Wilma Janet Rohweder (née Slot) passed away after a long and wonderful life on Wednesday, March 28th, 2023, just shy of her 99th birthday. Wilma was born in Des Moines, Iowa to John Jacob Slot (Jacob John and Pleuntje ‘Blanche’ (née Klein) and Chistina Pippel (William and Geertije (née Willemse)) on April 14th, 1924 and grew up in Pella, Iowa. She graduated from Pella High School in 1942, attended Central College (Pella, IA) in 1943, and received her nursing degree in 1946 from Broadlawns Nursing Academy in Des Moines, IA. She was married on December 5th, 1948 in at Central Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Iowa to Dwayne Arnold Rohweder.
Wilma loved reading growing up and her dream was to become a nurse. Her love of reading got her scolded by the town librarian for reading too much! She contracted polio at 17 almost ending her dream to become a nurse. Her mother even attempted to dissuade Wilma from going to nursing school out of worry over the effects of polio, which she felt throughout her life. Her friends, including Flo Baker, whom she was still in contact with, would visit her outside her window to keep her company and her spirits up. Wilma and her fellow high school classmates kept in close touch over the years celebrating many class reunions.
Wilma fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a nurse when she graduated from Broadlawns Nursing Academy as part of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps. Her graduation beret was on display for the grand opening of Signe Skott Cooper Hall, the home of the UW-Madison School of Nursing. She was an operating room staff nurse at Broadlawns upon graduation eventually becoming an operating room supervisor. Throughout the years her husband’s career took them to many places where she always found nursing positions. She became the school nurse for the Wapellow School System in 1949 for 2 years before moving to Sioux Center Community Hospital and the Veterans Hospital in Des Moines, IA. She was the operating room supervisor between 1955-1957 at Burlington Hospital (IA). While her husband earned his Ph.D. at Iowa St., she was a staff nurse at the Mary Greely Hospital in Ames, IA. In 1964 she moved to Madison, WI and was a staff nurse at the University of Wisconsin Hospital until 1978 except for 2 ½ years between 1967 and 1969 when she was the consulate head nurse for a group of UW professors that went to Porto Alegre, Brazil to set up a graduate program at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. Wilma found her specialty as a staff nurse in the Ophthalmology Department at UW-Hospital and clinics. She officially retired in 1987 but would work part time during the summer months living in Madison. She never missed a day of nursing in her 66 years and kept her nursing license until 2012 so she could volunteer at the Dean Foundation’s BSP Free Clinic for under and uninsured patients. The culmination of her career was being selected one of Madison’s favorite nurses by Madison Magazine in December 2010. In 2018, a scholarship was set up in her name through the Nursing School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
She met her husband at the Lutheran Student Association in Ames, IA. An alumnus and her sister were roommates with Wilma and they both convinced her to attend student meetings where she met Dwayne. Wilma and Dwayne were loyal members of Midvale Lutheran Church since 1963 singing in the choir for many years and attended every Sunday with her husband in their unofficial reserved pew for many years. Wilma was an avid bridge player and always kept her family aware of her weekly games. She, along with her husband, loved to travel and made it to every state in the U.S. except Maine. Throughout the years she was fortunate to extensively travel the world spending time in many countries in Europe, Australia, the U.S.S.R., an Alaskan cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary, and Brazil where they kept in touch with the Brazilians they met while they lived there. For thirteen years Wilma and Dwayne were “snowbirds” where they split their time between Sun Lakes, AZ and Madison, WI. Many happy memories were made over holidays and spring breaks with their children and grandchildren in Arizona. They bought a condo in Middleton to be closer to family where she lived from 2000 until moving to Attic Angels in 2017. She along with her husband Dwayne were members of the Odana Bunch, which was formed in the spring of 1969 as a golfing group in the Midvale Heights neighborhood and still meets regularly, where she played piano during the annual singing of Christmas carols. Wilma and Dwayne took part in the mini-med school lectures at the University and were Badger hockey season ticket holders for over 40 years. She was a member of the Daughter’s of Demeter and took part in the UW-Madison Nursing School Historical Tea. She was an amazing cook famous for pork roast dinners, gravy, Christmas Duck, sand cookies, and homemade bacon fat salad dressing enjoyed during the many Sunday meals and holidays hosted at Oma and Opa’s house. Wilma and her husband spent their retirement years as philanthropists, giving back to the institutions that were instrumental in their lives.
Wilma's final years were spent at the Attic Angel Community in Madison, WI. A special thanks to everyone at Attic Angel that made her final years busy, happy, and comfortable. She is preceded in death by her husband, Dwayne Rohweder in 2017 and is survived by her son, Thomas Rohweder, daughter, Mary Vinje (Kevin), grandson, Marcus Vinje (Nicole), granddaughters Brittany Vinje, Krista Wilkins (Akeem), and Tiffany Thurston (Brett), great granddaughter’s Kara, Eliana, Adeline, and Nova and great grandson Bryor. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Midvale Community Lutheran Church and/or the Wilma Rohweder Nursing Scholarship Fund. Visitation will be held at Midvale Lutheran Church located at 4329 Tokay Blvd., Madison, WI 53711 on Friday, April 14th, 2023 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. followed by a service.
A Nurse’s Prayer of Compassion
Lord Help me
To bring Comfort where there is pain
Courage where there is fear
Hope where there is despair
Acceptance when the end is near
A touch gentle with
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