Dixie Theiler Gansel’s life on earth, age 93, came to a peaceful passing on February 25, 2021 surrounded with love nearby and as well as from afar.
Genevieve Marie Theiler was welcomed as the first born child of William and Emma (Trachsel) Theiler on May 1, 1927. She was called Dixie, a name that suited her well, throughout her life. She and her siblings were born and raised on the family farm in Humbird, Wisconsin.
St. John’s United Church of Christ in Humbird was home to Dixie’s baptism, confirmation, and marriage. Her faith and the family church were important to Dixie and she reaffirmed her membership when returning home to Wisconsin.
Dixie graduated from Humbird High School and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in 1946 from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She taught elementary school for five years in Wisconsin and 28 years in San Jose, California, inspiring hundreds of young children over the years.
Dixie changed her name after marrying John Gansel on August 23, 1949, to Dixie Theiler Gansel. Notably, she was quite ahead of the times in keeping her maiden name in the 1940’s.
Dixie and her beloved husband enjoyed a carefree life traveling the world in their retirement years. She was an avid reader, prolific gardener, and active volunteer within her church and community. She and John generously supported efforts and organizations that made the world better including educational scholarships, Monterey Bay Aquarium, State and National Parks and wildlife preservation, her churches, and communities.
While Dixie lived most of her married life in California, her Wisconsin roots drew her back frequently to be with family and friends during extended summer vacations. Visits to the family farm brought special joy to her—especially riding in a cart to explore the trails and the scenic fields with her brother, Kal. Dixie lit up every time Kal was around.
When her health declined in 2018, Dixie was welcomed into a forever home with her niece Mary Jo and her husband, Danny Rozmenoski in Black River Falls where she delighted in family celebrations, Bingo and other games, socializing at area restaurants, bird and wildlife watching, cookie baking, cooking, watching movies, Wheel of Fortune and Packer games, and assorted craft and art projects. She was active in Interfaith Caregivers Time for You program and frequently shared her love of flower arranging with the group.
Dixie excelled in her passion for entertaining and hosting friends and family. Etiquette, manners and perfection were important to her. Her diaries detail dinner party invitations, floral arrangements, table settings, beverages, entrees, desserts, and favors. Dixie often cited her favorite quote: “Nothing good was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
She is survived by her brothers, Kal (Sue)Theiler and Raymond Theiler; sister, Peg Koplitz; and sister-in-law, Alice Gansel ; nieces: Mary Jo (Danny) Rozmenoski, Kathy (Michael) Pieper, Thelma Theiler, Stephanie Harty, , Lori (Barry) Fedie, , Nancy Theiler, Amy (Rick) Ramirez, Jen (Jeril) Gunning; Nephews: Dennis Theiler, Tom (Bonnie) Theiler, Scott (Robin) Theiler, David (Michaela) Theiler, David (Michelle) Koplitz,; and many great and great-great nieces and nephews, close cousins and many life-long friends.
Dixie was preceded in death by her husband, John, and brothers, William (Sonny) and Fredrick (Frick) Theiler.
The family extends heartfelt appreciation to those who helped make Dixie’s days The Best they could be including Jo Hillman, Kelly and Faith Emerson, Gay Ann Morrisette, Marian Langdon, Dick and Judy Zscheile, Anne McAnneley, Gayle Haugstad, Margo Rochester, Interfaith Caregivers and Black River Homecare/Palliative/Hospice Services.
A Dixie Style Celebration of her Life and Legacy will be scheduled at a later time.
Torgerson Funeral Home http://www.torgersonfh.com in Black River Falls is assisting the family. (715) 284-4321.