MADISON - Irma Rita Togstad (Fisher) passed away peacefully on Friday, November 15, 2019. She was born on April 17, 1922 to Philip Fisher and Anna (Blaska) in Columbus, Wisconsin. She grew up on a farm, and as a young child when she heard the sound of a train going by in the distance, she wished she was on that train and traveling to some new or exotic place; and travel she did! She moved to Madison when she was thirteen. She graduated from Edgewood High School and worked for Oscar Mayer as a secretary where she met a handsome and charming young office boy, Bill Togstad. Romance blossomed. Their courtship was interrupted by World War II. Bill joined the Marines and Irma enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps. She was stationed at Ft. Oglethorpe in Georgia, when after taking a test and scoring in the upper 1% out of 500 WACs, she was immediately sent to the Pentagon for special training. Toward the end of the war, an opportunity came up for her to work at The Allied Headquarters in Caserta, Italy. She shipped out on the Mariposa, an ocean liner that was converted to a military transport ship. It would zig-zag every 7 miles to avoid German submarines. When it reached the Strait of Gibraltar, two warships escorted the ship into port. Irma worked for a British Colonel and a US General. While on leave, she would take trips to Switzerland and France. When the war ended, she was honorably discharged and returned to the United States to marry her sweetheart, Bill. She attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison on the GI Bill, majoring in history. She raised 5 children and was active in Our Lady Queen of Peace Queens Guild. She was always on a quest to learn more. She took extended courses at the vocational school learning Chinese cooking, millinery, upholstery, and yoga. Her wanderlust for travel never ended. She and Bill traveled the world visiting Europe, Russia, China, Egypt, Israel, and South America. They were involved in the Friendship Force and stayed with a family in Seoul, Korea. Besides traveling, she enjoyed a good game of bridge and golf and in her younger years skied. She was an excellent cook and seamstress, sewing beautiful clothes for her family. She loved to read, and the week before she died, she had downloaded 5 books onto her kindle. Always the adventurer, she went camping in the Baraboo Bluffs when she was eight months pregnant with her fifth child, para-sailing at age 73, and down the rapid river in an inner tube at Atlantis in the Bahamas at 92. She was proficient on the computer and passed the time on her iPad playing games, composing emails, reading, and watching movies. She was independent and courageous with no boundaries or limitations. She instilled in her children the love of learning. Irma was never one to brag or boast about her achievements, so her children are doing it now. It was just her way of being practical. Her Catholic faith was her rock and she never missed Sunday mass. It was 4:00 on Friday afternoon, which was cocktail hour, when she left us. We know she is with Dad in heaven and they are just starting up a good game of bridge with the O’Conner’s, Vanderheiden’s, Doyle’s, Ganser’s, and Murphy’s.
Irma was preceded in death by her husband, William E. Togstad; her son Steven; son-in-law, John Stockinger; and sisters, Jeanette Fisher and Ruth Kohn. She is survived by her brother, Jerome M. Fisher of Madison, WI; son, William (Ruth) Togstad of Edina, MN; daughters, Barbara (Mark) Kopelberg of The Villages, FL, Susan Stockinger and Mary (Randy) Steinhauer of Madison, WI; 10 grandchildren, Emily (John) Cuenca, Mike Kopelberg, Kristin (Paul) Isaac, Jennifer (Peter) Sinesio, Kat (Jon Henkel) Nichols, Randy (Arya) Steinhauer, Mary (Aaron) Finley, Patti (Brian) Christie, Matthew Togstad, and Amanda (Ryan) Schwoegler. She was blessed with 16 great-grandchildren and loved every one of them as her own.
The family would like to thank Irma’s caregivers: Missy, Brenda, Kim and Angel who lovingly attended to her every need during the last year and a half, as well as to Agrace Hospice.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, November 22, 2019 at OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 401 S. Owen Dr., Madison, with Monsignor Kenneth Fiedler presiding. A Rosary service will be held at 7:00 p.m., Thursday at Ryan Funeral Home, 5701 Odana Rd., Madison. Visitation will take place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home, as well as, one hour prior to Mass Friday at the church. Interment with full military honors will take place at St. Jerome’s Cemetery in Columbus, WI. Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516. To view and sign this guestbook, please visit: www.ryanfuneralservice.com.
Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services
5701 Odana Road
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