Mary Verberkmos (Connery) obituary

John Lorimer notified me today of the recent passing of Mary Verberkmos (Connery) on December 8th which was listed in the local Madison media.


Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 4.19.55 PM

MCFARLAND-Mary Margaret Connery, age 78, passed away on December 8, 2017, surrounded by her family, from complications due to an infection. She was born in Madison on October 8, 1939, the daughter of Borghild “Buddy” (Anderson) Wheeler and John Verberkmoes. Mary graduated from West High School in Madison.

Mary stayed at home to raise her kids and held many jobs throughout her life. While raising her kids, she graduated with straight A’s from MATC’s Interior Design program, and later, the Dental Assistant program. Later in her life, as an in-home health provider she loved caring for elderly clients and volunteering at The River Food Pantry in Madison.  Mary was very social and made friends everywhere she went.

She is survived by her children, Anne Alexander (fiancé, Joe Crawford and his son, Joey), Pete (Jennifer) Zeimet and John (Pam) Sanford; her grandchildren, Jacob and Josh Alexander, Peter and Harry Zeimet, and Dylan, Arielle, and Nick Sanford; her brother, John (Bonnie) Verberkmoes;  her close cousin, Natalie (Keith) Yelinek; and her first husband, Peter Zeimet (Marguerite Ware).

She was preceded in death by her parents; and her second husband, Dick Connery.

In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated to The River Food Pantry, 2201 Darwin Rd., Madison, WI, 53704.

A memorial service will be held at 12 noon on Friday, December 15, 2017, at RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 2418 N. Sherman Ave. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home on Friday.

To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services

2418 N. Sherman Ave.

(608) 249-8257

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Has anyone been in contact with classmate John Halverson?

I received the following message from James Henkel, a former Wisconsin High alum, who is trying make contact with classmate John Halverson (who is on our “missing” list).  I provided him with the last known address that I had in the directory database

If anyone has any info on John’s whereabouts, let me know, and I’ll put you in touch with James Henkel.  Contact me using the website Contact Form Page.


I was a Wisconsin High student and friends with many West High people. I was a good friend of John Halverson and lost track of him right after high school.
If anyone has any info on him I’d love to hear about him.

James Henkel


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Ray Bare Obituary

I received the following email from classmate Jo Ann Salin today:

“Hi Chuck, I just talked to Sue Otto and she told me Ray Baer died this past Monday, Dec. 4th. JoAnn

Time: December 8, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Ray Bare Obit

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Carole Lynn Werndli Obituary

Classmate John Lorimer emailed me today that Tom Werndli’s wife Carol had passed away on November 5th.  The obituary appears below:

Carol Lynn Werndli

MADISON—Carol Lynn Werndli, age 75, of Madison, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg. Carol was born on Aug. 22, 1942, to Erling and Myrtle Swensen.

She grew up on Lake Mendota in Middleton, Wis., skating and swimming on the lake. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for three years before deciding that teaching wasn’t the career for her. She moved from there to Minneapolis, where she worked in a law firm. She returned to Madison and soon after met the love of her life, Thomas Jett Werndli. They married in 1968 and had two children, Todd Alan and Rebecca Lynn.

Carol survived a grave illness in 1972, which resulted in life-long health issues that she faced bravely, year after year. She returned to work in the late 1970s and worked at Madison General and then Meriter Hospital in various office management roles until her retirement. During her career, she returned to Upper Iowa University and finished the bachelor’s degree she started years before.


Carol found immense joy in her four grandchildren, Alex and Maggie Werndli and Sam and Sophie Broering. In 2011, Carol received a life-saving kidney transplant after being on dialysis for a year. Sadly, weeks after the transplant, her husband Tom passed away. Once again, Carol’s strength and determination shone through as she recovered from the transplant and redefined her life, making new friends and finding new hobbies—including bridge, which she played regularly with many wonderful friends. She also traveled, taking an Alaskan cruise and trips to Florida. Sadly, her health began to decline, making travel more difficult—though she continued playing bridge with her gracious friends, who often came to her for games. Her soul was peacefully freed from her body on a cloudy fall morning.

Carol is survived by her son, Todd (Jae) Werndli and their children, Alexander Jett and Margaret Kristine; her daughter, Becky (Ted) Broering and their children, Samuel Hunter and Sophie Kathryn. She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas Jett, and her parents, Erling and Myrtle Swensen.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, with the Rev. John Swanson officiating. Family will greet friends after 10 a.m. until the time of service. Gifts may be made to the UW Health transplant program ( or the Restoring Hope Transplant House (

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Charlie Lanphear sent me these points to ponder.


PARAPROSDOKIANS are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence is unexpected.

Some examples:

  1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  2. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  3. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  4. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  5. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  6. They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  7. To steal ideas from someone is plagiarism.  To steal from many is called research.
  8. In filling in an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency’ – notify:  I put ‘DOCTOR.’
  9. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  10. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they look sexy.
  11. Behind every successful man is his woman.  Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  12. A clear conscience is the sign of a bad memory.
  13. I used to be indecisive.  Now I’m not so sure.
  14. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. Nor is there any future in it.
  15. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  16. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.
  17. Finally: I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

And my personal favorite: 

I am not arguing with you, I am explaining why you are wrong

Posted in Human Interest, Humor, Misc "Stuff" | Leave a comment

Life in Madison in the 50’s

Thanks to our “Arizona Correspondent” Charlie Lanphear for sending this link highlighting a memorable photo snapshot scrapbook:

“Take a look back at what life in Madison was like in the 1950s with this collection of Wisconsin Historical Society photos.”


Posted in General Interest, News Clips, Nostalgia | Leave a comment

Johnette Kennedy Picket Obituary

Thanks to John Lorimer for providing the link to Johnette’s obituary.  More sad news.  RIP.



Johnette Kennedy     KENNEDY_J

September 16, 2017

Johnette Lilian Kennedy Pickett passed away in her home in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday, September 16, 2017 surrounded by all four daughters, at the age of 77.

Born on April 4, 1940 to parents Don and Eleanor Kennedy, Johnny was number six of seven children. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, attended West High School, and then the University of Wisconsin. Johnny pledged Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English & History in 1962.

Upon graduation, Johnny took a job in Chicago working for the Social Security Administration, where she was soon transferred to a SSA office in San Francisco.

Johnny loved San Francisco, where she met and fell in love with her husband, James (Jim) Pickett. The couple married and moved to Augsberg, Germany, where Jim was stationed in the U.S. Army.

Later, Johnny & Jim moved to his home town of Lincoln, Nebraska where they raised their four daughters. She spent her early work life in childhood education and her later years in caring for patients at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. During her time in Lincoln, she developed many dear friends.

Johnny had a love for history, books, and politics and was a devoted lifelong learner. She enjoyed taking Olli classes upon retirement at the University of Nebraska, playing with grandchildren, watching great movies, and constantly reading.

Johnny is survived by sister Karen D’Orazio of Madison, Wisconsin, and by her daughters, Julie Petr of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Meg Damme, Betsy Jensen, and Kate Pickett of Lincoln, Nebraska, along with 9 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Johnny was preceded in death by ex-husband Jim Pickett, her parents, and five siblings, Thomas Kennedy, Josephine Toltzien, Phyllis Hays, Rita Levis, and Grover Kennedy.

Cremation. No visitation. A celebration of life will take place at Wilderness Ridge, 1800 Wilderness Woods Place, Lincoln, Nebraska from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Johnny’s ashes will be put to rest next to her parent’s grave site in Madison, Wisconsin, in July 2018.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Tabitha Foundation for the hospice care program in memory of Johnette Pickett.

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