Gisela Hamm, 87, Baraboo

August 29, 2018

Gisela Hamm, 87, of Baraboo, passed away peacefully Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, at St. Clare Meadows Care Center in Baraboo.

Gisela was born June 19, 1931, in Essen, Germany, the daughter of Fred and Else Sanders. She immigrated with her mother to America in 1939 to join her father. After a brief stay in New York City, they settled in Sheboygan.

Gisela attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, she met her future husband, Donald L. Hamm, whom she married in 1953 while both were still in school. She graduated suma cum laude in 1954 and began a teaching career. Upon her husband’s graduation and his assuming a job with the United States Department of Agriculture, they moved to Wisconsin Dells in 1957.

Gisela taught school in Wisconsin Dells for many years and coached several high school forensics teams. The forensics program grew under her direction, with teams twice winning the state championship. Upon retirement in 1996, she was elected to the school board and served 13 years. She was active with many civic organizations, including the Dells Country Art Association, the Dells Country Historical Society, the Heritage Day Craft Fair, the Wo-Zha-Wa Committee, Friends of the Library, Kiwanis, Tuesday Club and Friends of the H.H. Bennett Studio. She was a trustee of the Kilbourn Library, and became very involved with the construction of the new library. She was also a member of the Columbia County Library Board. In 2015, she was selected as Columbia Council Library Advocate of the Year. Additionally, she was a member of the governing board of the Kilbourn Academy and was on the committee to raise funds for the new Dells train depot. In recognition of years of dedicated service, she was honored as marshall of the 2014 Wo-Zha-Wa parade.

Gisela is survived by her sons, John (Carin) of Naples, Florida, and Robert (Diane); and her two grandsons, Andrew and James of Fitchburg; a daughter, Rebecca, of New York City; a brother, Bill (Jill) Sanders of Bonita Springs, Florida; in-laws, Jerry and Mary Hamm and their extended family; and her very close friends, Frank and Amy Laundrie, Glenn and Mary Beth Deedon, Dianne Effinger and Nitza Shawriyeh.

Gisela was preceded in death by her parents; husband; and sister-in-law, Marlene Sanders.

A special thank you to the staffs of Oak Park Place, St. Clare Hospital, and St. Clare Meadows Care Center in Baraboo for their special care.

A celebration of life memorial gathering will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 27, 2018, at the Picha Funeral Home in Lake Delton.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to either the Kilbourn Public Library or the Wisconsin Dells Education Foundation-English/Language Arts scholarship fund would be appreciated.

The Picha Funeral Home and Crematory of Lake Delton assisted the family with arrangements. For online condolences and information, visit pichafuneralhome.com.

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