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Alessio "Ello" Valencia

Alessio “Ello” David Valencia died in the arms of his parents Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. He contracted a virus that caused his heart to fail and did not survive the wait for a heart on the transplant list.

Ello is survived by his parents, David and Chiana Valencia; sisters, Vicenza (5) and Esme (3); and brother, Mario (2). The grandchild and great-grandchild of immigrants, Ello is also survived by maternal grandparents, Gregory and Mary Grace Loreti, Ironwood, Mich., and paternal grandparents, Ernesto and Randi Valencia, Burtrum, Minn.; and by many aunts, uncles and cousins—all of whom loved him dearly.

Ello was alive for thirty-five days and during those days he was loved at home and in the Cardiac ICU of St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn.

We mourn the unknowns: how deep his dimple would have been when he smiled, the sound of his laughter, if his eyes would be the same dark brown as his sisters, or hazel like his brother, and if he could have competed with his siblings in their love of mangos, guacamole and ice cream. We mourn the chance to have known our son.

Had our son lived he would have been taught that bigger tables serve others better than walls do, that science is real, and that the responsibility of using his voice to advocate for the inclusion of all who may be excluded or marginalized is a life-long one.

Services will be held at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 10, at First Congregational Church, 2503 Main St., La Crosse and led by the Rev. Krista Taves of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to public education, medical research, an immigrant rights group, or your local food bank. A scholarship fund has been established at Congregational Preschool, where he would have attended, and checks can be sent to the school with “Ello Scholarship Fund” in the memo. Gifts toward medical research at Mayo Clinic can be made online by visiting Select Designation “Other”, key in ‘Children’s Center’ or ‘Answer in Hours within the Microbiome Program,’ and in memory of Ello.

Online condolences may be submitted at

Mary Kay McKnight

HOLMEN — Mary Kay (Susie) McKnight, 82, of Holmen passed away Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, at her home.

She was born Feb. 23, 1936, to Harry and Anna Marie (Bosten) Harder in Muscatine, Iowa. She attended Moline Public Hospital School of Nursing and later received a bachelor’s degree from Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa.

Mary married Larry McKnight June 14, 1956, at Donaldson Air Force Base in Greenville, S.C., and together they had three children. She taught at numerous elementary schools around Illinois, she taught in Geneseo, Loves Park, East Moline and in Erie. After teaching, she became an administrator at Pleasant View Whiteside County Nursing Home and worked there for 17 years. After retirement Mary and her husband, moved to Wisconsin and owned and operated Larry’s Landing in Trempealeau.

Mary loved her family, friends and dogs. She enjoyed volunteering, archeology, going to Florida in the winter, being on the river, gardening and dining out. She was a fan of the Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Cardinals, Iowa Hawkeyes and Wisconsin Badgers.

Mary is survived by her husband of 62 years, Larry; her two daughters, Kay (Ray) Schafer and Kerry (Neil) Paarmann; her son, Kelly (Margaret) McKnight; her five grandchildren, Kyle Schafer, Cori Fuller, Colin and Caleb Paarmann and Madeline McKnight; and her great-grandchild, Ozzie Fuller.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Anna; and her brother, Jim Harder.

At Mary’s wishes there will not be any services. Her body was donated to the Deeded Body Program of the University of Iowa, for research and education.

Memorials can be made on behalf of Mary to donor’s local Salvation Army or at, or to St. Jude Children’s Research at or by mail to 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Dickinson Family Funeral Home of Holmen is assisting the family. Online condolences can be sent to the family at

Dean Spangler

HOLMEN — Dean F. Spangler, 86, of Holmen passed away Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at Lewis Valley Lutheran Church, rural Holmen. A visitation will be held from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Friday, and from 10 a.m. until the time of service Saturday, both at Lewis Valley Lutheran Church, rural Holmen. A complete obituary will follow. Entrusted to assist the family with arrangements is Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Jostad Chapel, West Salem.

Virginia Anthony

ONALASKA — Virginia Ann Clark Anthony, 90, of Onalaska passed away Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, at Bethany Riverside, La Crosse.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at Dickinson Family Funeral Home & Crematory, 401 Main St., Onalaska. A visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until time of service.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to donor’s favorite charity in honor of Virginia. For full obituary and online condolences please visit


La Crosse County Board members are up for election in April 2020. A story in Tuesday’s Tribune about election filings had incorrect information on the timing of the county election.

Peggy Van Zee

The following obituary was written by Peg as an assignment for a nursing class this past summer. The only changes made were the dates and service information in the final paragraph. These were the words that Peg wanted to share about her life and the importance of love and giving back to others.

Peggy Arlene Van Zee, 48, of La Crosse passed away unexpectedly Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018.

Peg was born in Ames, Iowa, and raised in the Tomahamp Douglas area. She graduated from Tomah High School in 1988. After a few odd jobs, Peg went on to spend 21 years at The Company Store (TCS), where she worked her way up the ladder while building a family of friends that stand by her side to this day. While at TCS, Peg had a tremendous opportunity to help other employees give back to each other and the community while also having some fun. There were many blood drives, Toys for Tots, Mitten Trees, Back to School drives and countless other events coordinated through Peg and her Employee Relations Committee, over the years. After Peg left The Company Store, she spent some amazing time with her children, before taking a part time job with Mayo Clinic. She will jokingly tell you that during this time, she was trying to figure out what she wanted to be when she grows up. Peg went to Western Technical College for her CNA and this fueled her love of helping patients at Gundersen Hospital, where she has worked for the past five and a half years. This love of patient care, along with tremendous support from her favorite nurse, Heather, and an infinite amount of hospital staff, led Peg into the nursing program. During her personal time, she loved time with her kids, Heather, and her family. Outdoor activities and adventures were favorites for her. Peg loved giving to others with the smallest daily gestures to her annual event for the past 19 years of organizing Peg’s Team for the La Crosse Community Neighbors Day. In April 2019, we will make one last Peg’s Team to honor the 20th anniversary for her. Her hope is that it will be the biggest and best Peg’s Team ever.

Peg told her family frequently and will share with all of you, look at the sky, sun, moon and stars. Don’t get so wrapped up in life that you miss moments to see the beauty above us and around us. When was the last time you took a moment to see a sunrise or find constellations in the sky? Share these moments with the people around you often.

Peg is survived by her beloved children, Maxwell, Cooper, Ruby; her special love, Heather and her children, Shay, Ari and Lilly. Two more kids that touch Peg’s life are Matix and Primrose. Her father, Lloyd, brother, Clifford and his children. Other family members include wonderful aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Peg was preceded in death by her mother, Margaret; brother, Paul; uncle, Arie; and both sets of grandparents, Clifford, Edith, John and Gladys.

A memorial service will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, in the Prairie Room, at Coulee Region Cremation Group, 133 Mason St., Onalaska, with a visitation from 2:30 p.m. until the time of the service. Tara Shilts will be leading the service.

A memorial fund has been set up in Peg’s honor at Altra Federal Credit Union in La Crosse. Please make any donations payable to Peg VanZee Memorial. Coulee Region Cremation Group is assisting the family.

Dennis Kelly

NORWALK — Dennis Kelly, 62, of Norwalk passed away due to complications from a heart attack, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, while in the company of family and friends.

He is survived by his steadfast wife of 43 years, Debbie; the five children he loved selflessly, Heidi, John, Valerie, Erica and Kyle; his sister, Pat (Williams); his brother, Michael; children-in-law, Mary Kelly and Dan Hubbard; and two grandchildren, Julica and Miles, who brought him great joy and laughter. He is preceded in death by his mother, Harriet Taylor; sister, Donna Lichtenberg; and grandfather, John Meyer.

Dennis graduated from Brookwood High School in 1974, where he was active on the football, baseball and wrestling teams. He also participated in the FFA. He joined the Navy following high school and was honorably discharged to take over the family farm. In 1975, he married high-school sweetheart, Debbie Liefke. He supported their family through work at Liefke Jersey Farm, years of dedicated service at Handishop Industries and later working alongside best friend, Chuck Lamb at Lamb Hardwoods.

Dennis’ primary investment was his family. He was passionate about attending every event his children were part of, regardless of the distance. This included but was not limited to, wrestling meets, baseball games, cross-country races, dance recitals and school plays. His final out of state trip included a long-awaited trip to Alaska, this past summer. Dennis played an integral role in re-establishing the wrestling program at Brookwood High School and spent over 30 years of his life coaching youth and high school wrestling. In this capacity, he taught young men lessons that extended far beyond the wrestling mat. He enjoyed woodworking and worked with his wife to create many items that will be used by his children and friends for years to come.

Family and friends knew Dennis to be faithful, genuine, selfless, hardworking, empathetic, kind and modest. For these qualities and many more, he will leave a great void in the hearts of those that miss him so dearly.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at Mount Pisgah Wesleyan Church E13198 Pisgah Road, Ontario. Interment follows at Hilltop Rest Cemetery, Ontario. Visitation will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.

Smith-Nelson Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at

Ronna Tewell

MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. — Ronna Rae Tewell, 72, of Machesney Park passed away Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, in Rockford, Ill.

Born in Gays Mills, to Edward and Hazel (Wallin) Haile March 13, 1946. Was blessed with two daughters during her first marriage, Sheila and Michelle. Married John Jacob Tewell Jr. Aug. 16, 1969, in Rockford and was then blessed with two more children, John III and Jennifer. She went on to receive her B.S. degree from Upper Iowa University at the age of 54. She was an avid crafter of crocheting and knitting and loved traveling and spending time with family and friends. She also found enjoyment in her church choir, Red Hat group and Morris Kennedy reunion committee.

Ronna is survived by her children, Sheila (Bill) Bass, Michelle (Lee) Theisen, John (Heather) Tewell III, Jennifer (Mike) Rubly; grandchildren, Nichole (Tim) Helton, Sara Theisen, Matthew Theisen, John Jacob Tewell IV, Alysa Anderson, Joey Richards, Rachel Rubly, Brayden Rubly; great-grandchildren, Aiden Helton, Liam Helton; siblings, Roger (Sue) Haile, Bobbie (Dave) Baker. Predeceased by her parents; husband; brother, Richard (Brenda) Haile; sisters, Ruthie (Jimmy) Haws and Ramona Wilson; parents-in-laws, John and Madge Tewell.

The family of Ronna Tewell wishes to extend our sincere thanks to Kathy Tewell, Terry Brown, Pastor Violet Johnicker, Heartland Hospice and the many others who helped in our family’s time of need.

Celebration of life memorial service at noon Saturday, Dec. 8, at Brooke Road United Methodist Church, 1404 Brooke Rd, Rockford. Visitation at 11 a.m. until time of service. Burial will take place at a later date in Gays Mills.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be given to the family to establish at a later date. To share a condolence

La Crosse County Circuit Court felonies

The following people appeared in La Crosse County Circuit Court Wednesday.


Michael R. Hanson, 31, of Holmen was charged Wednesday with false imprisonment (domestic abuse). During an argument Tuesday, Hanson blocked his girlfriend from leaving a room, took her car keys and tore the phone from the wall, according to the criminal complaint. She used her cell phone to text a friend, who then called law enforcement.

Jesse Rees Kirk, 40, of 223 Eighth St. N., was charged Wednesday with being a fugitive. Kirk is facing a felony theft charge in Winona County.

Chue Yee Xiong, 30, of 1220 Logan St., was charged Wednesday with robbery with use of force, possession of methamphetamine and felony bail jumping. According to the criminal complaint, Xiong broke into a residence on the 2100 block of Market Street on Nov. 16 and took a PlayStation 3. Witnesses who were in the home say Xiong threatened them with brass knuckles and warned against calling police. A few weeks later, just after midnight Wednesday, Xiong was arrested on an outstanding warrant. Police found methamphetamine during a search of his residence, according to the complaint.

Jedd T. Monsoor, 39, of Holmen was charged Wednesday with aggravated battery (intentional bodily harm, domestic abuse). On Nov. 22, law enforcement were dispatched to a residence in Holmen, where a woman said Monsoor had thrown her into a door, according to the criminal complaint. The woman also told police that she tore a ligament in her left thumb during an argument with Monsoor in October.

David A. Fox Jr., 36, of Tomah, was charged Wednesday with being a fugitive. Fox has an outstanding warrant in Shawnee County, Kansas, where he faces charges of aggravated domestic battery.