EVANSVILLE - DeEtte Helen (Knowlton) Beilfuss-Eager, age 97, of Evansville, Wis., passed away at her home on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016. She grew up in Ellsworth, Wis., the only child of Harry and Edna Knowlton. She graduated from Ellsworth High School, University of Minnesota, and Macphail Center of Music, St. Paul, Minn., with a master's degree in music. She was awarded the Ford Foundation Fellowship for research in broadcast and television in education.
She married her first husband, Bruce F. Beilfuss, former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, in St. Paul, Minn., in 1962 and combined the two households: DeEtte and her daughter, Karen "Lovey" Johnson, with Bruce and his son, Mark Beilfuss. DeEtte moved to Madison, which became DeEtte's permanent home. DeEtte and Bruce shared a love of golden retrievers, traveling, and socializing with friends in the Madison area, where DeEtte taught high school English.
DeEtte had a life-long interest in music, the arts, and gardening. She served on the board of directors and was a great supporter of many civic organizations, most notably Madison Symphony Orchestra, University of Wisconsin Cancer Center, Madison Civic Opera, Edgewood College, Wisconsin Art Boards, and Wisconsin Humanities Council.
She married her second husband, Leonard Prentice Eager Jr., in 1990 at Bethel Lutheran Church and made Evansville, Wis., her new home for the next 27 years. She introduced Leonard to many new people and associations in Madison. They built a home in Evansville with a gorgeous garden; she actively participated in musical performances at the United Methodist Church and served on the Stoughton Hospital Foundation Board.
DeEtte is survived by her husband, Leonard Prentice Eager Jr.; son, Mark Beilfuss (Peggy) of New London, Wis.; three grandchildren, Andy and Stephanie (Frey) Beilfuss of Manitowoc, Wis., Bruce and (Denielle) Beilfuss of Shorewood, Wis., and Carley Beilfuss of Ashland, Ore.; eight great-grandchildren; three stepchildren, Jennifer Eager Ehle of Madison, Wis., Leonard Prentice Eager III (Eloise) of Atlanta, Ga., David Eager (Judy) of Mequon, Wis.; three grandchildren, Eloise Oliver Foltz (Michael) and William (Liz) Eager of Atlanta, and Jonathan Prentice Ehle of Madison; and three great-grandchildren in Atlanta.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, Bruce Beilfuss; and daughter, Karen Johnson.
The family would like to give a special thank-you to DeEtte's caregivers, who provided quality care for DeEtte to remain at home.
The funeral will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, at the UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 21 S. Madison St., Evansville, at 10:30 a.m, with lunch to follow and time to visit with family. Burial services will follow the next day in Madison for family only.
Memorial contributions can be made to the United Methodist Church, 21 S. Madison St., Evansville, WI 53536 or the charity of your choice. Please send condolences to www.meredithfuneralhome.com.