Loretta S. Kuse 1939-2020
Loretta S. Kuse
Loretta S. Kuse, 80, of Medford, passed away peacefully at Aspirus Hospital in Medford on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, where she had been admitted the previous day. A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, North Park Avenue, Medford, with Pastor Rodger Prois officiating. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until the time of the service. Burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery I in Medford. Pallbearers will be Dick Czerniak, Steve Eisch, Dave Hraby, Clem Johnson, Al Leonard and Gary Neustadter.
Loretta was born on July 5, 1939 in Medford to the late Walter and Amanda (Janke) Kuse. She attended Medford public schools and graduated from Medford High School in 1957. Loretta received her bachelor of science degree in education from UW-Stevens Point, a master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees from University of Iowa-Iowa City and a master of divinity degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. She was ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1987.
Loretta taught grade school in Merrill and Wausau, served as a short-term mission teacher for two years at Deinzer Hill in Papua, New Guinea, worked as a demonstration teacher at the University of Iowa Elementary School and taught mathematics and social studies methods at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. She taught general methods classes, curriculum, storytelling and science and social studies methods at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Loretta also worked as a part-time visitation pastor at St. John American Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She also conducted services at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Medford and the Perkinstown Community Church. She wrote curriculum materials for the Lutheran Church and co-authored books on puppetry, teaching materials and thematic units with her sister. Her artwork includes church murals, sign and scene painting, wood carving, photography and puppetry.
In retirement, she and her sister, Hildegard, lived on the family century farm in Medford, where they developed the Kuse Farm Museum and Nature Preserve. Here they have worked to help students and the public appreciate Taylor County history, their father’s artwork and the way in which individuals can explore and care for the ordinary in extraordinary ways in God’s creation. See the website http://www.kusemuseum-naturepreserve.org/main/index.html.
In addition to her church and clergy activities, Loretta was a member of the Taylor County Historical Society, the Taylor County Genealogical Society, the Chequamegon Bird Club and the Friends of Downtown. In 2017, the Taylor County Literacy Council honored Loretta and Hildegard Kuse with the first HL Kuse Award, an award established in their honor to recognize the efforts of individuals or groups who, like the Kuses, have developed materials to preserve the rich history of Taylor County.
Loretta is survived by one sister, Hildegard; cousins, Sylvia and Merlin Gerner, Verna Shallock and Darlene July of Ozaukee County; second and third cousins in the Medford area and in California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Minnesota and Washington; members of the Kuse Farm and Nature Preserve Museum board and museum volunteers; and many dedicated friends.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial will be set up in her name at a later date or contributions may be made to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, the Kuse Farm Museum and Nature Preserve or a charity of your choice.
Hemer Funeral Service of Medford and Rib Lake is serving the family. For online condolences, please visit hemerfuneralservice.com.