Beverly (Bev) Haugen, aged 93, passed away peacefully, with family at her side on Monday, June 12th. Bev was a very proud, life-long resident of Madison. She was born to John and Edith Stark on Feb. 24, 1930, the lone daughter and youngest of 4 children. Bev grew up in a lovely, rambling house on Lake Mendota’s Spring Harbor. She spent her childhood hauling water from the springs, running through the open fields and swimming in the, then, crystal clear waters of Lake Mendota. She had endless, joy-filled stories of her happy days with friends from Highlands Mendota Beach School. Bev’s idyllic childhood was shattered when, at age 10, she suddenly lost her father . This was an event that marked Bev’s life throughout all of her days. Bev assumed many household duties and her lifelong work ethic and devotion to her mother were formed during those years.
Bev graduated from Madison West High School in 1948 and went to work as a secretary to help support her mother and the household. She worked for Reitan-Lerdahl Insurance and the State of WI. She formed lifelong friends at her places of work, and had many tales of her days of shopping over her lunch hour on the Capitol Square and State St., and laughing with her girlfriends over coffee breaks. In 1949, Bev met her future husband Don Haugen, at a dance at the downtown “Loft.” Don was immediately smitten and proposed to Bev 3 months into their courtship. Bev was not to be tied down at such a young age, and turned Don down- scaring him off until he offered a 2nd proposal 3 years later! Bev and Don were married at Luther Memorial Church in 1953. They moved into Bev’s childhood home, converting the 2nd floor to an apartment. Don and Bev worked for 5 years saving for a house, and were able to build their first, and lifelong home on Orchard Drive in 1958, and welcomed their 2 daughters shortly thereafter.
Bev was a stay-at-home mom until her children were well into elementary school, when she re-entered the workforce as a substitute secretary with the Madison Public Schools, and later as a teacher’s aide at several Madison elementary schools. Bev retired in 1990 and went on to enjoy many years of travel and happy times with friends and family. Don and Bev enjoyed many trips to Norway both on their own and with the Sons of Norway organization. They also enjoyed trips to California, Jackson Hole, and the desert southwest- but their favorite place of all was Longboat Key, Florida, which they discovered in 1976, and returned to every year with their daughters and eventually, granddaughter, until 2011. Longboat Key was a lifelong gift to the family, and a place where countless, everlasting memories were made.
Beyond her family, Bev loved a good joke or story, gathering with others, and nature. In retirement, Bev took up watercolors and did beautiful paintings of the flowers, forests and birds that she loved so much. She loved to laugh and had a child-like appreciation and joy for the simple things in life. She was a lover of birds, butterflies, flowers and skies. Bev was fascinated by the weather, enjoyed the moon through her backyard pines, the birds at her feeders, and waited for the monarchs to return each year. She enjoyed visits to Olbrich Gardens and the U.W. Arboretum, marveling at the fall colors and spring blooms, but her favorite place in nature was sitting in her yard at her home of 65 years- just taking it all in.
Bev was a long-time member of both Midvale Community Lutheran Church and Bethel Lutheran Church. Bev and Don were also long standing members and volunteers for the Sons of Norway and the Midvale Heights Association.
Bev is survived by her treasured family; daughters Kari Haugen, Kristin (John) Haugen-Wente, cherished granddaughter Nora Haugen-Wente, and her best dog-friend, Lucha. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews. Bev was preceded in death by her husband, Don, parents, John and Edith Stark, brothers, John, Robert (Bobby) and Arthur Stark.
A memorial service for Bev will be held on Tuesday, June 20th, at Bethel Lutheran Church, 312 Wisconsin Ave., Madison. Visitation will begin at 10:00, service at 11:00. Burial will be private. Memorials may be given to Bethel Lutheran Church (specify Bethel Horizons or Food Pantry programs) Olbrich Gardens or The U.W. Arboretum.
The family would like to thank Bev’s Orchard Drive neighbors, the staff at Prairie Gardens, the Unity Point-Meriter Palliative and Agrace Hospice care teams, Chaplain Elizabeth Johnson, the wonderful nurses, CNAs, and Dr. Rani Saoud at 8 Tower Unity Point-Meriter Hospital- all who gave Bev excellent and compassionate care. We are grateful.