for further schooling, he worked at Allen Bradley Corporation as he pursued his undergraduate degree, and then received his B.S. in Psychology and Sociology in 1962. To help fund further studies, he worked as a driver for the Milwaukee Journal delivering newspapers to nearby cities. He then decided to go on to Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison completing his M.S. Degree in Industrial Relations in 1964.

The following year he began teaching Business Management courses at UW-Whitewater. He returned to UW-Madison to work on his doctorate, graduating with a Ph. D in Management and Industrial Relations in 1969.

His teaching career at UW-Whitewater would continue for 33 years until his retirement in May, 1998. However, during this time, he managed to combine his love of teaching with his love of travel.

From 1973-1976 while taking a leave of absence from Whitewater, he worked with the University of Maryland on military bases in Germany, Turkey, Italy, England and the Netherlands. Robert loved working with both graduate and undergraduate students in the military and in the 1980’s returned to Europe to teach for Troy University, Troy Alabama.

Robert was the co-author of a textbook: Labor Relations — Structure and Process with long-time friend and colleague, Keith Voelker, UW-Oshkosh in 1987. Together, they completed a second edition of the book in 1993.

Robert married Sonya Beutler on October 21, 1988. Together they lived in England for a year as Robert did a faculty exchange assignment at the University of Portsmouth in southern England. A later assignment together followed in Japan.

After Sonya’s retirement, she and Robert became “snowbirds” for many years, traveling to Destin/Miramar Beach, Florida for the winter months. It was here that Robert began teaching courses online. But in addition to that, he always enjoyed playing sheepshead, attending musical events, and making new friends.

Graveside services with burial to follow will be at the Swiss Church Cemetery in New Glarus, WI on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. A private family memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 28, 2021 at ROCK PRAIRIE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, Janesville. Assisting with the arrangements is HENKE-CLARSON FUNERAL HOME. Online condolences may be sent to www.henkeclarson.com.

Obituary: Jane L. Becker, 85

Jane L. Becker, 85, of Whitewater, Wisconsin passed away peacefully on Thursday, November 18th, 2021, surrounded by her family and loved ones. Jane was born on December 3rd, 1935, in Elmhurst, Illinois to Alice Francis (Lefley) and Maurice Carver Turner. Jane graduated from Elmhurst High School in 1953, and then attended Indiana University, Bloomington where she earned a degree in Home Economics and was a member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority and on the Women’s Golf team.

Jane taught at Whitewater High School for a brief time and enjoyed spending time on Lauderdale Lakes where she met and married Alvin George Becker of Palmyra in 1959. Jane and Al had four children, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and celebrated 54 years of marriage.

Jane was a devoted and wise mother and wife, with a great sense of humor, who was both fun and strict at the same time. She and Al enjoyed time spent between Whitewater, Door County, Florida and traveling to various places to visit family and friends. She was very creative and over the years perfected many passions; her garden, canning (jams, pickles, beets, and more…), a salad dressing business, stained glass artwork, photography though 4-H, selling real estate and most of all her FAMOUS English Toffee, which she loved to share with friends, family and church.

Jane’s greatest love was for her family whom she was always very proud of. She will be missed deeply by her children; Dan (Jane) Becker of Whitewater, WI, Nancy (Bob) Becker/Maerz of Newport Beach, CA, Karin (Jeff) Smith of Scottsdale, AZ, her grandchildren; Casey (Benny) Rocha, Cody (Kari) Becker, Chad (Teegan) Becker, Connor Pryce Maerz, Jacob and Stephanie Smith, and her great-grandchildren, Jayce and Emelia Rocha. Jane is further survived by her brother and sister-in-law, John and Judy Turner of Ephraim, WI, sister-in-law Alice Smith of Palmyra, WI, and cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Jane is reunited in heaven with her daughter Patricia Anne, husband Alvin, and her parents.

Jane’s humor, wisdom, laughter, deviled eggs, and toffee will live in our hearts forever. She will be missed but not forgotten by all those who knew and loved her.

It was Jane’s wish to rest in peace at Hillside Cemetery in Palmyra, Wisconsin beside her daughter and husband. No service is planned at this time, as friends and family will gather to celebrate Jane’s life at a later date.

Memorials may be made to Palmyra United Methodist Church, Fairhaven Senior Services in Whitewater, or Rainbow Hospice in Jefferson. The family would like to give special thanks to the staff at Fairhaven and Rainbow Hospice for their exceptional care of Jane.

Nitardy Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences can be made at www.nitardyfuneralhome.com

Obituary: Kenneth Kayser, 84

Kenneth Kayser, 84, passed away November 18th at home in Whitewater with his wife, Barb, by his side. He was born February 24th, 1937, in West Allis, Wisconsin to Norman and Roberta (Marshall) Kayser.

Kenneth married the love of his life, Barbara (Boyd), in 1976. Together, they traveled and, in retirement, enjoyed winters in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Ken was self-employed most of his career, retiring from and selling J&K Wholesale Meats. He was a kind and gentle Christian man who enjoyed his family and many lifelong friends. His nickname was “Coach,” as he loved sports and played softball, baseball, basketball, and tennis. He enjoyed watching sports too and cheering on the Badgers, Brewers and Green Bay Packers.

He is survived by his loving wife, Barb; brothers Robert (Carole), Roger (Helen), David (Sharon); and sister, Norma Jean Prucha (Bill); as well as many nieces and nephews. He loved them all. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister-in-law Caroline.

No service is planned at this time. At a later date, family and friends will gather to celebrate Ken’s life.

Memorials may be made to Agrace Hospice, whose staff provided amazing and compassionate care.

Obituary: Patrick Cromwell, 50

Patrick Cromwell, age 50, passed away on Monday, November 15, 2021, at Fort Memorial Hospital surrounded by loved ones.  He was born in Waukesha on August 27, 1971, the son of Carol Cromwell.  He graduated from Illinois Valley High School.  

Patrick is survived by his “Old Lady,” Amanda Pete; 6 children: Curtis Schlotzhauer, Seaira Blackstone, Carina Cromwell, Calila Cromwell, Tristin Pete, and Riley Pete; 4 granddaughters: Jessica, Aura, Sabina, and Sophia; brother, Terry Cromwell; many nieces and nephews; and many other family and friends.  He was preceded in death by his mother; brother, Tim Cromwell; and uncles: Clark Cromwell, Dean Cromwell, and Jerry  Cromwell.  

A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 18, 2021, at SCHNEIDER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY. A visitation will be held from 3:00 p.m. until the time of the service at the FUNERAL HOME. “Regulators Mount Up.” For online condolences and guestbook, please visit: www.schneiderfuneraldirectors.com.

Obituary: Wendell Dean Swift, 97

Wendell Dean Swift was born on May 25, 1924, in Singapore Malaysia, and passed away at the age of 97 on Veterans’ Day, November 11, 2021, at Fairhaven Senior Living Center, Whitewater, WI. A memorial service was held at Fairhaven November 15, 2021, for family, residents, and staff, with plans for a Celebration of Life to be held summer 2022 for family and friends.

During WWII, Wendell served in the U. S. Navy, Fleet Air Wing 15, Headquarters Squadron, the North African Theater; then at the Naval Air Station, Sanford, FL.

Following military discharge, Wendell married his sweetheart Barbara Owens, July 12, 1946. In 2016, they celebrated 70 years of marriage!

In the early years of their marriage, Wendell tried his hand at farming. Failing that, he took the skill he learned in the Navy and worked in the aviation industry, first with Boeing in Wichita, KS, then at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Glenview, IL. For the next 26 years, he worked in various capacities in support of the off-road heavy equipment industry. In 1983 he was invited to China for three weeks to teach how to maintain the big mining equipment the Chinese were purchasing. He wrote a service manual to accompany him. He retired in December 1985 as Service Manager of the Construction Machinery Division of Bucyrus-Erie Company, after assisting in closing the last CMD manufacturing plant located in Erie, PA.

Wendell graduated high school in Waukesha, WI. During his career he completed a four-year night course in Business Management at Lake Forest College, Lake Forest IL, as well as numerous trade and professional training courses.

He held active memberships in the Methodist Church at each place of residence, serving in choirs and on various committees. Presently Wendell was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Whitewater, WI.

He was an active volunteer in many capacities, including Boy Scouts in IL; the Florida Military Aviation Museum; JAARS, the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service in N.C.; and Meals-on-Wheels in WI.

Wendell is survived by sister-in-law Haruye Swift of Nanuet, NY; sons Jack (Pat) Swift of Big Rock IL, son Larry (Beverly) of Round Rock, TX, daughter-in-law Maureen (Robert) Swift of Chicago, IL, and Margaret Swift of Cleveland, OH, as well as 5 grandchildren, 6 great grandsons, and many beloved nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Barbara Owens Swift; brothers Wilbur (Betty) Swift of West Bend, WI; Lawrence (Haruye) Swift of Nanuet, NY; sisters Lorinne (Allan) Muhasky of Whitewater, WI, and Lucille Nokes of Fort Atkinson, WI; son Robert (Maureen) Swift of Chicago, IL; and grandsons Nathan Rey Swift Rutledge of Cleveland, OH and Blain Owen Swift of Hinckley, IL.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorial donations be made to The First United Methodist Church or Fairhaven Senior Services, both of Whitewater, WI.