Maria Ann Wenzel

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Maria Ann Wenzel, 64, of Prairie du Chien, and longtime resident of La Crosse, passed away on July 20, in Racine. 

She was born on Nov. 19, 1950 in Winona, Minn. to Bruno and Antoinette (Sykora) Wenzel. She grew up with five brothers and two sisters in Chippewa Falls.

She was a graduate of Chippewa Falls High School. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. She taught for two years in Athens, Wis. Then she moved to La Crosse where she taught eighth grade English and Spanish at Longfellow Middle School for 35 years, teaching the children of several of her students. She served for many years as a board member on the Wisconsin Education Association Council.

She loved the outdoors, camping and photography. She worked summers as a Park Ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho and Fort Union Trading Post  in Montana and North Dakota. Before and after her retirement from teaching, she worked as a Park Ranger and Interpretive Ranger at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Harpers Ferry, for about 10 years. She used her photography skills and her interest in technology to update the monument’s Facebook page. She enjoyed taking school groups on tours of the historic site; assisted with the Moonlight Hikes program; played a major role in organizing the annual Kids’ Archeology Day in August; and encouraged many students to participate in the National Park Service Junior Ranger program.

She is survived by three brothers, Robert (Lynn) of Menomonee Falls, William (Jean) of Albuquerque, N.M. and Philip (Rowena) of Littleton, Colo.; two sisters, Paula (Terry) Nelson of Elk Mound and Peggy (Michael Gerard) Lea of Racine; and seven nieces and nephews, Adam, Andrew, Kiersten, Kimberly, Matt, Nick and Tim.

She is preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Daniel and John Wenzel.

A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Chippewa Falls. Rev. Ed Shuttleworth will be the celebrant. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery, Chippewa Falls.

Cards of condolence may be sent to Wenzel Family, 5033 Indian Hills Drive, Racine, WI 53406.

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