Elsbeth “Baetti” Dobbs Petzold died in her sleep on Dec. 26, 2017, at age 96.
Raised on a dairy farm in Green County, she graduated from Monroe High School and the UW-Madison, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music and education. It was during her time at the university that she met her life’s partner, Robert Petzold, whom she married in 1942, six months before he was deployed to serve in the South Pacific during World War II. Elsbeth taught music in public schools in Nekoosa and Janesville during the war, and following Bob’s honorable discharge shifted her attention to cultivating the musical talents of her children and piano students. Once her children were in school, Elsbeth returned to UW-Madison and was six credits shy of a Master’s degree before turning her focus back to family. In her piano studio, she enjoyed working with numerous young students over many decades. She enjoyed travel, gardening, reading and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Elsbeth made a difference to everyone whose life she touched. She will be remembered for her sense of humor, her spirit and her love of learning.
Elsbeth is survived by four daughters, Susan Carpenter (Dale) of Harpers Ferry, W.V., Sara Petzold (Eneida Sela) of Madison, Cynthia Petzold (Lowell Inhorn) of Roanoke, Va., and Robin Petzold (Al Erickson) of Milwaukee; and four grandchildren, Ross Erickson (Jen Bollero), Kyle Erickson (Emily O’Leary), Meredith Penthorn and Nicholas Penthorn. She was preceded in death by her husband and partner of 57 years, Bob Petzold; sisters, Annabelle Dobbs, Dorothy Williams, Ada Iltis and Martha O’Brien; and parents, W. Lester Dobbs and Louise Luchsinger Dobbs.
In lieu of a formal memorial service, Elsbeth requested that her family gather in a celebration of her life. Donations in Elsbeth’s memory can be made to the Attic Angel Employee Appreciation Fund, 640 Junction Road, Madison, WI 53717.
Elsbeth’s family extends its deepest gratitude to the staff of Attic Angel Place and to Dr. Dennis Maki for their devotion and compassionate care during the final years of her life.