On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, Marcella Bertelson passed away at home, as she wanted, under the care of her family, with the help of Ascension at Home Hospice.
Most who knew her well are gone too, so the stories of her life, as she liked to share them, seem appropriate here. Marcella was born just outside Madison, Wisconsin to Julius and Clara (Bodeman) Stark during a rare snowstorm at the end of October 1926. It was a time when doctors made house calls and automobiles were not as reliable as they are today, so the doctor arrived by way of horse-drawn carriage. Marcella was baptized in December of that year. Marcella grew up in a family with three brothers, Russell Bodeman, Julius (Sonny) Stark and Donald Stark.
Marcella never lost her fear of deeper water, when as a little girl she almost drowned. Insurance salesmen used to go door to door, and one was walking down the street and happened to notice a little bonnet floating in the nearby creek ... and under that bonnet happened to be little Marcella. As a young girl, Marcella enjoyed visiting the family farms of her grandparents, one near Sun Praire, WI and the other near Deerfield, WI. The family ‘claim to fame’ was that the Sun Praire farmhouse was where artist Georgia O’Keeffe had been born. In 1940, Marcella was confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Madison. After graduating from Madison East H.S. in 1944, Marcella attended Madison College – School of Business Administration and earned a secretarial degree. Her first job afterwards was with the American Automobile Association in Madison, through which she enjoyed many nice trips around America as well as a memorable trip to a new resort in Jamaica via New Orleans, and then had a brief stop in Cuba on the return trip.
While vacationing with friends in the summer of 1950, at a place about an hour from home, Marcella met her soulmate ... his name was John. His family fell in love with Marcella too, but marriage would have to wait, as the Air Force could not. During John’s four years of service, with three in Germany, Marcella got to know her future in-laws very well and the love only grew. Marcella and John were wed in St. John’s Lutheran Church, Madison, with the couple quickly moving to Chicago for John’s further education in electronics. Marcella found employment at the Chicago Motor Club and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of big city life, especially visits to Marshall Field’s. St. Paul, MN was the next destination for Marcella, followed by the Chicago area again, then Racine WI, where the couple was blessed with two boys ... John then James. Back to Madison for a few years before moving to Plover WI, where Marcella remained for the final forty-eight years of her life.
Marcella became a charter member of the Plover-Whiting Lioness Club, rising to the level of President. Her boys were active in the PCYOI, which made Marcella a proud Hockey Mamma. The family became charter members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Plover, in which Marcella remained. Her faith was important, and she considered raising her “little family” as her proudest achievement. Rudyard Kipling once wrote, “God Could Not Be Everywhere, and Therefore He Made Mothers”, but Marcella knew that God was everywhere because He was always in control no matter how crazy life got. Her unconditional love as a mother will be greatly missed, but we look forward to the day we will meet again ... some sunny day. Marcella leaves behind many nieces and nephews who will miss her too ... especially her smile. No services will be held, with burial in Roselawn Memorial Park, Monona, WI, at a later date.