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Mary Louise Ball Van Sickle
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Birth: Aug. 7, 1925
Death: Jul. 20, 2007

Mary Louise (Ball) Van Sickle

SPARTA, Wis. Mary Louise (Ball) Van Sickle, 81, of Sparta passed away on Friday, July 20, 2007, after living courageously and consciously with cancer for 16 months. With song, prayers, celebration and sacred silence, she died at home, surrounded and held by many of those who cared for her and loved her.

The seventh of eight children, she was born at home on Aug. 7, 1925, her beloved mother's birthday, in Black River Falls, Wis. Her parents were Mary (Bowen) and Arthur Ball. Many of Mary's positive attributes were cultivated under the influence of material poverty that she and her family, along with countless others, endured with the Great Depression,

followed by the hardships and losses of World War II. Creativity, thriftiness, generosity, songs sung from the heart, ever-ready gratitude and deep faith were embodied and sustained throughout her life. She graduated in 1944 from Black River Falls High School. She married Clair (Van) Dillman Van Sickle, Jr. on June 10, 1945.

Her only living sibling is Alice (Ball) Manke (her dear "Sissy," whose lengthy visits, letters, phone calls and prayers were a constant source of support and joy for Mary). Her cherished sisters-in-law, Flossy Ball and Myrtle Ball, and brother-in-law, John Van Sickle, survive as well. Other survivors include her four children, Darla McGuire (Mike), Marsha Nakowicz (John), Andrea Van Sickle (Susan Schmidt) and Reid Van Sickle (Sierra Arceneaux). All four partners of her children helped to care for and support Mary, and their loving contributions were immeasurable. She is survived by five grandchildren, Jennifer (Mueller) Mitchell, Michael Nakowicz, Kaleena Nakowicz, Michelle (McGuire) O'Neill and MJ McGuire; and great-granddaughter, Maddy O'Neill. She was rich in nieces and nephews, as well.

Mary learned from her mother, who learned from her parents (Grandma and Grandpa Bowen) about "Family of the Heart," those dearest friends who become our chosen family and with whom we share all that life brings. Mary is survived by a large family of the heart that includes many individuals who dedicated steady time, energy and love to journey with her to the end of her life. Mary loved Kathy Graham and Nancy Bumgarner like daughters. Wednesdays were guaranteed to be better days with the visits of Dolores Graham and Gladys Eternicka. Cherished also were Becky and Amanda Woodard and her friends of decades, Bev Kish and Del Krueger ("my Delphinia"). The presence and support of countless others, who live distances away, was always palpable, as they called, wrote letters, or held her in meditation and prayers. The support of the Diamond Heart group was immense. She was touched by the gift of harp music offered by Julie Mosher, songs sung to her by Kim Mahlum and her children, and the heartfelt support of Kathryn Hietbrink, and Diane Graham who brought her beautiful children to see Mary often. Mary and her family deeply appreciated the compassionate care provided by Carrie Lapham, Dr. Brasic, Dr. Oettel, Dr. Endrizzi, Dr. Berger, nurses Priscilla and Doris, Chaplain Dean and the rest of the Palliative Care, Neuroscience Pain Clinic and Hospice teams.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, five brothers and one sister.

Mary left a legacy of love to those in her many circles to which she gave freely of her time, energy and love, with much joy. She walked through life spreading unconditional love to all who crossed her path. She was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church's Shalom Circle and the quilting group. Over the years, this group made hundreds of quilts for Lutheran World Relief. She also spent countless hours volunteering with RSVP and reading with elementary-age children. For seven years, she was one of the main caregivers of her dear friend, Margaret Bumgarner.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sparta on Sept. 22, at 2 p.m. The Rev. Jeff Miller, whom Mary loved very much, will officiate. The family prefers memorials to the Sparta Area Cancer Group. (SACS Inc., P.O. Box 130, Sparta, WI 45656).

Blessed Be
Created by: Aleasha Marie Bradshaw
Record added: Sep 22, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 21712707

- Aleasha Marie Bradshaw
 Added: Sep. 22, 2007

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