Barbara J. Hashagen Thomas, 75, of Madison, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loving family, on September 7, 2012 at Agrace HospiceCare Center in Fitchburg.
Born in Kansas City, MO, she was the daughter of Richard O. Hashagen, a career U.S. Army officer, and Geraldine E. Hashagen, a registered nurse. She was the oldest of three children, with two younger brothers. Richard D. Hashagen and Stephen C. Hashagen.
Growing up as an "Army brat" in the WWII and Korean War era, Barbara lived in dozens of different places, from North Carolina to California, before graduating from Cudahy High School in Milwaukee, WI in 1955. She received her baccalaureate degree (Major in English, Minor in French) from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA, in 1959, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She taught high school English and French in Greenfield, WI and Hillsborough, NC, and later taught Native American History and English at the Indian Community School in Milwaukee, WI. She went on to serve as the sole staff member for the American Indian Language and Culture Education Board (a Native American advisory body to the WI Department of Public Instruction) for 15 years. Her enthusiastic dedication to the work of the Board won her the respect and friendship of many Wisconsin Indian tribe members, including those in the Oneida and Menominee nations. A "people person" like her mother, Barbara loved talking with both friends and strangers, and made lasting friendships wherever she went. She loved animals, especially dogs. She enjoyed gardening, language and literature, music, and travel, and one of her favorite places to visit was Bayfield, WI. She loved raising children, and was extremely proud and supportive of her children and her grandchildren. She cherished her relatives and friends. She saw the best in others, helped them look on the bright side of things, and was able to laugh at herself. She will be remembered for her kindness, humor, intelligence, positive and egalitarian spirit, generosity, creativity, and her wonderful stories, which will live on with her family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her father and mother, her brothers Richard D. Hashagen and Stephen C. Hashagen, and her stepmother Magda. She is survived by her husband, William H. Thomas of Madison; children Jennifer A. Thomas (Dan Sjogren) of Denver, CO, Sarah S. Thomas of Milwaukee, WI, and William H. Thomas, Jr. (Martha Patterson) of O'Fallon, IL; grandchildren Mark Thomas-Patterson and Walter Thomas-Patterson; sisters-in-law Elizabeth Hashagen, Patricia Thomas, Rozanne Timbes, Peggy Thomas, Linda Thomas; brothers-in-law Christopher Thomas, Sr. and Gary Thomas; nephews Christopher Thomas, Jr., Michael Thomas and Greg Thomas (Caitlyn); nieces Stephanie Hashagen, Rebecca Audet (Rejean); Brigitte Melchert (Steve), Megan Vignocchi (Billy), and Lesley Coulter (Mark); stepsisters Krisztina Leitner, Kinga Schmidl, and Helga Mersich of Austria and Judith Mlivoncic of Germany; and many fine step-nieces, step-nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
A memorial service celebrating Barbara's life and friendships will take place on Saturday, September 29, 2012, at Holy Wisdom Monastery, 4200 County Highway M, Middleton, WI 53562 (www.benedictinewomen.org). Gathering of family and friends will begin at 9:30 am, followed by the service at 11:00 am, then lunch. All who knew Barbara are welcome, and there will be an opportunity during the service to share stories and memories.
In lieu of flowers, Barbara requested contributions to the Dane County Humane Society (https://www.giveshelter.org/) and Doctors Without Borders
(https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org). In addition, her family thanks the following organizations for their kind generosity and support: Dogs On Call (http://www.dogsoncall.org/) and Agrace HospiceCare (https://www.agracehospicecare.org/).
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