Lenore Loewen passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family on September 18, 2022.
Lenore was born Lenore Jean (Harkins) Loewen. She was born in a shack with the help of a midwife, on April 17th, 1930 in Gagen, WI.
Lenore grew up in Rhinelander, WI where she lived with her five siblings. Lenore was the oldest of six children from Mable and Fred Harkins. Her siblings included Rae Joy (Ray) Jones, Shari (Peter) Hoyt, Sunnie (John) Kuczmarski, Doug (Kay) Harkins, and Gay (Harold) Anhold.
Growing up, Lenore had her own bed and Rae Joy, Shari, and Sunnie all slept in the same bed. Doug and Gay slept with their mom.
When Lenore was about 4 years old, she had a black coat with mismatched hems and missing buttons. She was embarrassed to go to school in it, but it was all they could afford.
Lenore’s mom, Mable (Anderson) Harkins, trusted her completely growing up and let her do what she wanted without question.
Lenore and Shari shared the chore of dishwashing when they were young. They would fight terribly about who got to wash and who got to dry the dishes.
Lenore did not have enough lunch money for school and would pretend to go home for lunch, but then would go outside and play jacks until school resumed for afternoon classes.
Lenore had a wonderful, loving aunt named Cinderella, who gave her two pennies to take to church to put in the offering.
Lenore played the clarinet-badly (her words).
One day Lenore, Shari, and Rae went to the premier of the movie ‘‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, but they did not have enough money for the movie, and Lenore was crying. A passerby saw her crying and gave them enough money to go to the movie, and her love of Disney began.
Lenore had a horse, a thoroughbred, named LuLa Belle who she loved dearly. One day, LuLa Belle got loose, and Lenore and Sunnie went looking for her. After they found her, Lenore rode her back home and was thrown off the horse enroute. Lenore‘s dad, Fred, was very angry when he finally found them riding along the road.
Lenore babysat, made her own money, and would buy all of her own clothes. Her mom felt that this was a waste of money, but Lenore had very nice clothes.
One day, Lenore accidentally dropped her father off the barn roof because she could not hold the rope anymore. Words were said, “Any Harkins knows that!”, but he was not mad at Lenore.
Lenore was about 7 years old when her dad was able to secure a good job at the paper mill, and they were able to build a bathroom with indoor plumbing onto the family home.
In high school, Lenore had a lot of boyfriends (her words), and she would meet and dance a lot. One day, she said “yes” to two boys who asked her out at the same time. Her friends were musicians, and the girls followed the band where they danced all night!
Lenore knew at a young age that she did not want to work in a store as a clerk. She was just 17 when she left for nursing school at Fordham Catholic University. She took the train across the country to New York by herself. She needed two recommendations to get accepted into Fordham and received one from her pastor. Fordham was a very strict school, and no one was allowed on the dorm floor. They had a curfew and she and her classmates were watched closely. If they were late, they ran the risk of being kicked out of the program. She was homesick at first and had a hard time. She called home and her mom said that Lenore could come home if she wanted. That was enough to give her the strength to stick it out and get her RN degree, referred to as ‘nurses training’. She was there for 3 years. Fordham hired her after graduation to train Certified Nursing Assistants. She also worked as a surgical nurse at night and other hospitals around home.
Lenore met her husband, Fred, on the beach, during her second year of nursing school. Fred was working as a lifeguard at the time. Fred wanted to marry Lenore right away and he asked her to marry him within four to five months of dating. They married on February 2nd, 1950. Some of their friends and nursing students attended the wedding.
Marriage was against the school rules; therefore, they could not live together until after Lenore graduated.
Lenore’s mom and her youngest little sister, Gay, came out to Lenore’s graduation, as well as Fred’s mom and dad. Lenore’s mom and dad could not afford to come to both the wedding and the graduation.
Lenore and Fred then moved to Beloit, WI where Fred got a job designing factories. They lived there about 3-4 months and then moved to Minneapolis in order for Fred to get his architecture degree. They lived there for 8 years. Lenore’s younger sister, Shari, followed her to Fordham and to nursing school.
Lenore and Fred had three boys: Fredrick (Judy) Loewen, Karl (Laurie), and Kurt, in Minneapolis, MN. Their grandchildren include: Frederick Loewen, Erik (Carly) Loewen and Amy (Jake), and Justin Loewen.
Lenore and Fred moved to Madison, Wisconsin in 1960 and they designed and built their forever home together while living in a tent on the property. They raised their 3 sons and eventually enjoyed time with their grandchildren.
Ltenore enjoyed traveling. She traveled with her husband Fred and her friends to destinations including Las Vegas, New York, Montana, Upper Michigan, the Virgin Islands, and Germany.
Lenore has been preceded in death by her parents (Fred and Mable Harkins), husband (Fredrick), sisters (Shari Hoyt and Rae Joy Jones) and grandson (Joshua Loewen).
Visitation will be from 11:30-1:00 PM on Saturday, October 8, 2022 at Cress Funeral Home, 1310 Emerald Terrace, Sun Prairie with a memorial service to begin at 1:00 PM. Memorials are appreciated to your favorite charity or to the family. Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com.
Special thanks to Sandy, Tom, Bernie, and Darcy for their care and years of love and compassion for Lenore.
Cress Funeral Service-- Sun Prairie