Stege, Elinor ("Cece") Neckerman
Elinor "Cece" Neckerman Stege of Madison passed away on Thursday, April
16, 2009, at the Attic Angels Retirement Community, where she received
loving care. She was 97. She was born in Madison on July 13, 1911, to
Cora (Norsman) and Rube Neckerman. Her brother, George M. Neckerman
predeceased her in 1992. After her graduation from Wisconsin High School
in 1929, she attended Ward-Belmont for one year before studying art at
the University of Wisconsin where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta
sorority and graduated in 1933. She married Edward R. (Ed) Stege in
1940, having met Ed (also a UW graduate) at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.
Ed, captain of the UW basketball team in 1936, predeceased her in 1985.
Cece raised four boys and considered that sometimes trying task as her
major accomplishment in life. Those who knew her are aware that Cece
also enriched the lives of many, many others. She was a "bright light"
in the world and brought joy to a wide circle of friends, acquaintances
and strangers. She was an active Attic Angels volunteer for several
decades and also volunteered with the Christ Presbyterian Church Service
League. Her roots were planted firmly in mid-19th century Wisconsin.
Between 1848 and 1855, six of her eight great-grandparents reached
Madison, with the remaining line of ancestors residing in Milwaukee
during that period. Her mother's side of the family was strictly
Norwegian. Her grandfather, Ole Norsman, served as the elected city
clerk of Madison for 32 years. Her mother, Cora, graduated from the
University of Wisconsin in 1905. Her great-grandmother, a native of
Norway, was fond of telling Cece the story of her trip to Madison from
Milwaukee via ox cart in 1850. Cece's father's side of the family was of
German descent. Her grandmother was the first kindergarten teacher in
Madison. Her grandfather confounded the popular Keeley, Neckerman and
Kessenich department ("dry goods") store on the Capitol Square. Her
father, Rube, began an insurance business, now known as The Neckerman
Agency, in 1914. Cece was both passionate and compassionate. She loved
travel, the Wisconsin countryside, the sunshine, and displays of color,
flowers, and happy faces. She was known for her candor, curiosity and
her warmth -- possessing a unique blend of all three. She was the
antithesis of cynicism; she consistently viewed the glass as half full.
Cece is survived by sons. Rick (Elaine), Scott (Biram), Jim, and Kurt
(Kim); grandchildren, Melinda, Tina, Mark, Hope and Hans; and
great-grandchildren, Ryan, Kiep, Eva and Warren. The family thanks all
members of the Attic Angels community, special helpers and HospiceCare
staff. A service to celebrate her life will be held in the community
room at attic angels place, 8301 Old Sauk Road at 1 p.m., on Monday,
April 20, 2009, followed by a reception. In addition, or as an
alternative, friends are invited to stop by at a memorial reception to
be held at Cece's home of nearly 50 years, 82 Cambridge Road in Maple
Bluff, between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 19, 2009.
Drinks will be served. There will be a private burial. In lieu of
flowers, donations may be made to Attic Angel Association (640 Junction
Road, Madison, WI 53717), the Madison Community Foundation (P.O. Box
5010, Madison, WI 53705), or to a charity of the donor's choice.