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Vivian Elinor (Jorgensen) Stelse

July 16, 1925 ~ November 1, 2021 (age 96)


Vivian entered God’s loving arms on Monday, November 1, 2021 at the age of 96.

Cherished mother of Kristine (Patrick) Schuster of Adams, WI.

Devoted grandmother of Michael (Heather) Schopals of Grey Lakes, IL, Michelle (the late Dan) Freeman of New London, WI, Aimee (Tipper) Dunbar of New London, WI, Greg (Leah) Stelse of Iola, WI, Jonathan Kowalski of Friendship, WI, Michael (Cathi) Harmeyer of Adams, WI, Melissa (Ryan) DeZur of Vernon, WI, Tony Stelse of New London, WI, and Christopher Findley of Pewaukee, WI.

Joyous great grandmother of Ryan Schopals of Grey Lakes, IL, Josh Freeman, Ashley (Troy) Freeman, Zach (Kelly) Dunbar, Colton (Kristen) Dunbar, Morgan Dunbar, Dustin (Ashley) Stelse, Hazel (Cody) Johnson, Vivian Stelse, Lexus (Rylee) Stelse-Hecht of New London, WI, Leona, Maia, Gillian, Amy, Audrey, and Marylin Harmeyer of Adams, WI, Hailey, Alayna, and Jacob DeZur of Vernon, WI.

Honored great great grandmother of 12.

Supportive aunt of Eric Jorgensen, Cynthia Scheele, Michael (Heidi) Hein, William (Sandy) Hein, David (Linda) Hein, Susan (Kevin) Klement, Kathy (Mark) Brendler and Loree (Lynn) Walker. Loved by numerous other relatives and friends.

Preceded in death by her dedicated parents: Viggo and Elna Jorgensen, beloved steadfast husband: Merlin F. Stelse, cherished children: Larry A. Stelse, James S. Stelse, Karin L. Stelse, and Lana J. Stelse, loved siblings: Harvey (Nancy) Jorgensen and Harriett (Kelly) Hein, and beloved best friend Al Kuntz.

Vivian was born in Milwaukee, WI on July 16, 1925, to Viggo and Elna Jorgenson. Her family then moved to a small farm in Millford, WI. where she raised chickens and became a country girl. She was also a daddy’s girl and enjoyed helping him around the farm and a bit of a tomboy who really wanted to wear slacks instead of skirts. She attended a 1 room schoolhouse which sparked her interest in academics. A graduate of Lake Mills Highschool her interests peaked in helping the WWII efforts and seeking opportunities in the city. She would take the L Train to Chicago to work as a paralegal and was very active in her local government and municipalities. She then briefly moved to CA.

She returned to WI to care for her ill mother which led her to marrying Merlin F. Stelse on June 13, 1953. They quickly purchased a home in Hartland, WI where they started building their family together. Vivian became a loving mother and homemaker to 5 children. Merlin was then offered an opportunity for work advancement in Milwaukee, WI so again she moved from the country to the city and continued to raise her family in Milwaukee also beginning her 40-year partnership with Avon.

In 1981, after her children were grown, Vivian and her beloved best friend Al Kuntz, purchased a property in Adams, WI to begin enjoying the next chapter of their lives sharing that property and Al’s cooking with the entire family. She quickly became a local town favorite as she spent her time selling Avon, trading stories, and scratching lottery tickets. For years she traveled back in forth between Adams and Milwaukee until Merlin finally made the move up to Adams in the mid 90’s.

Above all, Vivian will be remembered for her endless dedication, devotion, and love for her family. She was generous with her resources, her time, and her wisdom. She was known for jumping in her car and driving hundreds of miles to visit and help her family. She would go wherever she had to, to do the most good. She was always on call for anything they needed unless it was a homecooked meal. She really couldn’t cook. She much preferred to snack, drink black coffee, and do crossword puzzles. She liked the smell of tobacco because it reminded her of happy childhood memories of her dad every Sunday after church reading the paper and smoking a cigar. She loved animals, especially her dogs, Moses, MiMi, FiFi, and most recently she had Sampson to keep her warm. She was a woman of great faith that loved studying God’s word.

Gathering at the Becker Ritter Funeral Home, 14075 W. North Avenue, Brookfield, WI 53005 on Saturday, November 20, 2021 12PM-130PM. Celebration of Vivian's Life at 130PM.


Please click here to view Vivian's Celebration of Life on Saturday November 20th at 1:30PM


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Vivian Elinor (Jorgensen) Stelse, please visit our floral store.


Gathering of Family and Friends
November 20, 2021

12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
Becker Ritter Funeral Home
14075 W. North Ave
Brookfield, WI 53005

Celebration of Life
November 20, 2021

1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Becker Ritter Funeral Home
14075 W. North Ave
Brookfield, WI 53005

Committal Service
November 20, 2021

3:15 PM
Hartland Cemetery
 211 Hill Street
Hartland, WI 53029

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