Marie VanGompel

Published 10:33 am Friday, December 5, 2008

In the years, weeks and days prior to her passing, Marie was humorous, loving, generous, kind and grateful to God for the bounty of her life.

Marie was born in Kaukauna, Wis. on April 15, 1910, to parents Emma and John Agen. She was the third of four children and happily recalled growing up in the small community with her siblings Bonita, Raymond and Lillian.

She looked back fondly on such childhood memories as having her mother adorn her black hair with beautifully tied ribbons and helping on the farm at threshing time. Her earliest memory was that of sitting quietly by her father&squo;s bedside, holding his &dquo;spittoon,&dquo; as he fought an infection brought about by an injury received while working his job in a nearby paper mill.&bsp; Unfortunately, it was a battle that he did not win.

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Marie left school after graduating from the 8th grade. She went to work in Appleton, Wis., cleaning cupboards in the large homes of paper company executives for the grand sum of 25 cents per week. She also recalled, with great humor, being expected to put her weekly earnings on the kitchen table to contribute to the welfare of the entire family, which she did, without fail. On June 15, 1929, Marie married Richard G. Caesar in Appleton.&bsp; Together, they had one son, Richard James Caesar. During their life together in Appleton, Marie recalled working at J.C. Penney and meeting Mr. Penney himself when he visited the Appleton store. While she worked at Penney&squo;s she met her dear and lifelong friend, Bernice Sullivan Lachmann. Theirs was a friendship that lasted nearly 75 years during which they saw each other through many trials and tribulations, including the tragic death of Marie&squo;s husband Richard, in 1942.

Marie continued to work and since the country was in the midst of WWII, she was able to get a &dquo;man&squo;s&dquo; job, to support herself and her young son Richard, with the Thilmany Pulp and Paper Mill in Kaukauna, Wis. It was here that she first met her &dquo;husband-to-be,&dquo; Sylvester Van Gompel.&bsp; Marie left the paper mill and went to work at Campbell&squo;s Family Clothing Stores in Appleton. In 1962, she and Sylvester married and they enjoyed many happy years together, until Syl&squo;s death, in 1988.

Marie&squo;s career at Campbell&squo;s Stores was the ultimate success story. She worked hard, loved her job, and caught the attention of her appreciative bosses, who continued to promote Marie all the way to the position of fashion buyer. In this position, Marie made twice-yearly purchasing trips to New York City, where she viewed the latest fashions and purchased what everyone hoped would become the retail trend back on &dquo;The Avenue&dquo; in Appleton. Marie had a sharp eye for fashion and really looked forward to her semi-annual trips, which were made on planes before the advent of jet engines.

Marie loved volunteering in the kitchen of Trinity Lutheran Church in Appleton, she enjoyed painting, wallpapering and decorating the home she shared with her husband Syl, and she loved music and dancing, singing hymns and reading good recipes.&bsp; Her gardens always included several varieties of tulips, her favorite flower. Her treasured companions were her dogs, Nikki and Buck-o, and she loved any and all of God&squo;s creatures.

Marie&squo;s life spanned nearly a century in which history saw automobiles, two World Wars, the Great Depression, commercial flight, television, the first man on the moon, computers, Internet and E-mail and cell phones.&bsp; Marie always tried to experience and enjoy all of God&squo;s creation first hand.

She embraced much that life had to offer including travel to Hawaii and visits to family in Washington State. Marie always tried to give to the lives of others more than she had taken in her own.

Marie will be remembered by all whose lives she touched as witty, devoted, generous, strong, wise and loving and an example of the joy and love that can be created for one&squo;s self, one&squo;s family and for God by living and loving every day.

Marie is survived by her loving grandchildren Sue (Bob) Ring of Mill Spring; Richard Caesar of Huntington Beach, Calif.; David Caesar of Anaheim Hills, Calif.; Amy Caesar of Yorkville, Ill.,&bsp; Amanda (Mike) Montford of Crystal Lake, Ill.; Jim (Sarah) Caesar of Chicago, Ill.; John (Kristy) Caesar of Washington state; 11 great-grandchildren; one great-great grandson; sister Lillian Lucas of Kaukauna, Wis.; sister Janice Siebers of Kaukauna; brother Robert Agen of King, Wis.; many beloved nieces and nephews, including Joyce Huss of Kaukauna and Wendy Siebers of Appleton; dear and devoted friends Dawn and Ken Stolzmann of Menasha, Wis.

Marie was preceded in death by her son, Richard J. Caesar, husband Richard G. Caesar, husband Sylvester Van Gompel, her brother Raymond, her sister Bonita, her dear cousin, William Agen and her lifelong best friend with whom she shared many adventures, Bernice Sullivan Lachmann.

Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7 at the Appleton Highland Memorial Park Chapel, 3131 N. Richmond St., Appleton, Wis. 54911, 920-733-6505. &bsp;

Funeral services will follow at 12:30 p.m. with Rev. Kurt Kovenen officiating. Private burial at Appleton Highland Memorial Park.

Marie&squo;s family would like to extend sincere thanks to the devoted and caring staff of White Oak Manor-Tryon for the outstanding love and support that was given and to the staff of Hospice of the Carolina Foothills for their compassionate vigilance as Marie found her way to a peaceful rest, in God&squo;s loving care. &bsp;

The family asks, in lieu of flowers, donations be made, in Marie&squo;s honor to: Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, 130 Forest Glen Drive, Columbus, N.C. 28722,

An online guest register may be signed at

McFarland Funeral Chapel of Tryon is in charge of arrangements.

‐ paid obituary