MADISON—Diane Klemme Christensen Thusius passed away on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. She was born in Sheboygan Falls on Aug. 1, 1931, the daughter of Herbert and Eleanor (Boll) Klemme. She is survived by her three children, Kathy Christensen (Jim McGhee), Kristi (Dan) Kanitz and Tracy (Keith) Kosbau; her grandchildren, Becky Kanitz, Jessica (Tyler) Burkart, Ben Kosbau, Ryan Kanitz and Blake Kanitz; her great-grandchild, Edwin Burkart; and her brother, Donald (Janet) Klemme. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dexter Thusius; and her brothers, Charles (Sue) Klemme and David Klemme.
Diane grew up on a dairy farm and helped her mother take care of her three younger brothers. Growing up on the farm, she learned the value of hard work but also learned a sense of creativity from her mother who knitted, wrote songs, and made beautiful wedding cakes. She graduated from UW-Stout in Menomonie in 1955, and married John Christensen that same year. Diane was a Home Economics teacher for over 35 years. She taught at several schools in Madison, with the majority of her career spent teaching at Sennett Middle School and La Follette High School. She loved teaching cooking, sewing, child development, marriage and the family, and team teaching special ed home ec classes. She enjoyed teaching and helping young people develop skills that would help them thrive in their adult life.
Diane was divorced from her first husband John Christensen, in 1973. She felt that her greatest accomplishment was raising her three daughters as a single parent and seeing them graduate from college, graduate school and medical school. Diane was very active in Parents Without Partners and the Madison Area Singles Council. She was a longtime member of Lake Edge United Church of Christ. Diane also enjoyed teaching an American cooking class to foreign students at the Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel. After retiring from teaching in 1991, she worked part-time as house manager for a group home in Madison for several years.
Diane married Dexter Thusius, the love of her life, in 1997 at the age of 66. Diane and Dex spent many wonderful years together and went on many trips together, including a honeymoon in Russia. Diane resided at Oakwood Village East in Madison since the facility first opened, first in an independent living apartment and then in assisted living facilities there. She has many wonderful friends who are residents, staff or volunteers at Oakwood. While at Oakwood, Diane was involved in many activities including singing in the church choir, helping to manage the Village Mercantile store, being on the dining services committee and participating in the many music and cultural programs that Oakwood offered.
Funeral services will be held at OAKWOOD VILLAGE EAST PRAIRIE RIDGE, 5565 Tancho Drive, Madison, at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, with luncheon to follow. Burial will be at Highland Memory Gardens. Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, and at OAKWOOD from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Monday.
Diane loved God, her family, friends, music, travel, new experiences and life. She will be remembered for her love, kindness, strength, sense of humor and determination to thrive in spite of the challenges she faced. She was deeply loved and will be dearly missed. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.