Elizabeth “Bette” Agnes Olig
Madison – Bette (Baker) Olig, lovingly known as “Boop” and “Granny Boop” died on April 15, 2017 after suffering a massive stroke at her apartment on April 12, 2017.
She was 92 years old. Bette was born on September 3, 1924 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, the daughter of Leonard John Baker and Mary Agnes Gruenheck. She graduated from St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing (later Rush-Presbyterian) in Chicago and practiced nursing in both Miami and Milwaukee until 1949 when she contracted polio. The disease resulted in permanent damage to her hip, leg, and foot. The disability, though limiting, never stopped her – at the age of 89 she was still able to swim a mile.
Bette married David Alfred Olig in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin on August 26, 1950, and together they celebrated 58 years of marriage before his death in 2008. The family settled in Fond du Lac and in 1959, they invested in Dallman and Cooper, a retail business that sold paint, hardware, housewares, and appliances. On May 5, 1964, the business burned in a spectacular fire and was dissolved. The family then moved to Madison and made it their home.
Bette and Dave were active members of Blessed Sacrament church and the Dominican community, and have been active in many volunteer activities over the years. Up until her late 80s, Bette taught English as a second language at the Catholic Multi-Cultural Center on Madison’s south side. She took great pride in the efforts of her students and loved telling stories of their mutual sharing of each other’s language and culture.
Bette will be remembered for her compassion, warmth, generosity, and her hugs, which were given in the same spirit of love that she embraced as an integral part of her faith. To Bette, everyone was family and everyone got a hug. Her generosity was unlimited and she left behind one last project; an uncompleted prayer shawl. The week before her death, she was reviewing her charitable contributions with her son and summed up the philosophy of her life; “But I have so much, and there are so many who have so little.”
Bette loved her family, the Blessed Sacrament community, playing scrabble with friends, backgammon on her Nook, jigsaw puzzles, and playing the piano. She was an avid reader and a great story teller, even if her stories tended to meander a bit. She had a wonderful smile and a self-deprecating sense of humor, was quick to laugh and horrible at telling a joke.
Bette will be missed by the members of her family. She is survived by her children: Dave (Cathy), Pete (Sheila), Mary (Bill) Drifke, Julie (Kyle) Rentmeester, and Joe; grandchildren: Mike (Jill), Chris (Carly), Alex (Andrea), Matt, Lindsay (Arben), and Bridget Olig, Jessica (David), and Allie Rentmeester; and two great-grandchildren: Will and Quorra. She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews whom she dearly loved and a very close friend of Bette and her family, Sister Martha Wiegand.
She was preceded in death by her husband, a stillborn daughter, Mary Elizabeth, whom she will finally get the chance to hold, her parents, and her sisters: Mary Jeanne O’Brien and Jeanne Agnes Colwin.
Visitation will be held from 3:00-6:00 pm on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at CRESS FUNERAL HOME at 3610 Speedway Road, Madison. A Mass of Christian Burial in celebration of Bette’s life will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, April 24, 2017, at BLESSED SACRAMENT CATHOLIC CHURCH, 2115 Rowley Avenue, Madison, with a visitation one hour prior to the service at the church.
The family requests that memorials be made to Agrace HospiceCare and/or Catholic Multicultural Center, both in Madison.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
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