Wendy Jean (Prigge) Rauwerdink, 62, of Sheboygan, moved on to her next journey on April 23rd after battling ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) for 6 years. She died peacefully at home surrounded by love.
Wendy was born on July 10, 1954 in Aberdeen, Maryland where her father James H. Prigge and mother, Jacqueline J. (Keepers) were stationed. Wendy was a 1972 graduate of Sheboygan North High School and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from The University Wisconsin Madison in 1976.
On September 29, 1979 Wendy and Dale Rauwerdink were united in marriage at Hope Reformed Church in Sheboygan. She later became a member of Hope Reformed Church.
Wendy began her career as a travel agent for Travel Leaders-Discovery World Travel in 1976 and continued her employment there as a part-time bookkeeper and "Disney Expert" until she was no longer able to work in 2014.
Wendy loved helping others and began her community service when she joined the Sheboygan Service club performing in their annual benefit shows and serving as President. Her lunch hours were spent delivering for Meals-on-Wheels, which she enjoyed for over 25 years. Wendy was a voracious reader and volunteered much of her time at St. Vincent De Paul's sorting and organizing their book department. She enjoyed sharing book reviews and social time each month with her Book Club group for over 15 years. Numerous "Little Librarys", crafted by her sister-in-law Judy, have been placed throughout Sheboygan County bearing Wendy's name. She loved gardening and became an active member of the Town & Country Garden Club where she served in numerous positions, including President. On her 60th birthday family, friends and the Garden Club honored her by donating and dedicating the "Degas and the Little Dancer" garden at Bookworm Gardens in her name.
In addition to her love of books Wendy enjoyed traveling, especially to historical sites around the world. Her occupation allowed her the opportunity to discover the US, Europe, the Holy Lands, South Pacific, Mediterranean, and her "happy place" Disney World.
Despite her size Wendy was a skilled fantasy football player and loved attending and watching Packer and Badger games. She loved the winter, especially walks and snowshoeing around the yard with her dogs, skiing "God's Country" in northern Wisconsin and the UP. She also had a special place in her heart for Elkhart Lake, where she spent many happy days and hot summer nights.
Wendy held a soft spot for all of the pets in her life. Chip, Midnight, Tabitha, Frodo, Sadie, Tess, Stubby, Gracie, Meg, Roxy, and in the end a stray scraggly little snuggle buddy named Pigpen.
Wendy's strength, dignity, and courage in dealing with ALS has touched and inspired so many lives throughout the country. Her final mission was to bring awareness and find a cure for this disease by creating a calendar to raise funds for ALS research. In creating the calendar she also created a community of love, an appreciation for life and for one another that will live forever.
In addition to her devoted husband Dale, Wendy is survived by her son Thomas of Howards Grove, parents, James and Pat Prigge of Elkhart Lake, her three sisters, Julie Koleno of Sheboygan, Jane (Mark) Letscher of Sheboygan, Jill Prigge of Salt Lake City ,UT brother Jon Prigge of Elkhart Lake, two nieces Kim (Brabyn) Pelzel of Sun Prairie, Jennifer Letscher of Sheboygan, three nephews, William Koleno of St. Petersburg, FL, Joseph and Nathaniel Letscher of Sheboygan, four uncles, Jerome (Joyce) Prigge of Crystal Lake, William (Kay) Keepers of Tucson AZ, Fred (Mary) Keepers of Minneapolis, MN, Mifflin (Gari-Beth) Keepers of Milwaukee.
Wendy was preceded in death by her mother Jacqueline, four grandparents John and Lucille Prigge, Jack and Gretta Keepers, Aunts Jean Ann Gerritson, Madonna Pearl (Tom) Fenske, and one Uncle Jerry (Mary) Keepers of Neenah.
Wendy's family would like to extend a special thank you to her "Reading Angels" Sandy Sachse, Kathy Fiegel and Nancy Moulton, her loving caregivers Julie Burkhart, Linda Voigt, and TC McCarty, and "The ALS Calendar Girls of 72" - Suzie Warmus, Susan Ramey, Sandy Sachse, Mary Jo Vollrath, TC McCarty, Marion Helf, Bobbie Kussard, Sal Need, Laura Bendfelt, Tootie Richter, Margret Hand, and Kiki Suscha, and the staff and caregivers from Heartland Hospice.
Visitation will be held between 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm on Thursday May 4th at Zimmer Westview Funeral Center, W2132 Garton Rd. (Hwy 42 & JJ), Sheboygan, WI.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on Friday May 5th at Hope Reformed Church, 612 Ontario Ave in Sheboygan. Pastor Bill Te Winkle will officiate. Please note there will not be a time of visitation prior to the service.
Memorial funds have been established in Wendy's name for ALS research at John Hopkins, St. Vincent De Paul and Meals on Wheels.
W2132 Garton Road
Sheboygan, WI 53083
612 Ontario Ave.
Sheboygan, WI 53081