Marlene D. Schwanz, 83, Hudson, Florida

November 23, 2018

Marlene Donna Schwanz, 83, of Hudson, Florida, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, surrounded by her family.

A lifelong Portage area resident until a move to Florida in 2013, Marlene was born Aug. 25, 1935, at Divine Savior Hospital, daughter of Chester A. and Onyx Berger (Chapman). At age 16, she married her lifelong companion, love of her life, and husband for 66 years, Bernard A. Schwanz of the town of Lewiston. Bernie and Marlene immediately began their adventure together as Bernie enlisted in the Air Force and she followed to become an Air Force wife. During that time they had two daughters, Debbie and Diane. After the Air Force enlistment the family settled on the Schwanz family farm near Wisconsin Dells, where Bernie and Marlene lived until 1977. During that time she gave birth to their son, Richard, in 1959.

Marlene and Bernie raised their own three children and also opened their hearts and home to become foster parents to many children over the years. One child in particular, Joey, was raised from the age of 16 months. They proudly adopted him in 1982. They were honored with Foster Parents of the Year in Columbia County. Several former foster children have reached out to thank Marlene and Bernie for the difference they made in their lives.

Over the years Marlene also provided childcare in their family home. She was always referred to as “Grandma Marlene.”

Marlene and Bernie enjoyed many years of camping and travel with family. She had a quick-wit, tenacity and spirit loved by those that knew her. She was also a strong willed and kind person, reaching out to any person in need.

Marlene was a longtime member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Portage, where all four of her children attended church, Sunday school and confirmation. Upon moving to the Wisconsin Dells area she became a member of the Briggsville United Methodist Church. She worked for many years with her sister, Mavis LaVigne, at Roger’s Catering, serving lunch at Adesa Auto Auction. She was also a member of the Dells Area Red Hat Society chapter.

She is survived by her husband, Bernard, a.k.a “Hezzy” of Hudson, Florida; her sister, Mavis LaVigne of Portage; sister-in-law, Elizabeth Carrington of Portage; daughters, Debbra Stenberg, Hudson, Florida, and Diane (Charlie) Brandt of Baraboo and Hudson, Florida, Richard Schwanz of Adams, and Joey (Suzy) Schwanz of Vail, Arizona; grandchildren, Melanie (Duane) Dorow, John Owen, Clint (Nikki) Owen, Michelle Seiler, Brad (Serena) Seiler, Brian (Tara) Seiler, and Heather (Oleg) Corcodel; along with 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.

She was preceded in death by her brother, Chester Berger; son-in-law, Ed Stenberg; and numerous other family members and friends.

The family is planning a celebration of Marlene’s life next summer in Portage on a date to be announced.

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