Arlene Mary (Laufenberg) Stoeffler

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Arlene Mary (Laufenberg) Stoeffler, 91, of Mount Hope, passed away peacefully with family by her side Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Good Samaritan Center in Fennimore, where she had resided for nearly two years.

Through her life as a big sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Arlene always put her family and faith first. Even to her final days, she worried about missing sending a card for a birthday or anniversary, and tried to finish crocheting an afghan for a graduating grandson—continuing a tradition her mother had started many years before.

Arlene was born April 5, 1924, in Glen Haven Township, to William and Leona (Wood) Laufenberg. As the eldest of eight children in the depths of the Depression, she attended school until the eighth grade and helped on the family farm near Beetown. Her future husband, Raymond Elwood Stoeffler, came to work on the farm in 1940. Arlene’s dad had planted crops for Elwood’s parents, and Elwood worked to pay down the debt.

They began dating in 1942 and were married a year later, on July 5, 1943, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bloomington. After serving a little more than a year in the Navy, he returned home to a growing family and shortly thereafter they moved to Mount Hope, where Elwood began a career as a mechanic. He owned and operated Stoeffler’s Garage before retiring in June 1984. He died unexpectedly a year later, on July 7, 1985, at a family gathering.

Music was an important part of Elwood and Arlene’s life, starting from their teen-age years on the farm when he started playing a mouth organ, moving on to play mandolin and later guitar. While he picked up music easily, Arlene couldn’t carry a tune, but it never stopped her from singing along and enjoying the performances of her husband, children and others.

Arlene was a storyteller and always inquisitive about the latest news from family and friends. She enjoyed sewing and housekeeping in earlier years, and later learned to crochet and knit. She loved playing cards, taking pictures to display in her house, attending musical and sporting events at school, and watching or listening to college and professional sports. She was active and served in leadership roles in St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic Church and the Deanery of the Madison Diocese, the West Grant Lioness Club and the American Legion Auxiliary. After raising her children, she enjoyed traveling—first with Elwood and then later with other family. In addition to many family vacations and trips to attend graduations and weddings, she visited Ireland four times with Elwood and once after he died. She also toured Europe with her sister Joanne and took a trip to Brazil in 1998 with her son David to visit the family of her Brazilian “son,” former exchange student Orlando Stevaux Galvao.

She is survived by her seven children, William (Sharon) of Palm Harbor, Fla., Patricia (Terry) Winkers of Boscobel, Linda (Harry) Miller of McGregor, Iowa, James (Pat) of Fennimore, Joseph of Mount Hope, Mary Hendrickson of Sherman, Texas and David (Rose) of La Crosse; eighteen grandchildren and twenty-two great-grandchildren; five siblings, LeRoy, Carl and Carolyn Keeney of Mount Hope, Doris Krogman of Prairie du Chien and Joanne (Charles “Mike”) Carroll of McGregor, Iowa; a sister-in-law, Rosemary Laufenberg, Lancaster; and many nieces, nephews, godchildren and friends, including those she became close to in her final months at Good Samaritan.

In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents; two siblings, Lee Laufenberg and Marjorie Miller; daughter-in-law, Rita Stoeffler; son-in law, Anthony Hendrickson; granddaughter, Sarah Stoeffler; two sisters-in-law, Ardith and Belva Laufenberg; two brothers-in-law, Edwin Keeney and Charles Krogman.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, Feb. 13, at St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic Church, rural Mount Hope at 11 a.m. with Monsignor Gerard Healy and the Reverend Miguel Galvez officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery with a lunch to follow at Queen of All Saints St. Mary’s church hall in Fennimore. Family and friends may call on Friday, Feb. 12, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Martin Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Bloomington, where a parish rosary will be prayed at 3:45 p.m. Friends also may call on Saturday, Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. until time of services at the church. In lieu of plants and flowers an Arlene M. Stoeffler Memorial Fund has been established.

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