Beatrice Ann (Delonay) Pittsley, 103, was born Dec. 20, 1917, in her family’s farm house in the township of Hewitt (northeast of Wausau, WI), to Thomas and Hilda (Schlei) Delonay. She passed away in the early morning of March 9, 2021, in Marshfield, WI. Beatrice was born the 5th of 9 children. Despite being the last survivor of her siblings, she continued to hold the memories of them close to her heart.
Mom’s 103 years provided many experiences that never swayed her from faith and family. She had a feisty spirit and a kind heart. She is part of the greatest generation who lived through much of our country’s history and through many war eras that sent family and friends (WWII), and even a son, (Wayne-Vietnam) to foreign lands. These 103 years not only saw great change for Mom, but also contained many memories and many stories.
Mom tells of how she was small at birth and was kept in a shoebox atop the wood heated stove, obviously aspiring a long, healthy life. The sadness of losing her Dad when she was only 11 years of age, yet remembering and sharing stories of lessons he taught her – such as identifying nature and its behaviors in regards to the weather. Talk of her Dad running lumber camps and the men of those camps nicknaming her “Petey” – a name that stuck throughout her lifetime.
Petey was a nanny from the ages of 16-21. She became a maid servant during the ages of 21-26, spending that time in the Chicago (Evanston), IL, area. In June of 1943, she joined her sister, Clara, in Milwaukee, WI, sharing an upper apartment in their brother Omar’s house. Petey took employment in Milwaukee with Badger Meter, MFG, joining the war effort, manufacturing bomb fuses.
On a trip back to the Wausau area to visit her Mother, Petey met Roger Pittsley. They were married in January of 1947, sharing 49 years together until Dad’s passing on July 16, 1996. Their marriage brought many moves around Wisconsin, with their three sons each born in a different town. Their first home was in Wausau, where Son Wayne grew the family to three. From Wausau, they moved on to Milwaukee, where Scott was born. The family of four moved to Janesville, adding a third Son, Kevin, rounding out their family to five. As Petey’s packing skills improved, the family moved on to Marshfield, Beaver Dam and back to Marshfield, where they rooted their family.
Mom’s greatest role in life was raising her family and being a housewife. Through the years, she would do odd jobs to help provide extras for our family (including family vacations), including the Beaver Dam cannery and Beaver Dam raceway.
Once footed in Marshfield, Mom worked at Marshfield Senior High School (1977-1988), supervising the Commons – where the students knew her as Bea. Bea took her responsibilities seriously, sparing no misbehaviors (including her Sons). This was more than a job for Bea, this was a passion, being with the kids. This job warmed her heart beyond her retirement, as she run into students out in the community, with many stopping to talk.
Roger and Petey were blessed on their 45th wedding anniversary with their first granddaughter, Katrina. Petey was a first-time Grandma at age 75. The future would bless her with two more grandchildren, this time boys, Malcolm and Leo. With these grandkids came many stories from Grandma.
The stories of her, along with her sisters and friends “dancing with the fellas” at Fort Sheridan. Responding to those same G.I.’s (fellas) letters as they wrote during their deployments. She shared many stories, too, of her days of working in Chicago and Milwaukee as a young lady.
Mom and Dad were very involved with many groups during their marriage, and participated to the fullest. They were active members of Faith Lutheran Church, North Wood County Historical Society (Upham Mansion), U.C.T. & MACCI Redcoats, just to name a few.
Bea loved to walk! She would walk the Middle School track – lane 8 – eight times around. She said that’s where she did her daily prayers. In later years, she walked 4th floor at the Marshfield Clinic, forming new friendships with the staff. Those same friends surprised her with a 100th birthday celebration.
Petey reached many milestones in her life. One of great pride was her travel to 49 of the 50 states (Sorry, Alaska). She traveled with Roger during their marriage and later with her Son, Wayne. She found joy in dancing, gardening, playing cards, sewing & knitting, amongst other things.
Surviving Beatrice are her Sons, Wayne of Marshfield, Scott (Cindy Bloczynski) of Madison, WI, and Kevin (Melissa) of Marshfield; Grandchildren, Katrina (Dan) of Milwaukee, Malcolm (Tamara) of Milwaukee, Leo of River Falls, and Ian, Jessica, Sylvia and Morgan (Bloczynski) of Madison.
Beatrice was preceded in death by her husband, Roger; parents, Thomas and Hilda Delonay; siblings, Omar, Violet “Vi,” Dorothy, Milton, Clara, David, Harold and Virginia; Roger’s parents, Zenus and Gladys; and brother, Carroll, Sr. and his wife, Mildred; and many nieces and nephews.
The funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, March 15, 2021, at Faith Lutheran Church in Marshfield with Pastor Nancy Amacher officiating. Burial will take place at Restlawn Memorial Park in Wausau. Visitation will be from 4 – 7 p.m. Sunday at the Hansen-Schilling Funeral Home, 1010 E. Veterans Parkway in Marshfield.
In Lieu of Flowers those wishing to express their sympathies are encouraged to do so in Beatrice's name to Faith Lutheran Church in Marshfield.
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