On Sunday morning, Oct. 16, 2022 our Catherine A. Farrenkopf (Fox), 87, ascended to heaven.
Mom was the first child of Ethel and Harold Fox. Raised in a tiny one bedroom apartment along with her brother Robert on the near north side of Milwaukee, she excelled at her catholic education at St. Agnes elementary and Messmer High School and with the friends she made there who remained an integral part of her life through the end. Mom's independence led her to Barnard Hall at the University of Wisconsin - Madison where she would invite our father, Richard, to dine and chat. They married on Sept. 7, 1957.
Her degree in Home and Family Living foretold her future. In the early 1960s, a bit after our dad's graduation from Madison, our parents moved to a home on 3 acres, with abundant apple, pear and plum trees and enough open space to allow for a family of four rambunctious children. Exceptional at balancing her love of "homemaking" - canning our father's garden bounty, hand washing and hang drying our clothes, cooking up indulgent buttery fudge, with her joy of mystery reading and sun bathing, they resided there until mom found "her house" nestled along side the Menomonee River Parkway which provided a backdrop for her many bird and squirrel feeders and flowers.
She loved nature and with our father spent a great many years feeding the chipmunks and meandering through the rice patties at their second home along the Wisconsin River in Rhinelander, childhood home to our father.
As dad would describe her, mom's career was as a "professional volunteer". For decades she actively participated in Falls HomeMakers, Menomonee Falls Historical Society, Rotary Inner Wheel, Stock Busters, Tour of Homes, and served as the co-chair of the Bicentennial Committee and Village Centennial Committee, as board member of Falls Fest and as President of Junior Women's Club.
In addition to volunteering, for 22 years she taught small children to love the water as a swim instructor at the Menomonee Falls YMCA.
A consummate planner and organizer, along with our dad and their many vivacious friends, they threw spectacular theme parties so well executed that one year their "Mission Impossible" party clues garnered suspicion from the government.
Mom was a force! Although a stern and resolute disciplinarian with high expectations for courtesy and manners, we never the less felt unwavering love, support and warmth from her. It emanated from her interactions with her grandchildren as host to mini tea parties to her never neglected kisses goodbye post visit as we headed out the door. That combination of strength and love for her family led her to "will" another 3 years in her home despite a prolonged and debilitating hospitalization at the start of Covid. We often remarked that she was like a cat with 9 lives! Perhaps dad had an inkling when he nicknamed her "Kitten" at the start of their marriage.
Mom is survived by her husband - our father Richard, her four children Eric (Irene), Kurt (Ann), Kristin (Dennis), and Karrin; her grandchildren Nicole (Casey), Steven (Holly), Tia, Katie (Jacob), Daniel (Jamie), Alex and Sidney; her great-grandchildren Annie, Ruby and Ruth; her brother Robert (Jane) Fox and sister-in-law Linda (Paul) Johnson.
Please join our family in a remembrance of her life on Friday, Oct. 28 at 10:30 a.m. until the time of her memorial Mass at 12 p.m. at St. Anthony the Hermit Catholic Church, N74 W13604 Appleton Avenue, Menomonee Falls, WI.
Memorials donations may be made in Catherine's name to the Menomonee Falls YMCA Swim program and Froedtert Menomonee Falls Hospital Foundation. Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral Home is assisting the family. (262)251-3630 www.schmidtandbartelt.com.
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