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**Visitors will need to use Heritage Oaks main entrance, 6205 Mineral Point Road, to get to the Resurrection Chapel**
Mary Ellen Fuller (MaryEllen), age 101, died on February 1, 2023 in Madison, Wisconsin. She was born August 15, 1921 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Carl and May (Williams) Wipson. As a child, she moved from Grand Rapids, MI to Hammond, IN and then to Monona, WI where her younger sister Olive Jane was born. From Monona they moved to Escanaba, MI and then to Duluth, MN where she graduated from high school in 1939. In her youth, she especially enjoyed being a Campfire Girl and Job’s Daughter.
After the family moved back to Monona, she attended Madison Area Technical College (1941-43) where she studied commercial art and medical art. While taking an art metal class, she met her future husband, Bill. His widowed mother Vesta (a creative metalsmith artist) was her instructor, and one evening while MaryEllen was waiting for a city bus, Vesta and Bill offered her a ride home. Bill then signed up for the same class she was in; they started dating, and so began their long history together.
When Bill enlisted in the Navy for WWII, her instructors at MATC chose MaryEllen for further studies at Jackson Clinic Training School. After working and training in several departments, she became a full time Medical Artist and Medical Photographer there. Also during the war, she worked as a volunteer for the war effort and even worked as a citizen plane spotter. (She climbed onto the roof of the Belmont Hotel in downtown Madison to watch for enemy planes).
Upon Bill’s return from the South Pacific, they were married on June 8, 1946. They eventually built a house in the Orchard Ridge area where they raised their two children, Terry and Sue. They joined Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in February 1958 where they made lifelong friends. MaryEllen taught Sunday school and participated in the Miriam Circle and other church activities.
She was a very talented, naturally gifted artist who completed dozens of striking landscapes in oil, portraits in pastel and charcoal as well as skillful watercolors ranging from realistic to avant-garde. MaryEllen illustrated the book “How to Sew Leather, Suede and Fur” and was accepted by a juried panel to participate in the Madison Art Fair on the Square because of her exceptional portrait work. She spent many summers attending the weeklong Rhinelander School of Arts with her lifelong ‘art’ friends. They all stayed at the Fuller family cottage on Lake Bragonier. In fact, earlier in her married life the cottage was “home” every summer for her, Terry and Sue, as well as the kids’ lifelong pals Greg Pope, Debby (Pope) Fredrickson and their mother Barb. The dads joined the families on the weekends.
Bill and MaryEllen took trips to other states, and cruises to Hawaii, the Caribbean and Alaska. MaryEllen and Bill were avid Badger fans and attended many football and basketball games as well as other Badger events. In her later life, they volunteered at Oakwood Village (where her mother lived), in the grocery store, resale shop, Encore shows, Hanging of the Greens, Val Gals and were named Oakwood Volunteers of the Year in 1996. In 2001 MaryEllen and Bill moved into a newly constructed independent living building (The Oaks) on the Oakwood Village West campus. She was a volunteer for her church’s prayer chain and a member of PEO (Chapter BY), both of which meant a lot to her.
MaryEllen was creative, artistic, intelligent, caring, generous, devoted, thoughtful, and loving. She was a saver and a collector and along with her husband had amassed many fine collections of rare and beautiful items. She was a skilled listener who enjoyed helping others, but love of family always meant the most to her. She had a special relationship with her granddaughter Lisa and was always so proud of her. Visits from her great-grandchildren brought her immense joy.
She was preceded in death by her parents Carl and May Wipson, husband Willard (Bill) Fuller (2/14/2004), brother-in-law Dr. Raymond Hughes, and her sister Olive Jane Hughes.
Survivors include her children Terry (Beverly) Fuller, Monona, Sue (Larry) Folstad, Altoona, her granddaughter Lisa Fuller-Gay (Michael Gay) Madison, and her two great-grandchildren Cameron and Elliana Gay, Madison. Additional survivors include her niece Diane Huston of North Little Rock, AR, her nephews Marshall (Norma) Hughes of Dallas, TX, Clayton (Gina) Hughes of Tulsa, OK, and Randy (Cyndy) Hughes of Rogers, AR. She is also survived by great nieces and nephews, great-great nieces and nephews, and many friends.
The family extends its gratitude to Agrace Hospice Care personnel for their care and concern and to the care-givers at Tabor Oaks Assisted Living. A special thank you to Wendy Zimmick (RN) for her exceptionally kind care these last few years.
A graveside service will be held for the family at Forest Hill Cemetery. A celebration of MaryEllen’s life will be scheduled this spring at Oakwood West Chapel with Pastor Sheryl Erickson presiding. Memorials may be given to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church or the Oakwood Foundation.
Friday, April 21, 2023
12:30 - 1:30pm (Central time)
Friday, April 21, 2023
Starts at 1:30pm (Central time)
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