Florence Catherine Strauel Jaeger
MADISON, WI - Florence Catherine Strauel Jaeger was born when Woodrow Wilson was President and women couldn’t vote. Throughout her life, Florence witnessed incredible changes and forged her path.

Growing up on a farm near Jesup, IA shaped her views on stewardship and conservation while rooting her path to the earth. She is predeceased by Albert and Elizabeth Strauel, her parents, and her siblings Daniel (Ruth), Mildred (William), and William.

Teaching in a one room school at the age of 17 informed her belief in education and honed her ability to help students find their paths. She instilled in them the love of learning, inspiring and encouraging them to read and explore the world. After graduating from Jesup High School, she completed her degrees at the University of Iowa. She studied physical education and teaching because “I want to teach children to play.”

Assisting soldiers to regain their abilities with recreational therapy in the Red Cross during WWII, Florence demonstrated her expansive belief of what was possible to achieve.

Partnering with her husband Bernard in their dental office in Madison, WI, she transformed into a CEO. The expression of her sincerity to help patients, and the warmth and attention she gave to the detail of managing the dental practice complimented his excellent dentistry.

Inspiring her four children Frederick (Karen), Mary (Stuart), Catherine (Frank) and Ami to find their own paths, she encouraged them to pursue their vision with gusto, just as she did her own. When her children asked “what if” … her response was “why not”? She encouraged adventures and traveling because she knew new experiences were part of learning and gaining self confidence, as evidenced by a family trip volunteering in a Guatemalan dental clinic. Her joy in continual self improvement spread to her four grandchildren, Alexander, Quinn, Samuel, and Edith, as she nurtured their gifts and strengths.

Florence embodied the notion of “paying it forward”. She volunteered as a “dolly doctor” for American Girl Doll. As a 4-H leader, she taught and inspired many children and helped them achieve their goals. She was active in Our Lady Queen of Peace parish activities, served as President of AAUW, and lead the Wisconsin Dental Auxiliary and Madison business groups. She was inclusive and created a space for people to enjoy each other.

She sized up people in a heart beat and wasn’t afraid to call a spade a spade. Even though she may have called you out, you stood up straighter afterward and reached a little higher.

At 96, undaunted, she set out on another adventure. She crossed the county to Santa Fe and experienced the open skies and warm sun of the high desert. She forged her last chapter, embracing the mountains, yet pining for the Iowa corn fields.

Her path has come full circle. Even in her last days she reminded us of the value of education and the benefit of helping children with their reading skills. She is returning to her beloved Iowa, and her children in turn are holding their beloved Florence in their hearts.

Florence was buried in Jesup at St. Athanasius Cemetery on October 14, 2017 after 10:30 AM mass at St. Athanasius. A memorial will be scheduled in Madison, WI to honor her life. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to the Jesup Public Library.
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