Fassbender, Ellen “Ellie”
WAUNAKEE – Ellen “Ellie” Fassbender, 81, died peacefully in her sleep on February 7, 2023. Her family, friends, students, and everyone she met remains positively changed by her presence. Like Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” Ellie gave her full self to all those who were fortunate to know her. Ellie was born in Marshfield, WI on August 1, 1941, to Gretchen and Patrick Felker. She would often remark that “so much in life is an accident of birth.” As a child, Ellie enjoyed swimming in the Hefko Pool, walking to the malt shop, family ski trips to Telemark and Powderhorn, and summer visits from her cousins from out East. Ellie had an unmatched joy for life and she took this with her to college at Loretto Heights in Denver, CO where she skied and got her teaching degree. She had a great fondness for the nuns and supported them spiritually and financially over the decades.
Ellie married John (Jack) Fassbender, the love of her life, and the couple built their house on the hill where they raised their two children, Sydney (Fassbender) Lindner and John Patrick (JP) Fassbender. They later welcomed three grandchildren and two great grandchildren. If you met Ellie you knew where the house key was hidden on her front porch; the porch where she and Jack watched many sunsets. Her home was a place of joy and celebration where everyone was welcome. Ellie devoted her time to her family: attending every concert and event, leading the band fruit sale fundraiser, and hosting students from across the globe as part of the American Field Service (AFS) program. In 1982 she hosted Louise Price Synman (her now South African daughter). Ellie enjoyed several trips to visit Louise and her family. Ellie did not have a bucket list. She and her husband Jack truly enjoyed the simple things in life: taking a ride at dusk to look for deer, antique hunting, going to Lodi to get an ice cream, canning, and hosting love-filled holidays for extended family and friends. Ellie also enjoyed reading, collecting and making baskets, and going out to eat at favorite restaurants including the Thunderbird, Green Acres, the Dorf Haus, and the Roxbury Tavern.
Ellie enjoyed a successful, more than 35-year teaching career, spending most of her time in the Waunakee Community School District. She referred to her students as “her babies” treating each student as if he or she were her own. When Ellie retired she mentored new teachers, further spreading her joy of learning and love of life. Ellie also volunteered in her community reading to the elderly in the nursing home and sorting clothing for those in need. Ellie’s grandchildren and great grandchildren were her pride and joy. She could be seen making the best after school snacks and carting a second generation of kids to their activities.
When not at her beloved home, Ellie traveled extensively with family and friends to: her cabin in Florence, WI, then lake home in Wautoma, WI, Fort Myers Beach, Ireland, South Africa, Spain and everywhere in between. Her positive attitude and generosity were one of a kind and she will be deeply missed by her daughter Sydney (Syd) Lindner (Bob) her son JP Fassbender (Amy Skolaski) her grandchildren Franci Lindner, Addie Fassbender, Jack Fassbender, great grandchildren Izzy and Ruby Lindner, as well as Louise Price Snyman, (Johannesburg, South Africa.) She is also survived by loving extended family. Ellie will be remembered as a fun-loving, hard-working, devoted mother, mother-in-law, daughter, wife, sister, and friend. To be in Ellie’s presence was to be surrounded by unconditional love.
A celebration of Ellie’s life will be held at the WINN-CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 5785 Highway Q, Waunakee, on Saturday, March 18, 2023, starting at 1 p.m., with a short service at 2:30 p.m. A private burial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Ellie’s name may be made to the Waunakee Public Library.
Please share your memories at www.CressFuneralService.com
Funeral and Cremation Services
5785 Highway Q Waunakee