When Loretta (Gillis) Cassellius was born, God broke the mold. When she died on January 15, 2013 God took her back and smiled. In her 95 years the woman rarely had a bad day. Her presence always left an impression and she never failed to get the job done – a trait learned growing up as a farm girl.
All will miss her life as an influential teacher and an active member of the Glenwood community, the Catholic Church and so much more. Most of all, she never strayed from being a faithful wife and a strong mother. Loretta lived a life full of vigor, opinion and activity. The world will be a lesser place without her.
She was born Alice Loretta Gillis to Frank and Caroline (Draxler) Gillis at their farm on June 24, 1917. She had an older brother Johnny and a younger sister Rita. She was baptized, confirmed and a life long member of St. John’s Catholic Church.
She attended kindergarten through high school in the Glenwood City Schools. She then went to Dunn County Normal School in Menomonie to become a teacher. As a one-room schoolteacher she taught at Forest, Elm Land and Roddis schools. She always appreciated when a former student would stop by to tell her how she had influenced their lives. She truly lived her life helping others.
On November 25, 1939 she married Clarence Cassellius and they moved to an 80-acre dairy farm in the town of Glenwood where they lived for 44 years. She was a stay at home mom while she raised four children: Jean Marie, David, Michael, and Carmon. She and her family were active in 4-H, she headed the Bushy Lakers 4-H Club. She spent 11 years as secretary to the Town Clerk. After the kids were grown, she taught at St. John’s Parochial School for one year and then substituted at Clayton Public Schools for 23 years.
Clarence and Loretta sold the farm to their son Michael and moved to Glenwood City in 1983. Here she was active in many organizations; Women’s Club, Community Club, Sunny Slope Homemakers, President of the City Library Board, the County Library Board (she loved books), Secretary of the Glenhaven Board, Secretary of the Local Senior Citizen Board, Historical Society Secretary, (they must have thought she had great typewriting skills) St .Croix County board for the aging, President of Catholic Christian Women, Rustic Lore Queen along with her King Clarence, and she taught CCD classes. One of her favorite duties was to be the Fortune Teller at the Rustic Lore Days. The kids were always amazed at how many secrets she knew. How could she possibly know that their bed wasn’t made at home? She had been around Glenwood City so long that she became a source for many historical questions from Carlton Dewitt of the local newspaper and many others. She would always check her answers with Leon Gavic, but now that they both are gone we better have recorded what they told us!
She loved the simple things in life. She loved to teach, crochet, garden, bake, play piano, go up town for coffee with the girls, play cards, but most of all she loved it when the grandchildren stopped by for a cropher, or maybe a shower, or to use her car, or just to stop by. Her life was very active and fulfilled thanks to all the people that touched her life. She loved to cook for others, she enjoyed family get-togethers at her home, she enjoyed volunteering and she loved traveling with her husband.
She is survived by her sister Rita Angell and three of her four children, thirteen grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.
David (Joan) Cassellius: Monty Cassellius; Kelsey (Diane) Cassellius: Lauren, Sam, Ben, William, Chase; Jarrard Law; Carey (Chris) Sang: Hannah, Ainsley
Michael (Lynne’) Cassellius: Adam Cassellius (Brianna Hilliker – fiancée); Graham (Jen) Cassellius; Alyssa Cassellius; Samantha (Geoffrey) Phillipps: Collin
Carmon (Keith) Hill: Jeanna (Trevor) Tinus: Teagan, Aubrie; Corliss (Randy) Iwanski: Jackson, Beckett, Rylinn; Roberta (Jake) Finer
and children of Jean Marie: Bev (Chad) Hewitt: Nathan, Julia; Greg (Shelia) Sumner: Gavin
and many more relatives and a whole lot of friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Caroline Gillis; brother, Johnny; her husband of 56 years, Clarence; daughter, Jean Marie Sumner; grandson, Rockie; and brother-in-law, Gerald Angell.
She was a great role model for us all and of course we all want to be as healthy as she was for so long! She truly will be missed.
The funeral service for Loretta was held at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, 2013. Visitation was held from 5-7 p.m. Friday, January 18. Interment to be in St. John’s Catholic Cemetery. Father Leonard Fraher was the celebrant.
Anderson Funeral Home of Glenwood City handled the arrangements.