In Passing – December 2023

Kathy Van Sistine

Kathy Van Sistine

Kathleen (Kathy) Van Sistine passed away in Tucson, on Oct. 4, 2023, at the age of 80. She is survived by her husband, Jim, with whom she was married for 58 years, and two children, son Michael (wife Jennifer) and daughter Sande, and six much-loved grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Kathy was born, on April 11, 1943, to William H. and Rose Kathleen Straub in Madison, Wis. She graduated from Edgewood High School, attended Edgewood College, and earned two degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Bachelor of Science degree in art history, and a master’s degree in library and information services. She enjoyed both raising her children and a 15-year career in Madison with the University of Wisconsin Foundation doing donor research. Her work career began as a fifth-grade teacher and art instructor in Portage, Wis.

Kathy was the founder of the Waunakee Wisconsin Arts Council and member of the board; and co-chaired the annual community fundraiser “Volkfest of the Arts.” She also was the founder and officer of the Waunakee Historical Society. She also spent countless hours fundraising for restoring the Waunakee, Wis., railroad depot and getting the depot placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Her research led her to explore the life of Ella Wheeler Wilcox, perhaps Wisconsin’s most famous poet. She authored an article on Wilcox which appeared in “Wisconsin Women: A Gifted Heritage.”

After retiring in 2000, Kathy and Jim moved to SaddleBrooke, a retirement community set amidst the desert beauty of Mount Lemmon and the Catalina Mountains near Tucson. Kathy’s interests included local historical research, hiking, volunteer librarian at the SaddleBrooke Library, book club member, but most of all spending time with her children and grandchildren in Wisconsin and Kansas.

Kathy will be missed by all those who knew and loved her. Donations in her memory may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association.