Jessie Thomas Wievel
Jessie Thomas Wievel, 94, Stevens Point, passed away Dec.
26, 2016, at the Portage County Health Care Center with members of her loving
family at her side.
A memorial service for her will be held Tuesday, May 23, at
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Stevens Point. Visitation will begin at
10 a.m. with the service starting at 11 a.m. The Rev. Howard Hintzman will
officiate. A private burial is to follow in Linwood Union Cemetery.
Jessie was born Feb. 18, 1922, to the late Lee and Olive
(Baker) Thomas in Pineville, La.
She attended local grade schools and graduated from
Winnfield High School in Winnfield, La., at the age of 16.
She then went on to receive a bachelor of science degree
from Louisiana Tech in Ruston and a master’s in child development from Iowa
State University in Ames.
While at Iowa State, she taught a number of courses both
before and after graduation.
Jessie wed Bernard Fidelis “Friday” Wievel of Platteville Sept.
16, 1944, in Ames and they remained happily married for 66 years. Bernard
preceded her in death in 2010.
In 1947, the couple moved to Stevens Point after Bernard was
hired by Fred Schmeeckle to teach conservation at the local college, thereby
becoming the second member of what is now the University of Wisconsin-Stevens
Point’s (UWSP) acclaimed Natural Resources Department.
Jessie also taught briefly in Stevens Point before leaving
the profession to begin a family, to which she remained deeply devoted for the
rest of her life.
A congenial, gracious woman with a radiant smile, Jessie
never lost the sense of Southern hospitality she acquired growing up in her
Jessie enjoyed reading, the arts, traveling, sewing,
walking, antiquing and watching sports. She especially liked Milwaukee Brewers
baseball and UWSP Pointers and Wisconsin Badgers basketball.
She appreciated all types of music and often listened to Elvis
Presley, Patsy Cline and Lawrence Welk to name just a few. Songs of the
Christmas season by, among others, Mahalia Jackson and Linda Ronstadt, were
great joys to her.
Her major dislike was Wisconsin’s frigid winters.
A faithful member of the St. Paul’s United Methodist
congregation, Jessie was also active in the Association of University Women,
P.E.O. Chapter 1 (from 1966 until her passing), the Charles M. White Library
Board, the Wisconsin Valley Library Board and the Art League. Other
affiliations included the Fortnightly Study Club and the Portage County
Historical Society, of which she was a longtime member.
Additionally, she volunteered and drove for Meals on Wheels
in the Stevens Point area for more than 30 years.
An ironic twist in Jessie’s family background is that she
was a distant relative of Abraham Lincoln on her mother’s side while her
paternal grandfather fought for the Confederacy and was wounded during the
historic Battle of Shiloh.
In her various roles as wife, mother, grandmother, friend
and neighbor she touched and enriched many lives during her nearly 95 years on
Earth, and she will be dearly missed.
Jessie is survived by sons, Randall, Thomas Jeb (Karla) and
Herbert, all of Stevens Point; a daughter Beth (Bruce) Slapper, Gilbert, Ariz;
five grandchildren, Garret and Landry Slapper, Tempe, Ariz.; Dr. Tess (Ryan)
Williams, Thermopolis, Wyo.; Emily Wievel, Bend, Ore.; and Jacob Wievel, New
Her sole great-grandchild is Noah Fidelis Williams of
“Miss Jessie,” as she was affectionately known by her
Southern friends, also leaves four step-great-grandchildren in Thermopolis plus
numerous nephews, nieces and other relatives scattered around the country. This
includes precious sister-in-law Pat Thomas of Alexandria, La., whose uplifting
phone calls never failed to boost her spirits.
Jessie’s parents, husband and three brothers, Lee, Herbert
and Tris, preceded her in death.
The Wievel family would like to thank all of the wonderful
caregivers at the Portage County Home and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield
who were so important and inspirational to Jessie while she was a resident.
Boston Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements and
condolences may be made online at www.bostonfuneralhome.net.