Beverly Stuhr

A Celebration of Life for Beverly Irene Stuhr, 94, of Onalaska, will be held on Saturday, July 24, at 11:00 a.m. at Onalaska United Methodist Church, 212 4th Avenue N. Pastor Park Hunter will officiate. Friends may visit with the family at the church from 10:00 a.m. until time of services.

Beverly Stuhr 2Beverly passed away May 5, 2020. at the Bethany Riverside Care Center. A private graveside service was held on May 9.

She was born on December 4, 1925 to Walter and Rachel Enola (Westerhouse) Holthaus. Bev was raised in Onalaska and attended Onalaska schools graduating from High School as Valedictorian of her class in 1943. She attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa for one year and then transferred to the University of Wisconsin, Madison where she graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in accounting, an uncommon major for women at that time. In 1972 Bev earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from University of Wisconsin, Madison.

She married John Calvin Stuhr in Onalaska on June 19, 1948 where they raised two daughters, Debra and Diane. They enjoyed their large extended family and activities such as camping, first with a tent and later with a travel trailer. Bev and John took up square dancing in the ’70s and had many happy hours dancing with their new friends with whom they also shared the joy of camping. Bev and John enjoyed travel and visited Hawaii, Canada, Mexico and Switzerland and had a very memorable Caribbean cruise.

She continued her love of travel and learning after John’s untimely death in 1990 eventually visiting all seven continents and 35 countries. At 86 she was still at it and took a Trans-Canada rail trip.

Bev had a prominent career. She began as the Bookkeeper/Business Manager for the Onalaska School District from 1957 to 1965. From 1965 to 1968 she was an accountant at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where her excellent skills and knowledge were noticed and in 1968 Bev was recruited to serve as Controller of Gundersen Clinic Ltd. There she made significant contributions to the organization and participated in the expansion of the Gundersen Clinic from a local clinic to a large multispecialty medical organization. Bev retired in 1988 and at the time of her retirement the Beverly Stuhr Excellence in Administration fund was established.

Bev was a lifelong member of the Onalaska United Methodist church and a third generation to attend. At the time of her death she was the oldest living member of the church. She was baptized into the congregation in April 1926. She attended Sunday School as a child and was confirmed in 1939. In High School she belonged to the Methodist Youth Fellowship and sang in the choir. She was married in the church in 1948. Her daughters also were baptized, confirmed, and married in the church.

Bev served her church community in many ways. Besides being active in Circle, she also was president of the United Methodist Women. In later years she was a member of the Staff Parish Committee, Chair of the Finance Committee and Chair of the Administrative Board. In the 90’s she served two terms as Treasurer for the United Methodist Women in what was then the Central District and attended a number of Schools of Christian Mission.

She also served as the Treasurer of the Memorial Fund of the Onalaska Methodist Church for 39 year. In 2002 she donated the beautiful stained-glass windows for the church sanctuary as a Memorial to her husband, John, her parents and in honor of her family

Bev was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star for over 60 years first in the Onalaska Chapter and later in Ruth Chapter in La Crosse. She was Worthy Matron of the Onalaska Chapter in 1959 with John as her Worthy Patron and she was Grand Esther for the Grand Chapter of Wisconsin in 1959-60.

Her civic contributions were many including membership on the Board of the La Crosse Area United Way where she served as President in 1979 and later served as Chair of the Budget Committee for several years. She also served a term on the board of Junior Achievement for La Crosse. She was nominated to the Onalaska Police and Fire Commission in the 1980’s where she served for five years. She was a member of the Onalaska Historic Preservation Committee. She and John were Charter Members of the Onalaska Area Historical Society, a membership which she maintained until her death. During that time, she served a term on the Board of Directors and also did Sunshine mailings.

Bev was a member in the Church Women United of the Coulee Region where she served as Treasurer and in 2008 was presented the Valiant Woman Award. She also was active with Causeway Interfaith Care Givers and spent many hours driving elderly and disabled (many younger than she was) for shopping, errands and appointments. She enjoyed learning and belonged to Learning in Retirement at UW-L where she took many classes and field trips. She belonged to two book clubs, one at the Onalaska Branch of the La Crosse County Library and one at Eagle Crest, her home since December 2007. She volunteered with Friends of the Library and maintained a membership there also. She received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Library in 2009.

Bev loved to cook and bake. She frequently took meals to those who were ill, had a death in family or perhaps a new baby. She loved to read, do crossword puzzles (she had a friend who sent her the challenging N Y Times Sunday puzzles and the Friday Wall Street Journal puzzles), play games on her computer and loved playing bridge which she learned in college.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John, her parents Rachel and Walter Holthaus, and sisters Doris Keener and Rita Holthaus. She is survived by her daughters, Debra Steffen of Bradley Beach, NJ, Diane and her husband James Wittenberg of Franklin, WI; their seven children Stephanie (Dan) Kovatovich, Rachel (Kevin) Belida, Thomas (Amanda) Elsen, Andrea (Chris) Hatton, Matthew Wittenberg, Elizabeth (Brian) Richter and Rebecca Riechert; her 17 great-grandchildren Haley (Nadia) McCormick, Sam Weber, Claire and Esme Belida, Brayden and Levi Elsen, Jacob Wittenberg, Jordan, Kayla, Zachary, Brett and Tanith Kubinek, Madisen and Tegan Richter, Landon, Lucas and Lucy Riechert and one great-great-granddaughter Cleo Wittenberg.

She is also survived by her siblings. Joyce Holthaus and David (Judy) Holthaus of

Onalaska, Walter (Linda) Holthaus of Madison and Robert (Linda) Holthaus of Beverly Hills, Fla. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews and many friends (old and new) from her residency at Eagle Crest.

Her wish was that she be remembered as someone who loved family and friends and tried to live her life by the Golden Rule.

,Memorials may be given to the Onalaska United Methodist Church or the Gundersen Medical Foundation.

Additional information and online condolences may be given to the family at