ARCADIA, Wis. — Erna Louise Marie Putz, 102, of rural Arcadia passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by her family Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019.
Erna was born March 15, 1917, in Fountain City, Wisconsin, to Louis and Amelia (Heller) Hertzfeldt. After graduating from high school, she married Wilmer Putz, Sept. 25, 1935, at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Fountain City, where she was also baptized and confirmed. Making their home on a bluff-top farm in Glencoe, they were blessed with a son and four daughters. They later welcomed foster children into their home.
Erna enjoyed sharing stories from her childhood, such as finding arrowheads on the prairie, playing ball, ice skating and many shenanigans with her brothers. At age 16, Erna was asked to play the accordion for the Putz Brothers Band. She married Wilmer, the fiddler and saxophone player. He was her first and only true love. They continued to share their gift of music for 62 years. Their daughters were also a part of this musical legacy, joining them to form the Harmony Pals and Harmony Gals.
Erna was very involved on the farm, even saving her husband from a bull attack, then taking on all responsibilities during the months of recovery. Erna attended church every Sunday and spent time reading God’s word daily. Fishing was a lifelong pastime, as well as card playing, and she was as competitive as they come. Erna loved to bake bread, hang wash, garden and raise chickens. She took time to remember loved ones near and far with handwritten letters in greeting cards. She never wanted to miss any event with family and hosted every major holiday at her house. Spending time with her generations of grandchildren and having a baby in her arms were some of her biggest joys. Everyone was amazed at how she continued to have her quick wit and memory right up to her final days. Her thoughtful, engaging personality was loved and will be missed by so many.
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Erna is survived by her son, Wilmer “Willie” (Tammy) Putz, of Fairfax, Virginia; daughters, Marlene “Molly” (Merlyn) Klebig of Fountain City, Luanne (Randy) Mueller of Pepin, LaVonne “Vonnie” (Daryl “Tony”) Zimmer of Arcadia and Mardelle “Mardy” (Bruce) Arnoldy of Arcadia; 19 grandchildren; 50 great-grandchildren; eight great-great-grandchildren (and three on the way); and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Wilmer in 1997; brothers, Reuben, in infancy, Howard, Roy, Norman and Walter Herzfeldt; and sisters, Myrtle Schmoker and Pearl Falls.
A funeral service to celebrate Erna’s 102 years will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Bethel Lutheran Church with Pastor Jon Cox officiating. Family and friends are welcome for visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Wozney-Killian Funeral Home and also one hour prior to the service Wednesday at church. Burial will be in Fountain City Public Cemetery. To express condolences to her family online, please visit www.wozneykillianfh.com.