Bernadette “Bunny” Schoen

Bernadette “Bunny” Marie Schoen, 78, passed away Oct. 21, 2017, at her home in Whitewater, of a suspected heart attack. She was born Aug. 3, 1939 in Amery, the second of three children of Bernhard and Dena (Koll) Stehr.

She was raised on a farm near Amery, attended one of the last one-room schools in Polk County, and graduated with one of the last classes to attend Balsam Lake High School in 1957.

Bunny studied home economics education at Stout State College (now known as University of Wisconsin-Stout) from 1958 to 1962 with the brim and vigor that would become a hallmark for her. She was active in the Home Economics Club, Sigma Sigma Sigma, the Lutheran Student Association, and a member of the yearbook staff. She graduated with a degree in home economics in 1962.

After college, Bunny worked for Portage County as a home agent for a year. She met Jerry Schoen while attending Stout in early 1961 and they were married Dec. 23, 1961, in Balsam Lake.

Bunny began teaching home economics at East Troy High School in 1962.

In 1967, her first child was born and she left teaching to care for her son, Kurt. As a stay at home mother, she started the first nursery school in East Troy and served on the community’s first ambulance squad. In 1971, she returned to teaching and taught for an additional 23 years at Burlington high and middle schools.

After retiring in 1994, she became active in the East Troy Woman’s Club and took up the art of weaving baskets. Bunny and Jerry moved to Whitewater in 2001 and Bunny became active with the Emerson Club of the Whitewater Women’s Federation and Delta Kappa Gamma International.

She taught basket-weaving classes in the area and donated her creations to Old World Wisconsin, Operation Migration and the UW-Whitewater Music Department’s Holiday Gala Concert and Silent Auction.   Bunny was very proud of her Danish Heritage and the Pedersen Farm at Old World Wisconsin.

Bunny took great pleasure in the outdoors and enjoyed hiking, birding, and kayaking. She took advantage of the teaching calendar by spending many summers with her family at their cabin in the woods of Clark County.

Traveling was in her blood – at the age of 12, she and her 9-year-old sister, Diane, traveled by train (unaccompanied by an adult) to Seattle, San Diego and Texas. Her love for travel continued to permeate her life, and she participated in about 40 Road Scholar programs and visited Denmark, Germany, Austria, Costa Rica, Italy, and Norway.

Bunny will be dearly missed by those who knew her; compassion, joy and thoughtfulness were the calling cards she left wherever she visited.

Bunny is survived by her husband, Jerry; daughter, Karin (Locke) Wasler; son, Kurt (Jenn Michels) Schoen, and their children Alexa and Lucas. She is further survived by her sisters, Diane Stehr and Shirley Carlson.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Bernhard and Dena Stehr.

In lieu of flowers, Bunny would like her memory honored by donations to the Delta Kappa Gamma Scholarship Fund at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater or the Whitewater Food Pantry.

Memorial services will be at noon on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Nitardy Funeral Home, 550 N. Newcomb St., Whitewater. Friends may visit with the family at the funeral home from 10 a.m. until the time of the service.

A celebration of Bunny’s life will continue at Cravath Lakefront Community Center following the service.

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