Connie M. Koehne, age 84, of Beaver Dam, died on Thursday, January 8, 2009, at Golden Living Center.
The visitation for Connie will be held on Friday, January 16, 2009 at Murray Funeral Home in Beaver Dam from 4:00 PM until 6:00 PM with the Rosary to follow. There will also be a visitation on Saturday, January 17, 2009 at St. Katharine Drexel Maple Ave. Church from 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM. The Mass of Christian Burial will follow on Saturday at the church at 11:00 AM with Fr. Charles Scheuerell officiating. Burial will be at St. Patrick”s Cemetery, Town of Beaver Dam, Dodge County, Wisconsin.
The former Constance May Kroeger was born on July 14, 1924 to Paul F. and Stella L. (Banko) Kroeger in Elgin, IL. She started piano lessons at four years old with her father as her teacher, and won a contest at six by playing a Bach piece. At 12, Connie played in her first concert and she played as an accompanist in high school. Connie attended Marycrest College, Davenport, IA and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from DePaul University, Chicago, IL. After college, she toured as an accompanist with her brother Richard, a vocalist. Connie presented and played on a Chicago radio show and television show called “Afternoon Interlude”. She became the staff pianist at Mount St. Mary”s On-the-Fox Academy. She also was the first pianist with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and taught at Elgin Academy where she met her husband, Bill. They had two children, Julie and Mark.
In 1965 they moved to Beaver Dam because Wayland Academy offered Bill a teaching position. He taught Spanish and later History, and Connie also taught Spanish. Shortly, her accompanying ability was discovered. She began playing for liturgies throughout the area, especially St. Patrick”s. Connie also resumed teaching private piano lessons until she retired from this in 2004. The number of students she taught, their success at piano, and the relationships she formed with them are legendary.
In 1973 Bill passed away and Connie decided to stay in Beaver Dam. At that time she became chairman of the music department. Connie retired from Wayland in 1991 and continued to play for liturgies, weddings, and funerals well into 2008. She was part of the Oratorio Society for 30 years, served on the board of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony, was the accompanist for Madison”s Baroque Choir for 20 years and the rehearsal accompanist for the Beaver Dam Area Community Theater for over 20 years. Connie was on the Board of Directors with the Green Lake Festival of Music (GLFM), in which she also performed. Upon her retirement from the festival”s board of directors she was voted onto the honorary board. She toured out of the country twice with the GLFM Chamber Choir, once to England in 1995 and Italy in 1997.
Connie received many awards. These included the Beaver Dam Unified School District Wall of Fame Friends of Education award, the GLFM Distinguished Friend of the Festival award, and the Wayland Academy Distinguished Service award. In addition, Connie, a devout catholic and member of St. Katharine Drexel Parish, has just helped compile a non-denominational hymn book for the Charleston House in Beaver Dam.
Connie is survived by her son Mark (Kathryn) Koehne, La Crosse, grandchildren, Lauren, Timothy, Stephanie and Gabrielle, brothers and sister, Richard (Kathy) Kroeger, Malta, IL, Dolores (Ed) Stude, Murfreesboro, TN, Tom (Pat) Kroeger, Spring, TX, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her daughter, Julianne, and a sister, Phyllis Bone.
The family suggests that memorials be made in Connie”s name to St. Katharine Drexel School Endowment Fund/Band Guild, The Academy Fund (Wayland Academy), Green Lake Festival of Music, or for a Mass in Connie”s memory.
The Murray Funeral Home in Beaver Dam is caring for the family. Online condolences may be made on our website at www.MurrayFH.com.
Saturday, January 17th, 2009, 11:00am, St. Katharine Drexel Maple Ave. Church-Beaver Dam
St. Patrick’s Cemetery-Beaver Dam