WAUNAKEE—Cynthia Mae (Brumund) (Smith) Caldwell died in the early hours of Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, from Alzheimer’s, shortly after her 71st birthday. She was born on Aug. 16, 1946, to Alvin Lorenz Brumund and Dorthe Mae Maxwell Brumund, the second of three daughters, in Waukegan, Ill. Cyndy was a compassionate and happy daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, mother-in-law and friend. She will be so very missed by her extended family and numerous friends; her death is a great sadness to a large number of people. She grew up riding horses and was the best rider of us all; she could ride and tame any horse her Grandpa Maxwell entrusted to her. She owned horses for many years and taught numerous people to ride, no matter their ability or disability. She was also an excellent swimmer, the breaststroke being her favorite stroke, and was an “A” student all the way through college. She was a lover of animals and people alike, collecting lost souls to care for from a young age.
With a degree in Physical Therapy from Indiana University, she carried that compassion into her 40-year career as a physical therapist, first for burn victims at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and the UW-Madison Hospital and Clinics, and then for children with disabilities for the Madison Metropolitan School District along with her co-worker and dear friend, Pam Erlanger. She loved her students and was their advocate for both their physical and emotional needs. She was highly respected—and loved—by colleagues, parents, and school staff. During the summer, she worked as a physical therapist for the Waunakee Manor and other area nursing homes, providing relief and comfort to the elderly. After her retirement from the Madison Metropolitan School District, she worked as a physical therapist for the Lodi and DeForest School Districts as well as continuing at the Waunakee Manor.
Cyndy married Bruce Keith Smith on July 7, 1973, right on the front lawn of their home. Bruce and Cyndy loved doing what made them happy, and that included raising three children together, Rachel (nee Brumund-Smith) Tygum and twin boys Keith and John Brumund-Smith, out in the country in Dane, Wis., until Bruce’s death from cancer on May 4, 2002. She was a devoted mother, lead cheerleader for her children’s activities, a loving wife and a joyful sister. Cyndy’s pride and joy were her children; she and Bruce travelled all over the United States to watch them perform in swimming and track competitions. She was even known to compete herself—swimming in the Badger State Games and also for the local swim team coached by her daughter and son-in-law. She later married John Caldwell on Aug. 19, 2006. They combined families and lived happily together in Dane until Cyndy’s death. John and Cyndy were devoted to each other and travelled to many national parks because they were Cyndy’s favorite places. John took loving care of Cyndy during her illness and kept her at home with him until shortly before her death. Cyndy welcomed John’s sons, Brandon and Brian Caldwell, into her life as if they had been family all along. She had a way of making everyone feel like family. In her later years, Cyndy earned her most favored title—Grandma! She loved her grandchildren fiercely, attending almost all of their school and sporting events whether it be a soccer game, gymnastics class, holiday program, or swim lessons.
Cyndy loved many things—running, hiking, swimming, being outdoors, her horses and dogs, peace signs, chocolate, reading, travelling, and her family. Cyndy stood for many things—being kind, promoting justice, fairness, equality, and education for all, standing up for people who couldn’t stand up for themselves, and doing the right thing, even if it wasn’t easy.
She is survived by her husband, John of Dane; children, Rachel (Bill) Tygum of Waunakee, John (Elizabeth) Brumund-Smith of Kenosha, Keith (Irma) Brumund-Smith of Gallatin Gateway, Mont., Brandon Caldwell of Mazomanie, and Brian (Mandy) Caldwell of Windsor. She is also survived by grandchildren, Molly, Lucy, and Sally Tygum, and Soren Caldwell; sisters and in-laws, Charon (Greg) Neul of Antioch, Ill., Loralee Brumund of Madison, Diane Sironen of Utah, Tom and Gerald Koop of Minnesota; cousins, Donna Lynn Rasmussen, Carl (Janice) Wangman, and Eric Wangman; and many well-loved nieces, nephews, and other family members.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bruce K. Smith; her parents and grandparents; brother, A.J. Brumund; cousin, Lee Wangman; and in-laws, Larry Smith, Wendy Koop, Beverly Koop, Gordy Sironen, and Douglas Rasmussen. A most heartfelt thank you goes to daughter Rachel and her husband, Bill, who took unceasing care of Cyndy and managed the logistics of letting her live life to the fullest until she passed. Special thanks goes to the staff at Stoughton Hospital’s Geriatric Psychiatry ward who gave Cyndy the love and care she needed, and had a never-ending supply of cookies and ice cream on hand for Cyndy.
A Funeral Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, at WINN-CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 5785 Highway Q, Waunakee, with a visitation from 12 noon until the time of service. Burial will take place at Union Cemetery of Vienna in Dane, with a Celebration of Life following at Westbridge Park in Waunakee.
Flowers and notes are welcome and donations in her name can be made towards Alzheimer’s or Cancer research, or to the Waunakee Neighborhood Connection. What Cyndy would really like, and what she did every day, is for everyone to perform acts of kindness. Donate to a local food pantry or shelter, donate to pay off overdue lunch accounts at your local school, extend a helping hand to someone in need, or simply give someone the benefit of the doubt.
Please share your memories at www.CressFuneralService.com.
Funeral and Cremation Service
5785 Highway Q, Waunakee