Madison - Kathleen Merle Horswill passed away at the age of 93 on July 8, 2018 at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg, WI. Born November 23, 1924 in Black River Falls, WI, to Merlin and Alma Horswill, she was the third child, following brothers Mont and Thomas. Brother Richard joined the family nine years later. Sis, or Kay as she became known, was an enthusiastic young woman who began her nursing education at St. Francis School of Nursing in LaCrosse, WI upon her graduation from Black River Falls High School. After completion of her nurse's training at St. Francis, she joined the Cadet Nursing Corp in Gainesville, IL until the conclusion of WWII. She continued her career at various military and private hospitals from San Francisco, CA, to Denver, CO, to Cheyenne, WY, to Jackson Hole, WY, and finally to Camp McCoy, WI. Kay/Sis also worked for several years in Onalaska, WI at the Tuberculosis Sanatorium.
Nursing was Kay's calling, which eventually led her to complete a dual Master's Degree in Public Health Nursing and Psychology at the University of Minnesota. Following graduate school, she worked as a Public Health nurse. She worked for the Wisconsin Regional Medical Program as principle investigator for several health care and education studies. She eventually took a faculty position with the University of Wisconsin - Madison, School of Nursing, and during her tenure there, she was elected President of the Wisconsin Nurses Association, a recognition of her commitment to the nursing profession.
Kay/Sis was an avid bird-watcher and an adoptive parent to many, many lucky dogs. Kay/Sis loved her family and never missed a family gathering, even the many way out West. And, she was also a loyal friend to all who knew her, and she had the gift of making fast friends. Kay/Sis was also an adventurer who enjoyed diverse cultures, traveling to Europe, China, Mexico, and the Caribbean during her life. Kay/Sis had an engaging smile and a twinkle in her blue eyes that will be sorely missed. She had a rare spark. Even in the end, too, she dealt with a variety of age-related illnesses with grace and good humor that won her admiration all around.
Kathleen is survived by her brother, Richard (Beatrice) Horswill of Bozeman, MT; and longtime friends and housemates, Sally McBeath and Judy Shepherd of Madison, WI. Surviving nieces include Leisa (Craig) McCormick of Pullman, WA and Jill (Jerry) McKeever of Wickenburg, AZ. Nephews include Michael (Laurie) Horswill of Coeur d'Alene, ID and Kirk (Bonnie) Horswill of Peoria, AZ. The many great-nieces and nephews include Brook Peterson, Emily Allen, Claire McKeever, Forest Hurlbert, Clay Horswill, Keith Horswill, Brent McKeever, and Brian McKeever. There are several great-great nieces and nephews, too.
Kay/Sis was preceded in death by her parents, Merlin and Alma Horswill; brothers, Mont and Thomas Horswill; and nephew, Mark Horswill.
An Interment Service will be held in Black River Falls, WI at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 1, 2018 at the Riverside Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Dane County Humane Society; Agrace Hospice of Fitchburg, WI; or Sebring Assisted Living of Madison, WI.
Family members and close ones would like to express gratitude to the Agrace staff and volunteers for their compassion and affirmation of Kay's value and dignity.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
Kay was a very dear person. Always had a smile-she never met a stranger. Lots of fond memories of Kay. Such a treasure.....
Kay had such a warm and kind spirit. Her smile could light up a room, and I enjoyed every moment I spent with her. She lived with courage, compassion, and great humor. Peace and courage to all who mourn her.
Kay was the kindest person I've ever met. I cannot adequately express how loved she was and by so many. May she rest in peace.
Kay was the spark that began my Wednesdays in the last several months. We shared Morning carrot muffins, eggs....and certainly coffee. We laughed and sang "If You Want to be a Badger" together. She was a gift. I treasure the times spent with her, and I send warm sympathy to those who grieve
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