Bethel Louise Foelker, 90, of Fort Atkinson, passed away on September 21, 2019, after a brief stay at Rainbow Hospice in Johnson Creek.
Bethel was born to Clarence (Ed) and Mattie (Perry) Jelinek on June 12, 1929, in a farmhouse near Whitewater on Tri-County Rd and Twinkling Star Rd. She attended grade school at Stoddard School, a one-room schoolhouse just went of Whitewater, from 1935 – 1941. In 1941, Bethel’s family moved to a farm near Hebron. She then attended Mayview School, a one-room schoolhouse on Frommader Road. She graduated from Whitewater High School (City High) in 1947. On February 11, 1950, Bethel married Arthur Foelker at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmyra, Wisconsin.
Bethel and Art loved to travel and visited Europe, China, Japan, Russia, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Mexico, the Caribbean, etc. Bethel routinely insisted, during gatherings with family and friends, that she be the one to take care of the check. She enjoyed ice skating, cross-country skiing, bird watching, playing euchre and taking long walks with her dogs.
She was proud of her farm and faithfully helped feed the young stock for at least thirty years. Bethel grew a large garden every summer and canned more than 100 quarts of vegetables and apple sauce before autumn. She made sure the fences were given a fresh coat of white paint each spring and planted flowers around the farmhouse and barns.
Bethel was a long-time member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Whitewater and belonged to the Hebron United Methodist Church from 1940 – 1949. She was also a member of the Historical Society of Hebron.
Surviving Bethel are three daughters, Katie (John) Arndt of Milton, Sara (David) Zimmerman of Whitewater, Rebecca (Barry) Pechous of Whitewater; nine sons, Michael (Maureen) Foelker of Fort Atkinson, Mark (Katie) Foelker of Jefferson, Matt (Julie) Foelker of Fort Atkinson, Pat Foelker of Fort Atkinson, Peter (Lori) Foelker of Fort Atkinson, Tom (Renee) Foelker of Fort Atkinson, Paul (Judy) Foelker of Fort Atkinson, Luke (Jackie) Foelker of Fort Atkinson, Artie (Laurie) of Fort Atkinson; 22 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; long-time family friend, Robert Riggs of Chino Hills, CA; brother, Bill (Shirley) Jelinek of Whitewater; and brother-in-law, Bill (Edna) Foelker of Jefferson.
Bethel was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; beloved oldest daughter, Mary (Steve) Tracey of Evansville; sister, Margie (Harry) Arndt of Fort Atkinson; grandsons, Jonathan Foelker and Tyler Foelker; brothers and sisters-in-law James (Carol) Foelker, Ray (Marlene) Foelker, Ruth (Al) Austin, Marion (Tony) Bonner, Irene (Gerald) Lubinski and Vivian Foelker Maynard.
An evening visitation will take place on Sunday, September 29, 2019 from 4 P.M. until 7 P.M. at the Nitardy Funeral Home in Fort Atkinson.
A memorial service will take place on at 11 A.M. on Monday, September 30, 2019 at the Nitardy Funeral Home, 1008 Madison Ave., Fort Atkinson, WI 53538. A visitation will take place prior to the service from 10 A.M. until the time of the service. A burial will take place on Monday, September 30, 2019 at 2 P.M. at the Hebron Cemetery.
Bethel’s family would like to thank all the wonderful caregivers (Cleo, Iris, Bea, and Norma) for all their tender care, allowing her to remain in the house where she had lived in for almost 70 years.
Nitardy Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.