Cover photo for Marvilla Baecker-Zittel's Obituary
Marvilla Baecker-Zittel Profile Photo

Marvilla Baecker-Zittel

d. September 16, 2023

Alma, Wisconsin

Marvilla Baecker-Zittel

 

Marvilla passed away peacefully on September 16, 2023 at the age of 95.  Marvilla lived a truly full and abundant life. She grew up as an only child, but had many, many friends and dearly cherished relationships with her extended families.  She always kept well connected with birthday, anniversary and thank you cards as well as regular visiting.

Marvilla was born Marvilla Mae Salwey on March 6, 1928 in the upstairs bedroom of the family farmhouse just north of Cream.  She actually grew up in downtown Cream, after her parents, Irvin and Clara (Roffler) Salwey bought the Cream Tavern.  The Tavern had a bar, upstairs boarding rooms and a dance hall.  In her early life, Marvilla was quite an acrobat, able to do flips, cartwheels and full back bends. (There is a photo of her at age 10 doing a full back bend on top of a car.)  Throughout her life, she remained active with volleyball, bowling, dancing, water skiing, golfing, biking and morning stretch exercises.  Marvilla went to the one room Cream school for her early education, but attended high school in Alma and graduated from there in 1945.  She was at the movies on Sunday afternoon December 6, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  After high school she attended and graduated from the Buffalo County Normal School with a 2 year degree, then began teaching at the rural school in Jahn’s Valley.  Around 1948, while wearing a blue dress, she was approached on the dance floor by the love of her life, Jerome Baecker – an ambitious, charming young man with great hair.  Her diary records their growing love and after she completed Catholic Catechism classes they were married on June 22, 1950 at St. Lawrence Church in Alma.  Marvilla continued teaching but stopped when on July 24, 1954 she gave birth to a son, James Irvin and three years later on May 24, 1957 a baby girl, Beth Marie.  During her second pregnancy, she attended UW – Eau Claire and completed a BS in Elementary Education.  Marvilla returned to teaching at that point and taught at several locations in the area, including Gilmanton and Tell school before starting to teach 4th grade at the Alma Public schools around 1961.   While continuing to teach school atAlma, and somewhat unplanned, Marvilla gave birth to a daughter, Amy Leann on December 15, 1971 in Wabasha.  She continued to teach higher elementary grades at Alma until she retired in 1983.  Later in life endless strings of students always expressed gratitude for her strong, caring and gifted classroom leadership. With summer free as a teacher, Marvilla and family travelled each year as an adventure and educational experience, she eventually travelled all around the USA, to Alaska, Europe and to beloved Ireland.  Another summer highlight was sandbar time –where social connections, snacks and swimming were enjoyed.  Marvilla took advanced swimming lessons and was the only “mom” who would waterski – she even slalomed (single ski).  During this time she was active with family and friends, the Ladies Rosary society and American Legion Auxiliary, attending local sports events and having weekly dinner dates with Jerome.  Through the mid-seventies she cared for her father and mother as they aged and passed on. After retirement, she and Jerome were able to travel more, making several trips a year to warm and sunny places.  She was active in the Wisconsin Retired Teachers Association and also took up golf.  Well really, golf kind of took her – as an athlete, she loved the game, she managed the physical challenge, and enjoyed the opportunity for fresh air and time on the course with friends. Unfortunately, in 1994 her life, as it was, changed when husband Jerome passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 69.   Marvilla coped with that deep loss with the same class she managed life.  With time and the help of her beloved sister-in-law Eileen, she found a new life, or well - it found her, in the form of a widower from Cassville, WI - Al (Alfred) Zittel.  In their youth, Marvilla and Al attended high school together for a couple years in Alma.  They rekindled their friendship and were married on October 4, 1998. It was a joy to see the respect and deep connection of the mature relationship they shared and how they fully embraced each other’s offspring.  They loved dancing and music, travelling and spent a lot of time with friends around Alma and Cassville.  They walked and biked, attended church regularly and drove to Florida to escape the Wisconsin winters.  They both aged normally and after a short stay in assisted living, Al passed away on July 8, 2017.  Marvilla was again faced with a deep loss.  Within a few months of Al’s passing, she had moved into a nursing home, where she continued participating in activities, attending mass and visiting with everyone around the nursing home.  In the end, she passed away peacefully at the nursing home shortly after visits from her children. She was a stylish (not prissy) woman and could be one tuf (t-u-f) cookie.  Her motto for life was “if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything”. She loved deeply and was loved in return. Marvilla is survived by children: James, Beth (Lonnie) Sass, Amy (Russ) Pronschinske, grandchildren; Justin (Stacy) Sass, Amber Sass, Kathleen (Conan) Ashley, Sean Baecker, Ryan Pronschinske and Ali Pronchinske and great-grandchild Aubrey Sass.  She is also survived by Al’s children: Peggy Ann Zittel (Paul Keith), Chris Zittel, Elaine (Robert) Pike, Lisa (Rodney) Perry.   

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Alma WI on Wednesday September 20th at Noon.  Visitation will be held at the church from 10am until the time of Mass.

The family would like to thank the staff at Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s Health Care Center in Wabasha, MN for their conscientious and thoughtful care.  Talbot Family Funeral Homes of Alma assisted the family with arrangements. www.talbotfuneralhomes.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marvilla Baecker-Zittel, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

St. Lawrence Catholic Church

206 S. 2nd Street, Alma, WI 54610

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Central time)

St. Lawrence Catholic Church

206 S. 2nd Street, Alma, WI 54610

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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