Lisa Rampolla Wolter was taken too soon to her mother’s arms in heaven on Saturday, November 4, 2023, at the age of 49, during her heroic fight with bile duct cancer. Born December 17, 1973, Lisa is preceded in death by her devoted mother Barb (Wick) Rampolla and is survived by her infinitely dedicated father Jack Rampolla, her champion husband Scott Wolter, her inspired sister Aimee Rampolla, and her precious daughter Joelle Wolter. Lisa was blessed to be survived by her Aunts Ginny (Don) Wheir, Terry (Dick) West, and uncles Andy (Barbara) Rampolla, Tony (Kris) Rampolla, first cousins Shelly (Jim) Canes, Victoria (Frank) Boucher, Gina (Matt) Dillig, Andrea (Ryan) Dow, Michael (Jennifer) Rampolla, Jennifer (Brandon) Barry, Joey Rampolla, and Kelly Rampolla. She was beyond blessed to be further survived by cousins, many “nieces”, “nephews”, “Aunts” and “Uncles”.
The prayers, love and support from Lisa’s family and friends propelled her bravery over every hurdle, around every obstacle, and ahead of every step back.
As a natural caretaker and growing up with four-legged siblings, Lisa always had her heart and her home with Scott open for a rescue dog. When Lucy, then Bella, arrived, she knew they would need a lot from her but never could have known how much they would give her in return. Far beyond any type of therapy, Lisa’s “cuddlers” brought her comfort and took advantage of her bursts of energy by whining for walks. They promised Lisa unspoken, unconditional love and judgement-free reflections of her unfamiliar, changing looks. These 3 ladies shared a life-long loyalty that is already lasting longer.
Lisa combined her love of teaching and gift for caring into 17 years of impassioned determination to transform children’s lives with her signature firm yet gentle way. Her time at Lloyd Street School and J.W. Riley Elementary School challenged Lisa professionally and personally as she found it hard to separate herself between teacher and parent for students who needed both. When the traditional path of teaching took a turn at Riley, Lisa started a new journey educating educators and parents to share her talent and knowledge with those who would carry on her foundation.
In addition to committing her time and extraordinary talent guiding the impressionable minds of various ages, Lisa put in equal effort to standing up for the rights and recognition of her fellow teachers. During the most challenging time in her profession’s history, Lisa held the position of Union Representative for the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA). Her tenacious dedication to both positions was recognized when Lisa was awarded the 2014 Teacher of the Year by MTEA. By living the tradition set by her grandparents’ examples of noble hard work and serving your community, Lisa earned the kind of respect that made her family proud, one she was proud to leave as a legacy for her daughter, Joelle.
The theme of “spreading yourself thin” was common for Lisa, despite her humble inability to acknowledge it. Whether enduring another round of toxic chemotherapy or punishing radiation, Lisa’s innate educator could never be deterred. She worked for Curriculum Associates as a Professional Development Specialist and as a Parent Educator at the Family Resource Center of Fond du Lac County to share her gifts from decades of baby-sitting and as a cherished mother for 19 years.
Lisa’s desire to help and care for others was trivial compared to the essential priority she placed on the happiness of her daughter Joelle, the constant source of joy, pride, and purpose Lisa reveled in as her mother. Lisa lived to see and make Joelle happy. Years and years of success that spanned academic, athletic, and artistic areas Joelle achieved would occasionally be marred by the typical, traditional bombardment of endless pictures Lisa took to hold onto moments or milestones forever. In secret, Lisa’s pictures held onto her daughter’s fleeting years, though her endless disbelief that God granted her an exceptional daughter to carry on part of her could not be captured by any device. The inexplicable resilience, unbeatable attitude, and self-sacrificing persistence will be just a few of Lisa’s best parts Joelle has seen displayed and has the courage to carry on despite the endless disbelief God took Lisa too soon.
The relentless battle Lisa fought against a rare and aggressive cancer could not be done without an army of soldiers who gave her the weapons she needed to fight. Scott, Jack, and Aimee are deeply grateful to everyone on the B6/6 unit at UW Health University Hospital for your tireless efforts with consideration of our needs when it mattered most, especially Kylie, RN and Brianna, RN for your personal care and compassion that Lisa treasured, and we trusted. We cannot thank or say enough about Dr. Noelle LoConte, her amazing team, and infusion nurses at the UW Health Carbone Cancer Center. Lisa’s tenacity with every trip to Rochester, Minnesota was welcomed and equally encouraged by Dr. Lionel Kankeu, along with his incredible team and colleagues at Mayo Clinic. We are deeply grateful to all of you for the touching ways you showed compassion for Lisa and unyielding efforts to research potential treatments and locate new trials. The team of nurses, doctors, and radiology techs at Lisa’s home away from home, the UW Health Digestive Health Center, could not have done more to make her comfortable, heard, and respected. We thank all of you for making Lisa’s fight less lonely, which means more than anything.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, November 25, 2023, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm. Memorial Service begins at 12:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Saving Sully and the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation – are appreciated.
“When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled back because you knew.” – Arrigo Boito
“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” – Muhammad Ali