Marie (Schleis) Snowden, 93, of Waunakee, WI, formerly of Spring Grove, MN, was surrounded by love of family when she passed at Agrace Hospice Center, Fitchburg, WI on July 16, 2020. She left behind her beloved husband of 72 years, Terrence Snowden and children Gail Snowden (John Young), Madison, WI; Annette (Snowden) Canfield (John), Longmont, CO; Terese Snowden, Loveland, CO; Mark Snowden, Madison, WI; and Jon Snowden (Robin), Madison, WI. Her grandchildren Annemarie, Madeleine, Erika, Abigail, Carl, Jack and Jamie (Anjali), and great grandchild Sami also grieve her loss.
Marie was born on August 10, 1926, in Manitowoc, WI, to Peter E. and Marie (Augustine) Schleis. She was the first of nine children. A talented artist, she graduated Salutatorian of her class at Lincoln High School in Manitowoc. Although she regretted not being able to attend college despite receiving a tuition scholarship to the University of Wisconsin, she was an accomplished secretary and administrative assistant at the Catholic Apostolate in Manitowoc, the Catholic Superintendent of Schools in Stevens Point, WI, and the Department of Human Services for Houston County, Caledonia, MN, among other positions. In each of her jobs, she quietly provided her profound intelligence, wide vocabulary and dedicated work ethic, while making close friends who admired her and enjoyed her social but quiet and caring nature. She spent 30 plus years in Spring Grove, MN with her husband, where they made many good friends through her work at Houston County Human Services and where she played golf regularly with friends from work, enjoying the social aspect more than the actual golf itself! She and her husband moved to Waunakee, WI in 2018 to be closer to three of her children who live in Madison, WI.
Most of all, she was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother who selflessly took care of her family. Her artistic, creative talent shined in the items she sewed for herself and her children and grandchildren, and in her love for flowers. In her 80’s, she took up watercolor painting, creating pictures of flowers, birds and scenery as requested by family members. Her gentle steadfast and tough spirit, humility, and wit consoled and entertained us all. We admired her tremendously.
She travelled, initially with fear and trepidation, to Kaduna, Nigeria in the late 1960’s to accompany children and husband to a two-year posting with the Northern Nigerian Teacher Education Project. Again, she made many friends in the international community and grew to travel by herself around the city to shop in the open-air markets and visit friends. She loved the experience and kept in touch with her friends for decades.
She was a quiet and gentle spirit who never let our shortcomings dim her love for us. She rejoiced in our accomplishments. She never had a negative or harsh word for or about anyone, except for those politicians who, she believed, had lied or did not treat people with respect.
Often she said that she would like to come back, in a second life, as a sophomore art student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, living in Elizabeth Waters Hall when it was a women’s residence and the dining room featured white tablecloths. She said that in this next life she would be a botanical illustrator; she had an artistic talent in capturing details. Yet, she never regretted her first life; she loved us all and the pleasures that came her way.
She appreciated everything and anything that people did for her and she was endlessly devoted to her husband, Terry. He took good, loving care of her these past years when she could not care for herself. She was lost without him. She is looking after him and her family from above.
No funeral services are planned at this time, due to COVID-19.
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