Madison - Veronica “Ronny” Saeman, age 101, of Madison, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully at home on November 18, 2021. Ronny was born February 2, 1920, in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, the daughter of Joseph and Mary (Havelka) Stodola. She was raised on a dairy farm and graduated from Rice Lake High School in 1938 as valedictorian of her class. She attended the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota for one year, and then transferred to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she received her bachelor’s degree. She received her master’s degree from Cornell University. Ronny taught at both Cornell and the University of Wisconsin before her marriage to Jerome F. Saeman on June 25, 1949.
While raising a loving family, she was active in many civic and religious organizations, including Dane County Red Cross, the Westmorland Neighborhood Association, and St. Paul’s Meal Program. She regularly volunteered as a poll worker. She helped found the Queen of Peace Community church group and was an active member for 50 years.
Ronny was an avid birder and had a passion for nature and the environment. She worked for 15 years as a part-time naturalist for Madison Public Schools at the Madison School Forest. For many years, she tended the Westmorland Park Rock Garden across the street from her longtime home. She also enjoyed volunteering at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum and was a founding member of the committee that runs the annual Native Plant Sale, staying involved until age 92. She also served as president of the Friends of the Arboretum. After moving to Oakwood retirement community in 2006, she worked into her 90s in the Oakwood conservancy helping to eradicate invasive plant species.
Throughout her life, Ronny was an inspiration to her family and friends. She particularly enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved word games, card games, and puzzles. Ronny maintained a beautiful garden at her home in Westmorland, and was admired for her skills as a cook and baker.
Ronny is survived by her children, Paul (Mary Wallace) Saeman, Marian (John) Bleeke and Anne Saeman; grandchildren, Melody (Geoff) Threlkeld, Gabe and Sandhya Saeman, Caroline, Jeremy and Laura Bleeke; and great-grandchildren, Tristan and William Threlkeld; brother, Paul Stodola and sister-in-law, Mary Stodola.
Ronny is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, sisters, Marie Jilek, Agnes Vanek, Dorothy Stodola, and Loretta Grilley and brothers Joseph and Robert Stodola.
The family sincerely appreciates the loving attention provided by her wonderful caregivers.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 401 S. Owen Dr., Madison, on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. with Father Rich Litzau, OP presiding. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. A visitation will be held at the church on Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass.
The Mass will also be live-streamed via the following link: https://youtu.be/O047BxCLCpk
Suggested memorials are Friends of the Arboretum, The Nature Conservancy, or the Oakwood Foundation.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Services
3610 Speedway Road
To send flowers to Veronica's family, please visit our floral store.
Friends of the Arboretum Fund
The Nature Conservancy
633 West Main Street, Madison WI 53703