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Celeste S. (Smith) Wencel

March 25, 1937 ~ September 20, 2022 (age 85)


Madison - Celeste S. Wencel died peacefully on September 20th, due to complications of dementia and diabetes. She was born in Chicago, IL. to William and Celestine Witteman Smith, of Irish and German descent. Celeste lived most of her life in Madison, where she attended St. Patrick’s Elementary School, and graduated from Edgewood High School and the UW School of Education. She then worked happily as an elementary school teacher at Monona Grove Elementary. Celeste married her love, Tom, of Madison, in 1961.

The couple moved to Denver, Colorado, where she continued to teach in the Jefferson County School District. After having their first child, Celeste became a devoted full-time mother. The couple later returned to Madison, where Celeste was actively involved in the PTO, St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Attic Angels, and volunteered at local schools. She enjoyed playing tennis, and bridge, volunteering at swim events, traveling, beaches, and following the Badgers and the Packers. She was known for her sense of fashion, design, and décor.

Celeste was a loving, supportive, and involved wife, mother, and grandmother – and she adored her dogs. Locally, Celeste supported the Carbone Cancer Center, The Lakes, the Arboretum, and Dementia Research at UW Health and St. Jude’s Hospital.

She will be dearly missed by her husband, John “Tom”, two daughters, Kristen (Fraser) and Heidi, five grandchildren, Yuri, Aleksei, Sasha, Nicholas, Sophia, and sister Kathleen (Mike).

There will be a small private gathering to celebrate Celeste’s life.


Cress Funeral & Cremation Services

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(608) 238-3434

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