LA CRESCENT, Minn. — Florence M. McLaughlin, 97 years young, died Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, at Gundersen Health System, La Crosse. She was a lifelong resident of La Crescent.
Florence’s grandfather and his siblings immigrated from Germany in 1874 and settled on farms just west of La Crescent. Florence was born to Engelbert and Agnes Nintemann Sept. 13, 1920, and grew up on Sunny Slope farm, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bullerdick and later by Dr. George Skemp.
She attended School #84 in La Crescent and, for a short time, Holy Trinity School in La Crosse while serving as a kitchen apprentice to her aunt, Sister M. Kostka Nintemann, FSPA, at St. Rose Convent. As a teenager, she worked for her dad on the farm and in households in the area.
Beginning in the 1940s, Florence joined her sister, Marie, at Carroll’s Supper Club and later when the restaurant was known as DesJarlais’s and the Town House. Florence and Marie were known for their home-cooked meals and baked apple pies. Florence also was employed at the Auto-Lite plant from 1947 until 1951. In 1986, she retired from School District #300 after 19 years as an elementary school cook.
She married Robert McLaughlin Nov. 23, 1946, in La Crescent. In 1947, Florence and Bob built their home on South Fourth Street. They were married 48 years at the time of Bob’s death in 1994.
Her husband was a charter member of Gittens-Leidel Post #595 of the American Legion, and Florence was a charter member of its Auxiliary. She served as chaplain, cheer chair, and service chair. Over 40 years as a volunteer for Bloodmobile, she made hundreds of reminder calls to blood donors and with her friend, Lil Wiedman, prepared lunches for the workers.
Florence was a regular league bowler, still rolling 200 games past the age of 80. She bowled at Shamrock Lanes from its opening in 1960, until it closed; she then bowled in the Breakfast Club at Pla-Mor in La Crosse. She put away her bowling shoes at age 85 after suffering a hip fracture.
Florence was a life-long member of Crucifixion Parish and active member of St. Anne’s Circle starting in 1946, seldom missing her duty to bake for bingo and help with funeral lunches. As a parent, she helped with school events. She also served on the parish Welcome Committee and as a rosary leader.
Florence was a devoted Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings fan, who respected Harmon Killebrew and kept a quote by former Vikings coach Bud Grant in her billfold. She was dedicated to her summer garden, brisk early morning walks, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, recipes, and reading daily newspapers. Undaunted, she learned to use a computer when she was 80.
She is survived by daughter, Mary McLaughlin, La Crescent; and son, Robert (Joyce) McLaughlin, West Salem; in addition to a niece and nephew and their families.
She was predeceased by her parents; husband, Robert; sisters, Gertrude Pfeiffer, Marie (Ted) Fauver, and Margaret Nintemann, who died at age 10; brother, Frank Nintemann; sister, Agnes Marie, and brother, Donald who died as infants; and beloved cousin, the Rev. George Bernard Nintemann, OP.
The family is grateful to the staff of the Lighthouse (memory care) at Bethany-Riverside in La Crosse; two loving caregivers and friends, Jane Darling and Patty Nix; and Florence’s treasured friend and neighbor for over 65 years, Mary Newburg.
Florence spent her whole life growing and preparing food, so please donate to a local food pantry in her memory.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Church of the Crucifixion, La Crescent. The Rev. Gregory Havel will officiate. Burial will be in the Crucifixion Catholic Cemetery. Friends may call from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services Thursday at the church.
The Schumacher-Kish Funeral & Cremation Services of La Crescent is in charge of arrangements. Online guestbook is available at www.schumacher-kish.com.