In Memory of Etta Weise
Etta E. Weise, age 97, of Prairie Farm (formerly of Barron) passed away on Thursday, December 16, 2021 at Pioneer Nursing Home in Prairie Farm.
Pre-dating the invention of sliced bread by four years, Etta (McManus) Weise was born on Valentine’s Day in 1924. She was born in the tiny town of Withee, Wisconsin, to William Alfred McManus and his wife, Elsie (Hanchette).
Etta was a spirited child and recounted those adventures throughout her adult life. She survived many hardships, including the loss of her family home outside Barron to fire in the 1930s. Back in those days, the public school bus was not a free ride. While in high school, when her father could not afford to pay for her to ride the bus, she was determined to go to school and get her diploma. She went to live with her uncle in Barron, and worked for her room and board there, so she could walk to school. Etta graduated from Barron High School in 1942, and a prouder graduate there never was.
Also in 1942, she met Harold Weise. They often said, “We started going around together at the roller rink and we’ve been going around together ever since!” He was so enamored with her, and she so charmed by him, that they became engaged after a single date. They were married in November of 1942 and remained united until he passed in 2015. They initially rented in Barron and Poskin, but settled permanently in Barron. The home they shared was rich with the aroma of banana bread, big meals, wood stove, fresh sawdust wafting in from Harold’s shop in the garage, and the sweet smell of flowers from Etta’s garden. They raised three children in that house. As the structure grew and changed, so did their family.
While raising her children, Etta worked at Sioux Feather in Rice Lake. She was very active in her community, including Salem Lutheran Church in Barron. fter her children were grown, she worked at Moore’s in Rice Lake. Those were the many years when her car smelled like onions—but she and Harold loved onions!
Etta and Harold had fun square dancing with the Rice Lake Twirlers and she sewed her own cute dancing dresses. They were active in the lives of their grandchildren doing fun things like camping in a little Winnebago at Sleepy Hollow on the Red Cedar, and they were proudly present at just about every school event. They loved to travel—Mexico, Norway, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Las Vegas—and Etta especially enjoyed recounting the day her friend Ruth Frey said to her, “Throw your bikini in your purse, Etta. We’re going to Hawaii!”
For years, Etta worked behind the scenes, anonymously, for a women’s shelter. She also made birthing kits for African women and their babies as a part of her church group. She quilted at home and at church. In her later years, she volunteered to work at the church thrift store in Rice Lake. She and Harold would do community service to receive their “Fair Share” box of groceries, and then quietly donate those items to a young family in need.
Etta was an exceptionally talented artist, and there was virtually nothing she could not do. She painted in oils and watercolors—and was an expert rosemaller. She sewed like a pro—from clothes to quilts to doll outfits, knitted and crocheted. If anyone needed help mending a torn, favorite item of clothing, she’d step up to the task.
Etta’s greatest happiness was in her ability to help others. She used her plethora of talent to bring joy and spread kindness throughout her family and community, and she did so unreservedly. Etta had an incredible mind, which remained sharp until her last day. She was a champion of justice and would speak her mind freely. A Shakespearian quote was often applicable to Etta: “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” Her life was not always easy, but she lived it well. She worked hard, loved hard, and embraced the good times with vigor. She was thankful to Christ for all that she had, and answered His call to help others without hesitation.
Etta will be long-remembered and missed by her family and many friends. Sons: Dennis (Florence) and Lon (Vicky). Grandchildren: Tammy (Scott), Daniel, Mike (Sharon) and Heather. Great-Grandchildren: Christopher, Summer, Jacob, Jessica, Danielle, Zen, Britni, Brendan, Madison and Maxwell. Great-Great- Grandchildren: Jordan, Evan, Alayna, Stevenial, Kayden and Landon. Special friends: Sue Weise, Prudie Glaser, Ruth Timm and many, many more.
Her husband Harold and daughter Geralyn preceded her in death, and were the guiding lights calling her home to Heaven.
She was also preceded in death by sisters, Pearl and Eva, and brothers, Edward and William.
A private family service was held at Rausch and Steel Funeral Chapel on Monday. Burial will be at Wayside Cemetery in Barron.
Arrangements are being handled by Rauch and Steel Funeral Home in Barron.