Obituary: Lolita Ann Kachel, 92 (UPDATED with full obituary)

Lolita Ann Matson Kachel, 92, passed away peacefully with family by her side September 2, 2021 at her home in Whitewater after a brief illness. Lolita was a local businesswoman and philanthropist, as well as a mother of 7 and grandmother of 12.

Born April 10, 1929 in Wausau WI to John and Laura Matson, Lolita spent her early years in Ringle, WI and her high school years in Eagle River, WI.  Her father, John B. Matson was Vilas County Superintendent of Schools and was a major influence on her appreciating the value of education.  

Growing up in the North Woods, Lolita loved spending summers with her Finnish Grandma Emma Matson and aunts on their farm, overlooking Sand Lake in Phelps, WI.  Sand Lake was also the summer home of Al Capone’s lawyer, and her aunts entertained her with tales of Capone hiding out at his lawyer’s home when things got “too hot” in Chicago.

Lolita attended Whitewater State Teachers College in 1946. She enjoyed college and was a member and president of the Women’s Self Government Association, president of Theta Sigma Upsilon Sorority and a member of the A Capella and Treble Clef choirs. While attending college she met her husband, David L. Kachel. Shortly after graduating in 1950 with a degree in Business Education, Lolita and Dave wed on August 27, 1950 in Eagle River, WI. They celebrated 60 years of marriage before his passing in February, 2011.

Lolita first taught in Mishicot, WI.  Later, while raising her family, she worked side by side with her husband in the family businesses.  Her business skills acquired in college proved invaluable throughout her life partnership with Dave at the Wisconsin Dairy Supply, later in the real estate business of DLK Enterprises, Hawk Bowl, and Brookdale and Blackhawk Manors. Lolita was on the Board of Commercial Bank for 40 years and served as Chairman for 6 of those years.

Lolita and Dave were huge supporters of education at all levels. Together they donated funds to Whitewater Unified School District for the fulfillment of many educational and sports projects. They were founding donors of the Whitewater Aquatic Center to ensure that swimming could become a sport at Whitewater High School, as well as being utilized by the public.  They awarded numerous scholarships to WHS students to assist with college costs. 

At UW-Whitewater Lolita and Dave supported numerous UW-Whitewater projects to improve the campus. These included the DLK/Kachel Fieldhouse, the Gymnasium in Williams Center, the Kachel Family Sports Complex, the Center for Entrepreneurship in Hyland Hall and the Kachel Center in Young Auditorium. Throughout the years many UW-W students have received scholarships and been employed in various Kachel businesses. 

In 1995 Lolita received the Distinguished UW-W Alumni Award. She and Dave were awarded the UW-W 1990 Service Award, as well as the UW-W Athletic Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award in 1998.

Lolita and Dave were founding supporters of the Whitewater Food Pantry. Lolita continued supporting numerous community organizations, including the Whitewater Fire Department and Rescue Squad, and Bassett House Federation of Women’s Clubs.

The Methodist Church was an integral part of Lolita’s life.  She was a 71-year member of the First United Methodist Church and a member of Esther Circle. In later years, she watched every Sunday service at home on TV.  Lolita and Dave were also instrumental in the establishment of Whitewater churches’ Bethel House.

Lolita’s greatest joys in later years were visits by her children and grandchildren.

Survivors include her Children: Linda (David Katz) Sherman Oaks, CA; Jon (Terri), Whitewater; David (Trish) Milton, WI; Laurence (Karen) Whitewater; Kerri (Jeff McDonald) Whitewater; Thomas (Jenny) Madison, WI; and Michael (Sonia) Kachel, Whitewater. Grandchildren: Andrew, David Jon, Kristyn, Kaili, Samantha, Max, Molly, Jourden, Madeline, Emery, Camden, and Keaton Kachel. Sisters: Donna Berg, Whitewater; Eunice (Rolf) Grimsrud, Superior, WI and Sister-in-law Mia Matson, Poway, CA. Nieces: Brenda (Berg) Lowry, Appleton, WI; Sandra (Berg) Miller, Madison, WI; Lisa Olberg, Minneapolis, MN; Debra Grimsrud, Superior. WI. Nephews: John Matson, Poway, CA; Donald (Star) Matson, Pasadena, CA. Grandnieces: Logan Lowry; Mia and Zoe Matson. Predeceased family include: Husband David L. Kachel; Parents John B. and Laura E. Matson, Laurence M. and Jessie A. Kachel; Brother John E. Matson and Brother-in-law Rodney D. Berg.

Our heartfelt thanks for the special care provided by the My Care of Wisconsin team, Patti DePorter, RN and Agrace Hospice Care. Many thanks to family, friends and neighbors for their calls, cards and visits.

Funeral services will be held Thursday September 9, 2021 at the First United Methodist Church, 145 S. Prairie Street, Whitewater at 12 noon with visitation at the church from 10 am until noon.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to The First United Methodist Church, the Whitewater Food Pantry, or the UW-W Foundation Student Scholarship Fund.

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