Barbara Ann Stepper

Barbara Ann Stepper

VERONA – Barbara Ann Stepper, age 78, died on Friday, August 17, 2012.

Barbara Stepper (Hodges-Hipenbecker) daughter of Velma and Ronald Hodges and stepdaughter of Ralph Hipenbecker was born on December 12, 1933 at Cook Co. hospital in Chicago, Ill.

Barbara grew up in Chicago with her mother, her aunt Betty and aunt Mary, her cousins, Elayne and Gerry just like one big family.

In 1944, Barbara and her mother moved to Monfort, Wis., to be near Barbara’s grandparents. Later they moved to Fennimore after her mother married Ralph Hipenbecker and Barbara gained a new brother, Ralph Hipenbecker Jr.

Barbara was gifted. She excelled at fine arts, including theater, and music. She shared her talents with others by participating in bands, plays, and musicals. She created drawings and art pieces for family, friends, and the community.

While in high school, Barbara established a reputation for serious fun: like the time she put a picnic table in the middle of Main Street in Fennimore and directed traffic for laughs. Barbara would continue such antics throughout her life.

On February 6, 1954, Barbara married Fredrick J. Stepper, of Fennimore, Wis. The city girl married the farm boy. Two children followed, Debra Ann and Daniel Joseph.

Barbara raised her family with love threw fun filled days of education, travel and water sports. There were special times of camping, educational events, visits to museums, entertaining family and friends, and playing euchre. Barbara’s activities also included the Carry Chair Theater Company, Newcomers Club, Girl Scouts, and the Fennimore Community Theater.

Barbara spared no effort to maintain and keep family connections strong. She will always be remembered as a wonderful mother who was involved in all her children’s activities along with teaching them how to follow their dreams and love themselves.

When her children reached high school age, Barbara went to work for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Her career there lasted 21 years and she retired in 1994.

While the children were in High School, Barbara’s house would be full of teenagers acting like teenagers and she loved it. Some of those teenagers remained close friends with Barbara for the rest of her life.

Barbara and Frederick spent much of their time traveling. They both loved adventure and history. Their travels took them to many interesting places around the world.

She loved becoming a grandmother to Andrew Stepper, Katie Stepper and Derek Heidenreich. Her new title as a grandmother fit her well. She gave her grandchildren many opportunities in life. She inspired in them the same values as she had done in her own children.

Everyone enjoyed having Barbara around because of her gentleness, sense of humor, acceptance of others, ability to have fun, to console others, to try new things, and to dance the night away.

Barbara was preceded in death by her father, Ronald Hodges; infant daughter, Mary Ann Stepper; her mother, Velma Hipenbecker; step father, Ralph Hipenbecker; and sister-in-law, Mary (Novinski) Hipenbecker.

Barbara is survived by her husband, Fred Stepper; and brother, Ralph Hipenbecker; along with her children, Debra (Dennis) Heidenreich, and Dan (Sharon) Stepper; grandchildren, Andrew (Lindsey) Stepper, Katie Stepper and Derek Heidenreich; her nieces and nephew, Annett (Mike) Barrett, Robert (Cherry) Hipenbecker, Lisa (Steve) Amidei, and Diane Hipenbecker; along with many grandnieces and grandnephews

We Love You Barbie Doll (their boat was named Barbie Doll)

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, at ST. JOHN NEPOMUC CATHOLIC CHURCH, 15055 Shemak Rd., Muscoda (on Castle Rock Ridge). Inurnment will follow at Fennimore Cemetery at 3:30 p.m. A visitation will be held from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, at RYAN FUNERAL HOME, VERONA CHAPEL, 220 Enterprise Drive, with a Memorial presentation from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. Please bring a memory to share during the presentation. An additional visitation will also be held from 10:30 a.m. until the time of Mass at the church on Saturday.