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Mary Elizabeth (Fishler) Clerkin

April 6, 1938 ~ November 18, 2020 (age 82)


Mary Elizabeth (née Fishler) Clerkin, 82, of Madison, WI, passed away peacefully on November 18, 2020 at home. Born April 6, 1938, in Belmont, WI, to Henry and Julia (Fox) Fishler. Mary was delivered at home in the country during a big April snowstorm by a midwife who arrived by horse and sleigh. She attended a one-room schoolhouse in early grades with just four boys and was a graduate of Platteville High School.  Mary met Tom Clerkin of Barneveld at Turner Dance Hall in Madison, and they married on April 26, 1958 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Platteville. 

Mary was a devoted wife to Tom who was her soulmate; they did everything together as one. She was a dedicated mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Her pride and greatest joy was creating a big beautiful close-knit family who enjoyed spending time together in Madison, on the beach of Siesta Key, and in the northwoods of Eagle River. They celebrated 20+ Christmases at their Siesta Key, FL, Beach House with their children, grandchildren, and spouses. Mary was passionate about her Samoyed dogs: Yukon, Kodiak, and Kiska. The Catholic faith was central to her life, she was devoted to the Holy Family and the Blessed Mother, and she and Tom were founding members of St. Maria Goretti Parish. Mary was grateful to be able to stay at home to raise their five children. Mary loved planning family get-togethers, and making delicious and beautifully presented meals and desserts. All five children graduated from St. Maria Goretti Catholic School, Edgewood High School, and the UW. After her children were raised, she lovingly volunteered 10,000+ hours and 20+ years of service and served as Auxiliary President at St. Mary’s Hospital.  Mary loved singing and sang in the Resurrection Funeral Choir for many years. In the last part of her life, Mary had many chronic diseases. Through it all, she remained positive and loving. Her last words were “I love all of you”.

Survived by husband of 62 years Tom; children Kristine Clerkin (Catherine Hay), Kathy Brunner (Tim), Colleen Thompson (Mark), Craig Clerkin (Tracy), and Kim Wunderlin (Rusty); grandchildren Steven Thompson (fiancée Elizabeth Pequet), David Thompson, Maureen (Branden) Schneider, Matthew, Jacob, and Sarah Brunner, Nicholas and Natalie Clerkin, Julia, Samantha, and Jessica Wunderlin; great granddaughter Kellyanne Mary Schneider; nieces Debbie Nissenbaum, Heidi Schmidt, Theresa Fishler; special cousin Catherine Mueller.

Preceded in death by her parents, brother Bill, sister Helen Lyght, nephew Bill.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 AM, Wednesday, November 25, 2020, at ST. MARIA GORETTI CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5313 Flad Ave, Madison, WI, with Fr. Scott Emerson, officiating. To view the livestream of the Mass, please visit:  Private burial will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to St. Maria Goretti School. 

Special thanks to her dedicated caregiver Debbie Nissenbaum and her team of compassionate doctors. In Mary's funeral notes, she handwrote, “Mary wanted to thank everyone for their prayers and kindnesses”. To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

To send flowers to Mary's family, please visit our floral store.


Mass of Christian Burial
November 25, 2020

11:00 AM
St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church (Mass)

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