Elizabeth J. Stevens

November 30, 1942 - March 13, 2023


Obituary For Elizabeth J. Stevens

MADISON, WI – Elizabeth “Buffy” J. Stevens, age 80, passed away March 13, 2023 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, WI. She was born November 30, 1942 in Madison, WI to parents, John and Ruth (Hommerstad) McGilligan. Elizabeth was fondly nicknamed “Buffy” at a young age by her sister who couldn’t quite pronounce her first name; instead pronouncing it Elizabuff. Buffy was a 1960 graduate of Madison West high school. Buffy worked with her family’s upholstery business, McGilligan’s Interiors, from her early childhood until buying the company from her father and uncle in 1972. She transitioned the business in 1984, adding a full line furniture and interior design store to compliment the upholstery and cabinet shops.
In 2004 Buffy closed McGilligan’s and joined her son as a lead designer at Stevens Design until her retirement in 2016.
Buffy married James “Jim” E. Stevens on June 13, 1964. Together they raised two sons until Jim’s death in 2009. Buffy loved traveling Internationally and enjoyed returning back up north to the Hayward, WI area in the Summers. She was a faithful member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and enjoyed her involvement in the Rosary Alter Society and being active in the church since 1970. She is considered to be the first woman to be highlighted in the “Know Your Madisonian”. Buffy will be dearly missed and remembered as a caring, loving, and thoughtful person who would not hesitate in giving someone a second chance and always found a way to help others through their struggles.
Buffy is survived by her sons, Brad (Susan) Stevens and Chris Stevens; grandchildren, John, Bryn, Brenna, Olivia, Camden and other loving family members.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; and sister, Patricia (Robert) Gavigan.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 6:30 p.m., Friday, March 31, 2023 at BLESSED SACRAMENT CATHOLIC CHURCH, 2116 Hollister Ave., Madison, WI, with Father James Marchionda presiding. A visitation will take place one hour prior to the Mass, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., Friday, March 31 at the church. To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services
Verona Chapel
220 Enterprise Drive


31 Mar


05:30 PM - 06:30 PM

Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church 2116 Hollister Ave Madison, Wi 53726 Get Directions »
31 Mar

Mass of Christian Burial

06:30 PM

Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church 2116 Hollister Ave Madison, Wi 53726 Get Directions »
by Obituary Assistant

Photos & Video

Add New Photos & Video


  • 03/19/2023

    Back in 2015, Buffy helped us to pick out floors, furniture etc. for our new home. She found us the best dining set for our kitchen. Then, Brad helped us in recovering furniture we already had! We send our deepest condolences to the family today.

  • 03/18/2023

    Buffy, I grew up with her; first cousin; not close but friendly. I always liked her; infectious smile, friendly and welcoming. In later years did not see her much but on the occasions I did she was inviting and warm. I will miss her; one of the last in her generation, mine but a few years older. Best to her sons and family; will be thinking of her next week and beyond. Love. Dennis McGilligan, first cousin.

  • 03/18/2023

    Rest assured Buffy is in a better place today smiling down on her family and friends. Buffy's infectious smile and personality was present from when she was on top of her game putting together incredible coordinated furnishings, accessories and through her later works when Brad would remind her graciously of what the fabric combinations were which always ended with a smile.

Add a Candle

Click a candle below to add a candle to your message.

what our families say

Tiffany Foster went out of her way to fulfill all my requests, talked me through problems I was facing, and tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible when I was a wreck, totally crushed, and I thank her with all of my heart for that.

James S. | July 2020

The professional manner of the staff made a difficult time a little easier.

Lynda R. | July 2020

Services provided for both parents were perfect, on time, and no issues. Brenda is awesome and strong!

Michael M. | July 2020

Skyler was absolutely amazing. She was so caring and helpful through this whole process. She even went above and beyond to meet with us in DeForest and even to make a stop at our home to drop off or pick up anything needed. While it was a small gesture, it was so helpful and greatly appreciated.

Brooke S. | Dec. 2020

Madison North East

2418 N. Sherman Avenue
Madison, WI 53704
Tel: 608-249-8257

Madison West

5701 Odana Road
Madison, WI 53719
Tel: 608-274-1000


220 S. Enterprise Drive
Verona, WI 53593
Tel: 608-845-6625

DeForest / Windsor

6924 Lake Road
DeForest, WI 53532
Tel: 608-846-4250