Carole was born in Milwaukee on March 17, 1939, and always enjoyed having a St. Patrick’s Day birthday. She passed away on October 23, 2020 at the age of 81. She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Harvey and Lorraine Niehoff, and her sister Joan (Greg) Ibsen.
Carole leaves behind her husband of 59 years, Charley, and daughters and sons-in-law, Beth and Doug Sawyer, and Amy and Brian Hawthorne. Grandchildren, Hayley and Madison Sawyer, and Max and Zoe Hawthorne, will greatly miss their Grandy. Carole’s very close cousin, Sue (Harry) Bell, and brother-in-law, Greg Ibsen, will always remember the special times their families spent with Carole and her family.
Carole graduated from Bay View High School in 1957 and attended Carroll College, where she met Charley on her first night there. While at Carroll, they dated, were pinned, and then engaged. They married two weeks before Carole graduated in 1961 with a major in Elementary Education. She taught 2nd grade at Dixon Elementary in Brookfield for two years before she and Charley started their family. For the last 47 years of their marriage they lived in Brookfield.
With their daughters well on their way to happy and productive lives, Carole and Charley bought a card and gift shop called Finders Keepers in Stonewood Village in 1981. Carole’s love of greeting cards, paper goods, and gifts for the home served her well as she managed the shop for six years. A number of her friends, her daughters, and her sister Joan worked with her, and it is safe to say “a good time was had by all.”
During their “empty nester” years, Carole and Charley spent time traveling throughout the States, with New England being a favorite destination. Carole loved Bermuda, and they also enjoyed several trips there. But of all the special places, the village of Ephraim in Door County was her favorite. She started spending time there as a 9-year-old, partly due to the polio epidemic and quarantines in Milwaukee. Her family vacationed there annually, and her parents built a retirement home there in 1970. After her parents’ passing, Carole and Charley kept the home, and the Sawyer and Hawthorne families continue the Door County tradition today.
Carole was at home with Charley throughout her battle with Alzheimer’s, receiving some outside caregiver assistance the past 18 months, and lots of family help and love. On September 17, she moved to the Memory Care unit at St. Camillus, before moving to Froedtert Hospital on October 18 where she received hospice care until her passing.
A memorial service, when it can be safely held, will be at Becker Ritter Funeral Home. Private interment will be at the Ephraim Moravian Cemetery next year. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Carole’s name to the Wisconsin Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (please call 800-272-3900) or the Ephraim Historical Foundation (P.O. Box 165, Ephraim, WI 54211) would be greatly appreciated.
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