Constance ‘Connie’ Zielke
Constance N. Zielke died on Saturday, May 8. She was born on January 3, 1921, in La Crosse to Oliver and Lavina (Kennedy) Pierce.
After graduation from Aquinas High School, Connie attended the College of Commerce. At the age of 19, she boarded a train for Washington, D.C., where she was hired as secretary to a major in the Chemical Warfare Service. Later, she transferred to the Corps of Engineers and, after a brief period in Miami, worked in Recife, Brazil.
Connie married Lt. Paul H. Damrel of Pineland, Texas, in 1943, and followed him to several states where he was stationed before he left for the Pacific Theater. He was killed in active duty in 1945. Connie then returned to La Crosse with their son and worked for the Veterans Administration. Connie married Ralph O. Zielke in 1950. She was then a full-time mom to three children until the mid-1960s when she went back to work as an administrative secretary at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She worked there until her retirement in 1981. Connie loved her job and enjoyed interacting with the students and faculty.
Connie was a woman of deep faith with a generous spirit. She was active in the La Crosse Chapter of Catholic Daughters, serving in several leadership roles including Grand Regent and a member of the Board of Trustees. Connie was still volunteering at her parish, Mary Mother of the Church, well into her 90s. Connie often reminisced about the adventures in her early adult life and spoke fondly of the friendships she and Ralph had with their 22nd Street neighbors. She valued lifelong friendships with her school classmates. Connie dedicated countless hours to researching family genealogies and shared her findings with family near and far. Sewing, reading, knitting and golfing were activities that brought her joy. Fiercely independent and with a strong drive to continue learning, Connie was still using email and social media to connect with friends and family at the time of her 100th birthday. Connie always put her family first and was immensely proud of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was blessed to live 100 years and made a difference in the lives of those who knew and loved her.
Connie was preceded in death by her husband Paul Damrel and her husband Ralph Zielke, her parents, brother Gerald Pierce, sisters Dorothy (James) Stephenson and Patricia (Edward) Fuchsteiner. She is survived by her son, Michael (Judith) of Grand Blanc, MI; daughters Teresa (Colvin) Goree of La Crosse and Mary (James) Scheide of Madison, and grandchildren John Zielke (Rosalyn) of Waterford, MI, Carrie (Gary) Hammons of Atlanta, MI, Jeffrey Zielke (Katherine) of Ortonville, MI, Elsa (Clinton) Steinmetz of Eugene, OR, Rachel Scheide of Madison, and Leah Scheide Marita (Justin) of Madison. She is also survived by three great grandchildren, two step-great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, May 14, 2021 at 11:00 AM in the Parish Hall at Mary, Mother of the Church. Rev. Brian D. Konopa will officiate. Entombment will be in the St. Francis of Assisi Mausoleum, Catholic Cemetery. Friends may call at the church on Friday from 10:00 AM until the time of services. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Mary Mother of the Church or St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A Livestream of the Mass will be available on the funeral home’s website and clicking on the Facebook icon.
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