Lou Ann Schermerhorn passed away peacefully at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg on the morning of Sunday, July 25th, 2021. She was 93 years old. Lou Ann was born on March 12th, 1928, in Arena, WI at the home of her grandparents, George and Elizabeth Hamilton. The daughter of David A. and Dora Mae Mahoney Hamilton, she graduated from Madison East in 1946 and Madison Business College in 1948. Lou Ann was first employed at WKOW Radio (now WTSO) where she met her future husband. She married John S. Schermerhorn on January 3rd,1953 at Westminister Presbyterian Church in Madison.
While engaged to "Jack”, (as his family called him) she worked in adult education facilities at USAFI (United States Armed Forces Institute) in Madison while he served in the Korean War. After their wedding, the newlyweds moved to Rock Island, Illinois where John had accepted his first television job. Lou Ann continued to work for USAFI in Rock Island until their return to Madison later that summer when John signed on WKOW-TV as the first sports director. Later in life and after raising her family, she joined the staff at Western Wisconsin Technical College in LaCrosse when John was General Manager at WXOW-TV from 1970 until his death.
Settling in the newly developed Midvale Heights neighborhood, the couple bought their first home and welcomed son Mark and daughter Jill. The Schermerhorn family enjoyed memorable activities together, many of them connected with John's television career and his involvement in both the Madison and LaCrosse communities. Winter weekends included snowmobiling throughout the state, while summertime fun was enjoyed at Madison's West Side Businessman's Club Pool, at the family cottage on the Wisconsin River and houseboating on the Mississippi. Many family Sunday evenings in the 60's were spent at Angel Park Speedway in Sun Prairie where John was the track announcer for the Badger Midget Auto Racing Association.
John's broadcasting career with WKOW-TV and the Wisconsin Television Network spanned 21 years and during that time he and Lou Ann escorted many trips to Hawaii and Europe. After John's death in 1974 and widowed at 46 years old, Lou Ann left LaCrosse and returned to Madison to join Rhodes Travel and began a 22-year career in group and incentive travel retiring from Burkhalter Travel in 1996. Coordinating all aspects of her tours, she handled every detail from start to finish. As a professional tour director, she traveled to all corners of the world including Alaska, Europe, China and Japan, Africa, Tahiti, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia. For many years she also coordinated and guided ongoing Broadway Theatre trips to New York City.
Lou Ann lived in her same Madison home from 1975 until she went to Agrace Hospice this past June. The home she lived in was built in 1963 by her mother and father and has been in the family since that time. For the last 20 years, daughter Jill has lived next door and was able to help care for Lou Ann in her later years. Because of Jill's proximity and commitment to her wellbeing, Lou Ann was able to remain in her home for 46 years.
Lou Ann served on the board of the Madison Civics Club, American Cancer Society- Dane Unit and Metropolitan Woman's Club. She was a lifetime member of Westminster Presbyterian Church. She served on the committee as an advisor for the WKOW-TV 50th Anniversary celebrated in 2003. One of the proudest moments in her life was when John was posthumously inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2014. On that special night he was recognized as a television broadcasting pioneer. He was beloved by audiences and clients alike as an on-air personality, producer, promotions and public relations director, sales executive and general manager, 'Big John" hosted over 600 Dairyland Jubilee Polka Shows that were aired on Saturday night in Madison, LaCrosse and on WAOW-TV in Wausau. He also produced and emceed the annual March of Dimes Telethon for 13 years aired live on TV from a hotel in downtown Madison.
Lou Ann was a "spectator sports fan" and supported Wisconsin Athletics. She had season football tickets for many years at Camp Randall and also at the Kohl Center where she enjoyed Badger Hockey from her row 1 seats on the glass. She especially loved being a "Hockey Grandma" and attending her grandsons hockey games in Colorado, in addition to tournament weekends around the country. On several excursions overseas, daughter Jill accompanied her, and they shared special times together in foreign countries in addition to many theatre trips to Broadway. Lou Ann dedicated her whole life to the happiness and wellbeing of her family.
Lou Ann is survived by her son, Mark David Schermerhorn (Mary Lynn) of Fort Collins, Colorado and her daughter Jill Ann Schermerhorn of Madison. She is also survived by grandsons Lee Arnold (Jennifer), Brock John and Case Hamilton Schermerhorn all of Fort Collins. Other survivors are nieces and nephews including Catherine Hamilton (Dr. James Huey)) of Cincinnati OH; Dr. David Hamilton (Dr. Sheryl Elston) of Columbus, IN; Tom Hamilton (Jonda) of Wilmington, OH; Jan Swallow Pickett of Kerrville, TX; Jack Swallow (Julia) of Midland TX; Chuck Swallow of Kerrville,TX; Patti Schermerhorn Meisel (Don) of Madison and Greg Schermerhorn (Billie Jean) of Sussex,. She is survived by local Madison cousins Elaine Bormann,and Deanna (Dennis) Gervasi in addition to cousins Nancy Murley of Paradise Valley, AZ,; Tom Mahoney of Sauk City and Patricia Mahoney Weinkoetz of Yuma, AZ. and their families. .
She was proceeded in death by her parents, husband "Jack", brother Dr David Hamilton and sister-in-law Dr Maxine Hamilton of Wilmington, Ohio. Her in laws Harvey and Janice Schermerhorn of Madison, brother-in-law G. Richard Schermerhorn and sister-in-law Mary Schermerhorn of Madison in addition to brother-in-law Ned Swallow and sister-in-law Meredith Schermerhorn Swallow of Midland Texas.
A visitation will be held from 12:00 pm until 1:00 pm on Saturday, August 28, 2021 at the Cress Center, 6021 University Ave., Madison, WI 53705. A service will follow at 1:00 pm, and light refreshments will follow.
Memorials in her name may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church, The American Heart Association or Agrace Hospice.
6021 University Ave. Madison
Agrace HospiceCare, Inc.
5395 East Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg WI 53711
American Heart Association
2850 Dairy Drive, Suite 130,, Madison WI 53718
Westminster Presbyterian Church
4100 Nakoma Rd,, Madison WI 53711