Yvonne Herlitzka

June 20th, 1930 – March 10th, 2024

Yvonne Lou Feggestad Herlitzka was born on June 20th, 1930 and died on March 10th, 2024 at age 93 in Grand Blanc, Michigan. She was the sixth of nine children born to two Norwegian immigrants on a farm in rural Wisconsin. For all the hardship her parents faced during the Great Depression, Yvonne only remembered the good times: her mother curling her hair with dishrags, Christmas pageants, sleigh rides to school, and a rich social life at the Lutheran Church.

She left home at age 16 to work as hired help for a family in Stoughton, Wisconsin. She participated in forensics club and performed the lead in the class play in high school. Yvonne earned a scholarship from the Rotary Club and attended UW Madison where she studied Biology and Botany. Her degree inspired a lasting admiration for nature, as she was known for her love of orchids and vibrant gardens.

Yvonne worked part-time as a secretary in the surgery department where she accepted a blind date with a medical student. Al Herlitzka fell for Yvonne’s kindness, intelligence, and famous wry sense of humor, and they married in 1951. Their honeymoon to Yellowstone marked the beginning of a 67 year love affair. The love and devotion they had for each other was shared equally with the children they raised and her home was welcoming to all who would visit.

For all her wit and humor, Yvonne was equal parts respectful and gracious, and treated her community like family. She was creative, playful and enjoyed planning and attending themed parties.

Yvonne had an eye for aesthetic. Her appreciation for beauty was evident in the art she collected, her well-decorated home, her tasteful wardrobe, and her signature earrings. She was a formidable card player through her nineties, and remained tech- savvy in order to stay close with her grandchildren. She volunteered her time as an active 60 year member of PEO Chapter IY/IA, a member of the YWCA board, a deacon at First Presbyterian Church, and a trustee at the MacNider Museum.

Above all: Yvonne was a living example of selflessness, humility, and kindness. She is preceded in death by her infant son James Edward, her husband Alfred John, her parents, (Alfred and Helga), six of her Feggestad siblings (Clifford (Ardyce) Feggestad, Irene Hardie, Ruth (Lloyd) Stokstad, Arden Feggestad, Audrey (Burton) Smith, Delaine Feggestad). Yvonne is survived by her children. Nancy (Tom) Kelly, Alan (Ina) Herlitzka, Lynn (Scott) Garner and David (Ann) Herlitzka. Grandchildren Grant and Austin Kelly, Arthur and Isaac Herlitzka, Graham, Meredith and Blair Garner, and Meghan and Edward Herlitzka. Sister Nina Barker, Brother Rollin Feggestad.

A memorial service will be held at the Sons of Norway Lodge in Stoughton WI on Saturday, March 23rd at 11am with lunch to follow .

Yvonne will be interred at the Arlington National Cemetery with her husband. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to MacNider Art Museum in Mason City, Iowa or First Presbyterian Church in Mason City, Iowa.

***Mandt Lodge-317 South Page Street, Stoughton, WI. Mandt Lodge is handicapped accessible with a lift located on the south side of the building. There is parking on the street or in a public parking lot behind the Stoughton Senior Center. Please do not park in Livsreise’s parking lot as they are open that day***


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1 Condolences

  1. Mary Gilliam and Will Hunt on March 22, 2024 at 6:53 am

    Garner family, thinking of you as you celebrate Yvonne’s life. A donation was made to the MacNider Art Museum in her memory.

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