Nathalie J. Dekker died Monday, May 15, 2017 at Villa St. Francis in Olathe, KS due to complications from congestive heart failure. She had been a resident in the memory skilled care unit since April 5, 2017.
Nathalie was the third child born to Harry and Gertrude (Kimball) Christensen. Her birthplace was the front bedroom on the Jarrett farm in Genoa City, WI. She was born on the summer solstice, June 21, in 1926.
Nathalie was part of a large farm family. She enjoyed helping her father in the barn while her sisters worked inside the home. When she was in the 8th grade, she left home and moved to Lake Geneva to be a mother's helper for Mr. and Mrs.Vernon Pollock and their young twins. She attended and graduated from Lake Geneva High School.
"Nat" enjoyed athletics and sporting activities as a young woman. She went to LaCrosse State Teacher's College ( University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse today) for two years majoring in physical education.
She met Benjamin "Bud" Schuren while working at Ray Brunswick' s grocery store in Genoa City, WI. They were married on March 14, 1948. They teamed together to create a family with three children, Rob, Wendy and Nancy. The young couple bought Brunswick's Grocery and continued to serve the community as independent grocers, opening Schuren's Super Valu in 1966.
Nathalie worked in the store, supported church events at the First Congregational United Church of Christ Church, served on the Brookwood Elementary school board and led Cub Scout, Brownies and Girl Scout troops for her children. She was very active and served as a board member in E.V.E., Eagle Valley Environmentalists, an organization to raise public awareness and ecological protection for the eagles' roosting area along the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin.
She was a caring person and possessed a sincerity and optimism that would be difficult to match. Nat's warm personality and kind nature served her well throughout her life journey.
Cross-country skiing, hiking, bicycling, and kayaking were avenues for her to enjoy the world of nature. She had a creative spirit. This manifested itself in her woodworking where she devoted hours to crafting eagles, songbird pins, and carving walking sticks. Her sticks have found homes with family and friends around the world.
Nathalie was widowed in 1977. She married Donald Guptill, a family friend in 1979. They moved permanently to northern Wisconsin in 1982 where she and Don spent some magical years at their "Golden Pond" log home outside Elcho, WI on Lower Post Lake. In 1989 they moved closer to Rhinelander and lived along the Wisconsin River until Don's passing in 1995. Nat continued to live in the North until 2001 when she married Cornelis "Kees" Dekker. They made a home in Stoughton, WI where they enjoyed family and friends. Traveling was a pastime that Nat and Kees shared making trips across the country to visit their children and retired friends.
In 2006, Kees and Nathalie moved to the Tudor Oaks Senior Community in Muskego, WI. They lived there until Kees's January 2015 death. In May 2015, Nat moved to Kansas to be nearer to her daughter and son-in-law, Wendy and Jerry Hardy.
Nathalie Dekker is survived by her brother and his wife, Robert G. and Charlotte Christensen and sister-in-law, Gladys Christensen and many nieces and nephews.. She leaves behind daughters Wendy (Jerry) Hardy, Overland Park, KS; Nancy Schuren (Dan Morin) York, ME; and stepdaughter, Nan Guptill Crain, Glen Rock, NJ.
Her grandchildren are Benjamin (Paige) Hardy, Omaha, NE, Adam (Jennifer) Hardy, Manhattan, KS, Hilary (Shawn) Devlin, Bigfork, MT and Justin (Melissa) Cerny, Tomahawk, WI, Carolyn Rupf, Waterbury, CT., Tom McComb and Lisa McComb.
Nathalie was Great Nana to great grandchildren Samuel, Owen, Elizabeth and Eli Hardy; Avery, Michael and Hudson Hardy; Cy, Kurt and Gregory Devlin, and Kailey, Benjamin and Will Cerny, Amanda and Robert Rupf, Kyle Lloyd.
She was preceded in death by her son, Robert Charles Schuren, grandson, and Robert Charles Schuren, jr., loving husbands; Benjamin "Bud" Schuren, Donald R. Guptill, and Cornelis "Kees" Dekker. Nathalie's older brother, Harry James Christensen, preceded her in death. Her sisters Dorothy "Dot" Robinson and Phyllis "Phiddie" Achilly, step-daughter, Sue Guptill (Craig) McComb as well as her parents, Harry and Gertrude Christensen passed on many years before Nathalie's death.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to honor Nathalie Dekker's life by contributing to any of the following:
The First Congregational United Church of Christ, 624 Park Street, Genoa City, WI 53128; Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation www.alzinfo.org, or The Rhinelander Public Library, 106 N. Stevens Street, Rhinelander, WI, 54501.
A Celebration of Life service for Nathalie will be held at 1:30PM Saturday October 7, 2017, at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 624 Park St. Genoa City, WI. A gathering of Family and Friends will be from 12:30PM until the time of service. Inurnment will be in Hillside Cemetery in Genoa City.
Charitable donations may be made to:
First Congregational United Church of Christ (Genoa City)
624 Park St., Genoa City WI 53128
Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation
106 N. Stevens Street, Rhinelander WI 54501