Gail Stopple (nee Cnare), beloved wife and mother, doting nana, precious sister, aunt and friend died on Oct. 31, 2023, at Meriter Hospital. She slipped away peacefully under the tender care of Meriter staff and surrounded by her family.
Gail was born in Madison on Nov. 16, 1942. She lived briefly in Washington state where her father was in the Navy and her mother was a Rosie the Riveter. When she was 13, her mother, stepfather and two sisters moved to Eastmorland. She graduated from East Side High School. During those years she was a cheerleader, helped decorate homecoming floats, ice skated, sipped Cokes at the Ice Cream Shop, hosted Coketail parties before proms, danced at The Loft and generally shared her kind and funny self with her tight-knit group of friends. No one was more fun to be with than Gail – ever!
Shortly after high school graduation, not knowing the language or the family to which she was going, she bravely boarded a plane for Switzerland to become an au pair. She worked hard but managed some adventures too. She was fiercely independent and proud of her family. Never one to back away from a challenge, she joined her sister Pat on a hockey team when they were well into their 50’s!
Gail worked for several years at First Wisconsin National Bank on campus. During that time, she met her husband, Jim. They were married in December 1975 and together raised two beautiful daughters, Nicole and Kari Ann. They were also blessed with three adored grandchildren, Isabella, Braysen and London. She considered her choice to be a homemaker her job. As in all things, she was meticulous: The lawn and flower gardens were beautifully cared for, every meal was homemade – no boxed stuff in her kitchen! Her pies were exceptional, and her house always sparkled. She made war on dog hair and dust!
Being an animal lover like no other, Gail was never without a four-legged, furry baby. Her first was Kimba, a golden retriever and her last, Phoebe, a Chihuahua. She was also a lover of nature, from her birds and chipmunks to her beautiful flower gardens. When she could no longer dig in the dirt, she bought tons of flowers to brighten her deck. Her daily caregiver, companion and friend, Randi planted all of them and between her and Jim kept those 30 pots watered and beautiful.
Two strokes in 2005 and COPD finally took their toll. Her husband, Jim, was the primary reason her quality of life was so good for 18 years. Her daily caregiver Randi Dewine, whom Gail considered her third daughter, cared for her with loving kindness for 17 of those years.
She is survived and mourned by her husband of 47 years, Jim; her daughters, Nicky (Wade), and Kari Ann (Nicholas); grandchildren Bella, Braysen and London; Bella and Braysen’s father, Danny Smithback; sister-in-law Mary Jordan and brother-in-law David Stopple; her devoted caregivers Randi Dewine and Becky Hanan. Also, left to cherish her memory, her nieces and nephews, Monique, James, Russel, Becky and Tom and many great-nieces and nephews, cousins and dear friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, her in-laws Tina and Tom Stopple and her dearly missed sister, Patricia.
The family wishes to thank the nurses, aides and doctors on 8 Tower for their kind and compassionate care of both Gail and her family. There truly are angels among us. A celebration of Gail’s life will take place later. If memorials are desired, please direct them in Gail’s name to her favorite charity, Agrace Hospice Care, 5395 E. Cheryl Pkwy, Fitchburg, WI 53711.
Vaya con Dios, my dearest friend. Shari