Floral 03

Ethel Marie (Dommershausen) Degner

September 2, 1927 ~ June 13, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old


Ethel M. Degner, aged 95, of Wonewoc, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at the Elroy Health Services Nursing Home in Elroy, Wisconsin.  She succumbed due several physical issues based on a long and prosperous life, plus of course, hard work.  She also passed with countless memories filled with family members, friends, gatherings, and fun.

Ethel attended the local one room Plum Valley School and later the Wonewoc Schools from 1st through 12th grades, and graduated from Wonewoc High School in 1945.  While attending high school, Ethel stayed in Wonewoc with her Grandparents, Edward and Laura (Draper) Hochmuth.  This was due to the fact there were no school buses at that time to bring rural students into town.  Additionally, Ethel worked part-time for Ed and Laura at their grocery store, The Square Deal, and as a sitter.

Ethel was born on September 2, 1927, in Cross Plains, Wisconsin, to Anthony (Anton / ‘Tony’) Dommershausen and Leona Bertha (Hochmuth) Dommershausen.  She was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Wonewoc, and was a lifelong Lutheran Church member.  Ethel was about four years old when this marriage was dissolved, so unfortunately, she grew up never knowing and/or remembering her Father, or even knowing her true maiden name was Dommershausen.  This changed when she showed her Mother the marriage license she and Ernest A. Degner had just gotten.  She was then told her name was wrong on the license, as it should be “Dommershausen” not ‘Mueller’, which Ethel had used all her life until that time.  Leona, Ethel’s mother, had married a second time to Herbert A. Mueller, and Ethel knew him as her father, so she used his last name as her maiden name up until the time of getting the marriage license.

Ethel met Ernie at a dance held upstairs in Retzlaff’s Bar in Wonewoc, which at a later time was named Winchel’s Bar, owned by Glenn and Garnet Winchel.  Ernie was the son of August Fredrich Paul and Anna Marie Lubtow (Butt) Degner of rural Hillsboro, WI.  They were married on May 31, 1947 and were married for over 55 years before Ernie passed away on February 12, 2003.  Once married, they worked at manufacturing plants locally and in La Crosse, WI, until deciding to return to Wonewoc, and eventually began dairy farming in Plum Valley.  Ethel worked as a production laborer.  She did sewing in La Crosse, and made batteries at Rayovac Corporation plants in Wonewoc and Mauston for 32+ years.  Most importantly, she worked alongside Ernie on the farm, plus as a wife and mother.  Ethel and Ernie raised three children on their farm, Elaine, Eugene, and Eric, located on County Highway G towards Valton.

Ethel and Ernie enjoyed dancing to polkas, waltzes, etc., and rarely missed a dance.  She also liked playing various card games, sewing, canning, cooking, and baking, which she excelled at.  Additionally, she took great pleasure in travelling to many states and places as ‘out West’ and Europe with Ernie.  She continued to do so after he passed.  Together, and later on by herself, she made it to most of the U.S. states including Hawaii (Oahu) and Alaska.  Moreover, to Canada, Bahamas, West Germany (the wall was “down” but East and West Germany were not unified yet), Austria, Luxemburg, Lichtenstein, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, France (including Paris with dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower), and England (London and the surrounding area).  They also enjoyed numerous trips to Branson, MO to see shows by singer Daniel O’Donnell, fiddler and singer Shoji Tabuchi, and others.  Ethel continued these trips for many years.

Ethel is survived by her Children: Elaine (Charles) Pattridge of Wonewoc, WI; Eugene (Arlene) Degner of Reedsburg, WI; and Eric (Shelly) of Wonewoc, WI.  Grandchildren: Daniel (Tammy) Pattridge of Amelia, OH; Deanna Pattridge of Nashotah, WI; Douglas Pattridge (fiancé Kristen Schoen) of Wonewoc, WI; Devon (Peter) Retzlaff of Fond du Lac, WI; Michael (Nikki) Degner of Reedsburg, WI; and Mark (Nicole) Degner of Windsor, WI.  Great Grandchildren: Elaina Pattridge; Kailey Pattridge-Keast; Marissa Simos; Alexia and Coral Retzlaff; Crystal Degner (friend Austin Thompson); Jason Degner; Samantha and Jonathan Degner.  Step Great Grandchildren:  Dakota and Bryce Retzlaff.  She is also survived by her half-brother Earl Mueller of Gurnee, IL; nephew Gregory (Krista) Mueller and family of Libertyville, IL; nephew Alan Mueller of Las Vegas, NV; nephew Steven (Terry) Witz and family of Willow Spring, NC; niece Shelly (Anthony) Harper and family of Sun Prairie, WI.  Special Friends: Dawn Seep, Kevin Cortez, and Ken Clements.  Additional Relatives & Friends: numerous Degner family cousins, nieces, and nephews; cousins in the Boehme, Dahlke, Duddleston, Dommershausen, Hochmuth, and Mueller families, plus many other friends she made throughout her life.

Ethel was preceded in death by her husband Ernest A. Degner; father Anthony Dommershausen; mother Leona Bertha (Hochmuth / Dommershausen) Mueller and step-father Herbert A. Mueller; grandfather Albert Theodore ‘Prince’ Dommershausen and grandmother Lucy Mary (Bachmayer) Dommershausen; grandmother Mary (Reineke) Hochmuth; grandfather Edward and step-grandmother Laura (Draper) Hochmuth; father-in-law and mother-in-law August F. and Anna M. (Butt) Degner; half-sister & brother-in-law Mary (Mueller) and Billy Witz; sister-in-law Christine (Weber) Mueller; plus numerous aunts, uncles, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, cousins, and friends.

Her family would like to thank the St. Croix Hospice team for their compassionate care and support, especially registered nurses Cheryl Fry, Jessica Murray Breunig, Lori Brown and Kelsey Borud; certified nursing assistants: Shannon, Taylor, and Chelsey; social worker Carey Briggs; and Chaplin Dave Barton for the prayers, music, singing, and talks.  If we missed anyone, please accept our sincere apology, as your care and assistance was also truly appreciated.  Additionally, we want to extend our gratitude to the Elroy Health Services staff, for the care given our mother Ethel, in particular, Darwin Hill, Jody Grawin, Dalton Dorow, and Colin Hirst, plus all the other personnel involved in helping Mom 24/7, during her stay.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 17, 2023 at 11:00 A.M. at the Picha Funeral Home in Wonewoc, with Kevin Cortez officiating.  Friends may call at the Picha Funeral Home in Wonewoc on Friday from 4 P.M. to 7 P.M. and again on Saturday from 10:00 A.M. until the time of service.  Burial will be at the Mount Vernon Cemetery in Hillsboro.  A memorial luncheon to celebrate her life will be held at the Wonewoc Legion Hall immediately following the interment.

The Picha Funeral Home in Wonewoc is assisting the family with arrangements.

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June 16, 2023

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Picha Funeral Home
402 Center Street P.O. Box 178
Wonewoc, WI 53968

Funeral Service
June 17, 2023

11:00 AM
Picha Funeral Home
402 Center Street P.O. Box 178
Wonewoc, WI 53968


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