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Julia E. (Ingle) "Betty" KeisterJanuary 22, 1931 ~ December 17, 2017 (age 86)
Julia Elizabeth Keister, 86, of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin passed away peacefully on December 17, 2017 surrounded by her loving family. Julia was born on January 22, 1931 in Wauzeka, Wisconsin on “The Weniger Farm” owned by her beloved grandfather and widower, Freiderick Weniger. Julia shared many fond memories of growing up on the farm and spending time with her grandfather and would cherished those memories for the rest of her life. Upon her grandfather’s unexpected death in 1940, Julia’s whole family packed up and moved to Harold, South Dakota where they farmed for a few years before Julia’s father began his career in logging.
The family moved frequently, living in various logging camps across The Black Hills and parts of Wyoming for many years. Julia met and married Percy Willard Gibson and the couple had three children, Mark, Miles and Janet. They later divorced, and Julia’s parents, children and siblings moved back to Prairie du Chien in 1953.
By 1955 Julia met and married Donald William Keister, originally of Maiden Rock, Wisconsin. They had three children, Eugene William, Roger Lynn, and Brenda Louise. Julia worked as a bartender for many years at the Winneshiek Night Club in Prairie du Chien, then located on St. Feriole Island and owned by Leo and Florence Webber.
1964 the family suffered a great tragedy when they lost their 6-year-old son, Roger, to drowning after he fell through the ice in the slough near their home. Julia later stopped bartending and became a full-time homemaker. She spent a lot of time cooking, gardening and especially loved going fishing with her husband and children. Of all the wonderful food she cooked Julia was best known for her deep-fried catfish, grilled chicken, and the best fried hamburgers in the world according to all her grandchildren.
In their later years Julia and Donald enjoyed spending time with their grandchildren and great grandchildren but one special grandchild, Preston, held a special place in their hearts. Preston lived most of his life with his grandparents and made them feel young again. However, Julia suffered yet more tragedies when her son, Eugene William Keister, died unexpectedly after a short battle with cancer in 2003, at the age of 46, followed less than a year later by the loss of her husband Donald in 2004. This amazing young man, Preston, became a tremendous help to his grandmother helping her get her through those tough days and years that followed.
With Preston’s help Julia was able to remain living in her own home until she was 84-years-old when she moved into an assisted living facility. During the two years that Julia lived in the facility, Preston rarely missed a day visiting her and in the end, he remained at her side almost around the clock ensuring he was always there if she needed a sip of water, her hair brushed, or just someone to hold her hand. He was her rock and she was his until the very end.
Julia is survived by two sons, Mark Willard Gibson of PDC, and Miles (Roberta) Gibson of Wauzeka, Wisconsin, two daughters, Janet Elaine (Late Duane) Kramer of PDC, Brenda (Glenn) Troendle of Harpers Ferry, Iowa, two brothers, John LaVern, and Clarence “Buzz” (Late Anne) Ingle both of Huron South Dakota, and a sister, Mary Katheryn Bailey of Ireton, Iowa, and many grandchildren, great-grand children and great-great grandchildren.
Julia was preceded in death by her parents, Mark and Juanita Ingle, her husband Donald, two sons, Roger and Eugene, half-brother Raymond Wagner, Robert “Bobby” James Ingle, George Matthew Ingle, Joseph F. Ingle, one sister Myrtle Marie (Late Calvin) Scott, son-in-law, Duane (Janet) Kramer, one grandchild David Kramer, and two great-grand children, Brett Kramer, and Megan Mason.
According to her wishes, Julia’s body has been cremated. The family will conduct a graveside funeral at a later date. The Garrity Funeral Home is assisting the family.