Lois Ruth Goodmann

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Lois Ruth

Affectionately known as “Nana” to her grandchildren, Lois Goodmann was a woman whose heart beat for children. She greatly impacted the lives of countless children throughout the years whether her own children, her grandchildren, or those who were in her classroom. A more kind and caring woman is hard to find as Lois had a beautiful smile as her constant companion that reflected her genuine inner beauty. Even as Alzheimer’s disease held her more firmly in its grasp, Lois’s outgoing social skills and fun-loving spirit drew people to her wherever she was. Lois was a remarkable woman whose memory will be forever cherished by those she leaves behind.

Howard “Butch” and Myrtle (Taylor) Wolfsen welcomed the birth of their daughter, Lois Ruth, on March 8, 1930. Lois was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the only child in her family. She was raised in the family home in the Bay View Community on Milwaukee’s south side.

From her earliest years, Lois had a love for school and learning. She attended Dover Street Elementary School and Bay View High School. These years proved to be years that would impact her life forever as it was at school that Lois developed lifelong friendships with Ada, Carol, Mary, Nancy, Shirley, and Mary Ann. These girls remained true friends who shared their life experiences together whether times of joy, times of sorrow, and everything in between. Lois was blessed with many great friendships during her life; she cherished these relationships.

It was also in high school that Lois met the man with whom she would share an enduring love. His name was Nels Goodmann and he was two years her senior. They met in geometry class during her sophomore year and there was an immediate attraction between Lois and Nels that neither could deny. A romance bloomed over the following few years.

After graduating from high school, Lois continued her education at Wisconsin State Teacher’s College, now known as the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Lois then began her teaching career in the Milwaukee Public Schools, beginning with her position as a kindergarten teacher at Manitoba Elementary School. She later went on to teach first grade but eventually would return to the classroom she enjoyed the most, kindergarten. Lois became one of the first educators to teach in Milwaukee’s Head Start program. She would retire from Milwaukee Public Schools with over 30 years of service.

Amidst establishing her teaching career, the love between Lois and Nels continued to deepen. They were married on April 5, 1952, a marriage that grew and remained strong for over 58 years. Over the years, Lois and Nels lived a few different places, however, Wauwatosa where they lived for 30 years was probably the place she enjoyed living most.

Not long after they were married, Lois and Nels were blessed with the birth of their first daughter, Nancy, in 1953. With the birth of their daughter Mary Beth in 1956, the Goodmann family was complete. Lois set her teaching career aside for a time in order to raise their girls. As mothers go, Lois was second to none as she was giving, kind, loving, compassionate, and supportive. She instilled within her girls a solid work ethic demonstrated by her hard work.

To Lois, nothing was of greater value than her family. She was thrilled to become a grandmother to five grandchildren: Eric, Kara, Drew, Sarah Beth, and Max. To them she was Nana, and she had such a special way of making them each feel like they were the most important person in her life; to her, they were all “5-Star” grandchildren. Lois regularly took them on “field trips” and asked, “Isn’t it time for an overnighter at Nana’s?”

There were so many things that made Lois such a special woman who was dearly loved. She had a beautiful smile that was simply an outpouring of her beautiful spirit. Lois was a phenomenal hostess who often gathered friends and family together for holidays, dinner parties, and her memorable Fourth of July celebrations. She was an excellent cook and baker who loved parades, particularly the Wauwatosa Fourth of July Parade. She loved to travel and together Lois and Nels traveled to Europe several times and took many cruises as well. There were also memorable family vacations to Florida, northern Wisconsin or her favorite Happy Hollow Cottage in Door County. Lois was an avid reader who easily read a book a week. She enjoyed a good card game such as gin rummy or sheepshead, she was an avid walker and loved to play the piano. Lois was also a “Pink Lady”, a volunteer with St. Joseph Hospital Auxillary, for 25 years, and served as Auxillary President.

Lois had a strong faith in God and lived her life according to her Christian values. Lois was a lifetime member at Ascension Lutheran Church; she was baptized, confirmed, and married here — and it was here at Ascension that she wanted to have her memorial service. She served her Church for many years by taking Communion to elderly shut-ins.

Life became more challenging for Lois and those who loved her when she began showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease in 2001. In 2009, Lois needed additional care and moved to Merrill Hills Manor Memory Care Facility. The disease continued to progress, but her smile and sweet spirit continued to enamor the staff who cared for her.

Lois Goodmann was an endearing woman who lived life to the fullest in whatever way she could. It was easy to see that the sun rose and set with her five grandchildren and that nothing brought her more joy than gathering with her family and friends. Lois will be remembered for her strong character and values, sense of humor and generosity, and her giving spirit, but it will he her tender heart for which she will be most dearly missed. Her memory will be forever etched on the hearts of those who loved her.

Lois Ruth Goodmann died on July 9, 2010. Lois’s family includes her husband, Nels M. Goodmann; children, Nancy Olson and Mary Beth Kramer; son-in-law, Chris Olson; grandchildren, Eric, Kara, and Drew Olson and Sarah Beth, and Max Kramer; other relatives and many friends. Family and friends will gather Wednesday, July 14 at Ascension Lutheran Church 1236 S. Layton Blvd. from 10:00 a.m. until time of the Memorial Service at 11:00 a.m. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can leave a memory or make a memorial contribution to the Alzheimer’s Association Southeastern Wisconsin or Ascension Lutheran Church Endowment Fund. Arrangements provided by Suminski Family Funeral Homes, Niemann / Suminski 414-744-5156.

Past Comments

Chris Olson

In over 30 years as Lois’ son-in-law, she had only positive words for me. Not one critism or negative comment ever! Lois was always willing to give me the benefit of doubt or words of encouragement no matter what the circumstances. And as a result of her faith in me, I always worked hard to make sure I was worthy of this treatment.

An amazing mother-in-law who will never be forgotten.

mary beth

Dear MOM, with this thanksgiving coming closer I am missing you more than ever. I miss you beautiful smile,your wonderful laugh,and that sparkel in your eyes. Life just is not the samr without your drace and presence. I pray every night that I could only be half the woman,person,loving mom that you were to all that loved and cherished you.You are missed dailly and I will always love you.Heaven is so lucky to have you….miss you so much today and always….Love Mary

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