Middleton--Melinda "Mindy" Raye (Bentley) Schwenn, 47, passed away peacefully with her husband by her side at Agrace HospiceCare Wednesday evening, July 23, 2014, after a fierce seven-year fight with colorectal cancer.
Mindy and her twin, Melissa "Missy," were born September 27, 1966 to Lois and Robert (Bob) Bentley in Waupun. As children, the twins were always together, whether at school, figure skating competitively or having fun with friends.
Mindy graduated from Waupun High School in 1984, attended UW Madison for two years and the former Madison Area Technical College where she earned associates degrees in dental assisting and accounting. She later received a bachelor of arts in business from Cardinal Stritch University. She worked for many years as an accountant, primarily at the former Nicolet Instrument Corp. or Siemens (now Bruker AXS).
Mindy met her husband, Troy, 50, in 1986. They married June 11, 1988 at Union Congregational Church in Waupun with a reception at Beaver Dam Country Club. The ceremony included their song, "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King, a promise that would be the foundation for their successful marriage.
They supported each other while navigating pregnancy obstacles that happily led to the birth of three beautiful daughters: Haley, 18, Hannah, 15 and Allison "Allie," 14. Mindy stood by Troy during long hours and leaner times as he started a new business. They worked together to raise their daughters to be strong, caring, and successful young women. Troy stood by Mindy throughout her illness, eventually becoming her protector and constant caregiver, and Mindy helped Troy prepare for the future, so he could finish what they started together.
Mindy's quiet grace and compassion were readily apparent, even to casual acquaintances. Beneath that caring layer, she was determined, strong and organized, which helped her excel in all areas whether putting together an event, running her household or a committee or planning her own healthcare. She was a straight talker when warranted, but with a kindness that kept her words from being harsh. Mindy's purest joy came from being a wife and mother. She was also a world-class shopper and loved redecorating her home, their lake house and their retirement home in Florida, even directing a final project from her bed in Hospice that her brother, Randy, completed to her happy satisfaction.
Mindy faced her diagnosis in June 2007 with her typical strength. As she did before cancer, Mindy always took great care with her appearance no matter how she felt, dressing with class and style every day. Never an attention seeker, she made family events and holidays about others while ensuring every detail was just right. In fact, she put others' comfort above her own, even when at her sickest. She was active in the girls' education as well as serving as a scout leader and attending all their sporting events throughout her illness. She thoughtfully created scrapbook pages for each of her daughter's teammates. Mindy and Troy also made time to travel with the girls to their favorite destinations--including multiple trips to Hawaii, the Bahamas and their Florida home--so they could enjoy the time they had and so the girls would have plenty of memories with laughter and fun. This May, Mindy was thrilled to be able to see Haley graduate from Edgewood High School and, despite declining health, smiled all through the party the next day while visiting with friends and family.
Mindy was a committed fundraiser for cancer, working with her husband, daughters, family and friends to participate in the annual Bowlin' for Colons--often taking up more than half of the bowling alley with Team Schwenn. She was also a spokesperson for the event with local media.
Mindy cherished her husband's love and will be eternally grateful for his unfailingly gentle care and was exceedingly proud of her daughters' patience, strength and dignity throughout her long illness.
In keeping with her integrity and style, Mindy specifically asked that her appreciation be extended to her caring medical team: surgeon Charles Heise, M.D, radiation oncologist, Kristin Bradley, M.D. and oncologist Sam Lubner, M.D. as well as the nurses at UW Hospital including chemotherapy nurse Mary Mulkerin, BSN, R.N. and Annette Plante, RN Case Manager at Agrace HospiceCare. She was very grateful for the help friend Mary Douglas provided throughout her illness, and also wanted to offer heartfelt thanks to her extended family and friends--including their employees at Automation Components, Inc. and the St. Francis and Edgewood communities--for their support, prayers and cards, and making sure her family had meals during treatment and times of illness. She found great solace in the care she received from her parents, twin sister, brother and sister-in-law in the months before her death.
Mindy will be remembered by many, including her husband, Troy, and their children Haley, Hannah and Allison; her parents Lois and Robert (Bob) Bentley, sister Cindy (Bill) Vanderkin of Leesburg, Florida, brother Randy (Kris) Bentley and twin Missy (Chuck) VandeZande, all of Waupun. She is also loved by father-in-law Chuck (Mary Ann) Schwenn and her brothers-in-law, Chad (Ellie) and Trent (Cherish) Schwenn, all of Waunakee. She will be greatly missed by many aunts and uncles as well as nieces, nephews and cousins by birth and by marriage, including god-daughter and niece, Amanda (Mandy) Lemmenes.
She was preceded in death by mother-in-law, Sandy Schwenn, as well as beloved grandparents Gust and Helen Gainacopulos and Earl and Grace Bentley.
A Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m., Monday, July 28 and 10-11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 29 at Middleton Community Church, 645 Schewe Road, Middleton. Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 29, at Middleton Community Church. A luncheon will follow at the church, with interment afterward at Union Cemetery of Vienna near Waunakee.
In lieu of flowers, the family is accepting donations to Haley, Hannah and Allison's college fund in Mindy's honor