Mildred Ruth Adkins (nee Rosenthal), 91, passed away surrounded by her loving family at the Morrow Memorial Home in Sparta, Wis., on Friday, September 28. She was born January 20, 1921, in West Baraboo, Wis., to Reinhold and Rena Rosenthal (Brandt). Their family then moved to Cambria, Wis., where her father owned and operated a general store. When the Great Depression forced the business to close, her family moved to nearby Columbus, Wis. Mildred graduated with honors in Columbus High School's class of 1938. She then earned an undergraduate degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and did graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her long teaching career began in Wausau, Wis. At the beginning of World War II, she and lifelong friend Ruth Grimm ventured to California to work in a munitions plant. She returned to Columbus and worked at the Badger Ordinance plant in Baraboo, Wis., for the duration of the war. At the end of World War II, Mildred married Billy J. Adkins of Martinsville, Ind., on August 30, 1949, in Columbus, Wis., upon his return from service in the U.S. Army, fighting in the Pacific Ocean theatre. Mildred accepted teaching jobs as Billy's many military assignments took the couple throughout the United States and Germany. His Army retirement in 1963 brought them back to Columbus, Wis., where they raised their two children, David and Jim Adkins. Mildred resumed teaching in Columbus, Wis., and retired from Marquette Elementary School in Madison in 1983. She continued substitute teaching for many years following her retirement and moved to Sparta, Wis., in 2007. She touched many young lives during her career as a kindergarten teacher and took great pride in her former students' successes. She nurtured friendships with many and especially enjoyed receiving their holiday cards and notes. Mildred was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother and great-grandmother, and was especially devoted to supporting her four adoring granddaughters in all things. Instilling a lifelong love of learning and nurturing a deep appreciation for life itself are among her many gifts to them. They will keep her memory alive and do their best to always meet her high expectations. Her family and friends will miss her storytelling and quick wit. Mildred had a close relationship with her only sibling, brother Eugene Rosenthal. They loved their car rides together, enjoying the beauty of Wisconsin. She cherished all of the friendships formed throughout her husband's service years and her teaching career. During her retirement years, she was an avid reader, enjoyed card-playing and wintered in Florida, Texas and California with Billy.
Mildred was preceded in death by her husband Billy, brother, Eugene and her parents. Mildred is survived by sons David, Corinth, Miss., and Jim (Paula) Adkins, Sparta, Wis.; grandson Ian Adkins, Killeen, Texas; granddaughters Laura (Nick) Rowlett, Sparta, Wis., Sarah (Elliott) Gleiss, Madison, Courtney Adkins (s/o Mike Thomas), Indianapolis, and Carolyn (Paul) Boettcher, Green Bay; beloved niece and nephews Deb Dierksmeier, Lake Mills, Wis., John Rosenthal, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and Keith Rosenthal,Onalaska, Wis.
A memorial service will be held at 11:30 A.M. on Saturday, October 13, 2012 at the funeral home with visitation beginning at 10:00 A.M. Rev. Robert Wilke will officiate. Inurnment will be in Hillside Cemetery, Columbus. Memorial donations will help to fund a scholarship in her name at Columbus High School.