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- Eileen Gander
- Date of Death:
- Nov 8, 2010
- Location of Service:
- Stafford Funeral Home - Richland Center
Eileen L. Gander, age 76, Muscoda died Monday, November 8, 2010 at The Richland Hospital after a two year battle with cancer. She was born May 27, 1934 on her grandfather William Rayner's farm at North Clayton in Crawford County, WI. Her parents were Myrtle (Rayner) Gander and the late Winston D. Gander, who had died six months before her birth. Eileen, her mother, and her sister Barbara lived on the Rayner home farm until Myrtle married Carroll Craig in 1940 and the new family moved to the farm of Carroll's father. As soon as they were old enough Eileen and Barbara helped operate the various dairy farms the family lived on.
After Barbara moved to Madison in 1954 prior to her marriage in 1955, Eileen became the only "hired hand" for milking the cows, doing the related chores and performing tractor work in the fields. Additionally, she helped her mother with tending their ever-present huge vegetable garden and strawberry beds along with canning and freezing of the produce.
In 1954 Eileen became a licensed taxidermist and remained licensed for more than 50 years. She ran a small taxidermy business along with full-time farming and her many other hobbies. For over forty years she entered exhibits at local fairs and festivals where she was well known for her photography, flower arranging, ink drawings, hand-colored photos, woodworking and various other crafts. She was also the co-superintendent of the Viola horse and colt show for over 20 years. Several years ago, Eileen won a contest to design a new logo for the Richland Hospital, which is still in use today.
After they retired from farming, Eileen cared for her invalid parents for eight years as their health declined until Carroll’s death in 1993 followed by Myrtle’s in 1996. Then after 24 years of family ownership of their Viola area farm, Eileen sold the farm in 1998 and moved into town for the first time in her life at the age of 64. She bought the house next door to her sister in Muscoda and began working with Barbara at Lands' End. She worked there until her retirement in 2005 at age 71.
Eileen and Barbara became certified master gardeners in 1998 after Eileen moved in next door. For the next 12 years they spent much of their time working together planting trees, berries, perennials and a natural prairie on their adjoining lots in Muscoda until Barbara’s death in April of 2010.
Her survivors include one niece, Susan (Michael) Maskaleris of Waldorf, Maryland;
three nephews: Garry Thomas of Muscoda, Ron Thomas of Richland Center, and Bob (Angi) Thomas of Holmen, WI; grandnieces and grandnephews; Whitney Thomas of Richland center, Caleb and Ethan Thomas of Holmen, WI, and Alex and Allison Maskaleris of Waldorf, MD; other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents and by her only sister Barbara.According to Eileen’s wishes there will be no memorial or funeral services. There will be a private burial in the Muscoda Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the family in care of Garry Thomas in Muscoda. The Stafford Funeral Home in Richland Center is assisting the family with arrangements.
- Location of Services:
- Stafford Funeral Home
- 1235 U.S. Hwy 14 West
- Richland Center