Louella Jean Zahn

WHITEWATER — After a more than 20-year fight with cancer, Louella Jean (Badzinski) Zahn found peace with the Lord in heaven on Aug. 26, 2019.

She was accompanied in her final moments by her children and grandchildren at Fairhaven in Whitewater.

Lou was born Oct. 27, 1942, in Thorp. She was the eighth child from a family of nine brothers and sisters of Louis and Rosella (Duss) Badzinski.

Lou graduated from Thorp High School in 1960 and received her bachelor of arts degree from the Wisconsin State College in Eau Claire in 1964.

She married Donald Zahn of Sullivan on May 21, 1966 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Thorp. Together, they completed their master’s degrees from Northern Arizona University in 1969.

While going to graduate school and working as a teacher she gave birth to two sons, Shane in New London in 1967 and Travis in Eau Claire in 1970. While devoting herself full-time to being a mom, she gave birth to a daughter, Sally, in Madison in 1975. After a brief two-year stay in Georgia, Lou and her family settled in Whitewater in 1978.

Lou worked for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater from 1978 until her retirement in 2007, almost exclusively with the Continuing Education Department. In addition to the regular work week, she spent many Saturdays and Sundays on campus helping out with all of the various camps and conferences.

Originally hired as a typist for the university, she started many days in the early hours around 2 a.m. with a side job typing theses on an electric typewriter for foreign students pursuing their MBAs. Lou loved working for the university and with all of the wonderful staff.

Lou was a devoted member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Whitewater. She enjoyed singing in the choir and cantering.

She was a founding member of the University Optimist Club and still assisted with volunteer events such as ticket-taking at all home Warhawk football games into 2018. She was an avid Warhawk sports fan, especially football, making several trips to the Stagg Bowl in Virginia.

Lou was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996. Despite battling this disease through double mastectomy, losing the use of her left arm and continuous daily pain, she rarely complained and made the most out of every day.

The family would like to thank ProHealthCare oncology in Oconomowoc for their dedication and support in helping Lou battle cancer over two decades.

Louella is survived by her sons, Shane (Amy) and Travis of Whitewater; daughter, Sally (Kevin) of Whitewater; six grandchildren, Scott, Isabelle, Emily, Allison, Celine and Trenten, as well as one brother and five sisters.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Bob and Eugene; and husband, Don.

Funeral service will be held on Friday, Aug. 30, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Whitewater. Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. with mass at 11 a.m.

If desired, memorials may be made to St. Patrick’s Catholic church of Whitewater, or in her name to the cancer-fighting organization of your preference.

Nitardy Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.


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