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 608-845-6625


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

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  • September 28, 2023

    Very delayed expression of sympathy to Brad and Chris and family. I've been in touch with the few remaining Madison friends when former husband Joe died on August 26, 2023, also of a form of dementia. Buffy was the leader in our 2 young families having so much fun. Let's keep the fond memories in mind as we remember Buffy, Jim and Joe now gone.

  • April 01, 2023

    Many fond memories of your Mom when she dined with us at the Glarner Stube. She was always so joyful and full of life. Deepest sympathies to your family for your loss.

  • March 31, 2023

    Dear Brad, Chris and family, I graduated with your Dad and knew your Mother when they started dating. Have many memories of happy times together and lots of laughing. Always enjoyed our times together. Our sincere sympathy to all of you. Deanna and Dennis Gervasi

  • March 29, 2023

    Let memories help console you in your time of grief. Although Alzheimer's can change the person you once knew, there are still the days when the light shone through and they were with you if for only a short time, Buffy was always a sweet customer when she came in shopping and full of news of events in her life, I send my sympathy to all the family. Cathy Madsen

  • March 28, 2023

    Buffy helped us choose fabrics and furniture for our home, and our children grew so fond of her and appreciated all her loving attention. She was like a grandmother figure for us all for that period of time. What a beautiful and sparkling person! We will pray for her and the Stevens family.

  • March 25, 2023

    As a Madisonian, I remember Stevens Gifts and Loved looking in the Windows at all their merchandise. I also visited their Restaurant and Loved the Food they served. The store has been gone for quite awhile, but the memories will always be there. Condolences to the Stevens' Family for the Loss of Elizabeth.

  • March 22, 2023

    I very much appreciated the special artistic and business skills of Buffy, her son Brad, and co-worker Renee Degelau when I had my home remodeled five years ago. My home is complete with furniture from Stevens that I accumulated over the years. They are all greatly missed.

  • March 21, 2023

    My sincerest condolences to Elizabeth's family and loved ones. I knew her thru her sister Pat who was my dear friend having met at St Ray's grade school. I knew the family fairly well back in the day and am grateful for the time I was a good friend. Blessings and prayers. I was Mary Entwistle back then. I am now Mary Entwistle Shaw.

  • March 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.

  • March 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.

  • March 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.


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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

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Lynda R. | July 2020

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Michael M. | July 2020

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Brooke S. | Dec. 2020

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