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Annette Blanchette 02/12/2015

Annette Blanchette, 77, formerly of Oshkosh, passed away unexpectedly Thursday evening, February 12, 2015, at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, MN.  She was born at Mercy Hospital in Oshkosh to Norman and Irene (Luebke) Blanchette on September 1, 1937.  After graduating from Oshkosh High School in 1956, Annette continued her education at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree in English.  Annette moved from the Oshkosh area in 1965 to begin her 33 years of service at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  She first worked in the Instructional Materials Center and then became a student status examiner to aid elementary education majors in course selection and planning.  She received the “Chancellor’s Recognition Award to Classified Staff” in 1998 when she retired.  She was generous with her time, talent, and treasure for a variety of volunteer activities in the River Falls community.  If she had a fault, it was that she always put the needs of other people ahead of her own.  Annette’s 40 year history as The Story Lady started at the university’s preschool and grew to include St. Bridget Parish School, Jacob’s ladder preschool at Ezekiel Lutheran Church, Kathy’s Kinder Cottage, Well Have Senior Apartments, the Lutheran Home, Kinnickinnic Long-Term Care, and others.  She brought books, little gifts, puppets, and treats and always wore seasonal costumes or clothing to make story time special for her reading audiences.  A state-funded grant allowed Annette to attend college, so she wanted to give back to others.  Her passion for education and personal contributions led to the creation of funds for education students, nursing students, high achievers, even classified staff development and scholarships to honor two of her UW-Oshkosh instructors.  For 17 years Annette has been a volunteer shopper at Dicks Fresh Market.  On Tuesday mornings she shopped for the orders that seniors and home-bound residents called in for home delivery, making sure that each customer got exactly what they ordered.  Some of her favorite things were sunsets on Golf View Drive hill, beautiful flowers, angels, butterflies, and teddy bears.  She was always handing out “boy and girl” butterscotch button candies with a smiley face drawn on the wrapper.  On Halloween she went around with treats for the parents accompanying kids who were trick-or-treating and at Easter she would give out over 100 Easter baskets while wearing bunny ears and a tail.  Well-known in the community, Annette will be missed by many.  She is survived by her sister, Mary Louise Lewis of Oshkosh, brother, Ralph (Elaine) Blanchette of Madison, nephew, Thad (Ana) of Rio de Janiero, Brazil, two nieces, Vanessa Blanchette of Green Bay and Kristen (Bryan) Howland of Oshkosh who was also Annette’s godchild, aunt, Wanda Luebke of Galena, IL, and life-long friend, Rita Kruschwitz of St. Paul, MN.  Annette is also survived by Rosie, Keegan, Stuart, and Janie, her grandnieces and nephews, cousins and their families, university colleagues, former student advisees, many dear friends and countless children who knew her as The Story Lady that she referred to as “my kids.”  She was preceded in death by her parents and brother-in-law, Richard Lewis.  A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial was held in River Falls at 11:00 am on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, at St. Bridget Catholic Church with Rev. Fr. Jerry Harris officiating.  Visitation also took place at the church from 10:00 am until the time of the service.  Burial will be at Lake View Memorial Park in Oshkosh.  In lieu of flowers, memorials to Annette are appreciated for the scholarship funds she established or charity of your choice.   Also, friends and relatives may call at the UW-Oshkosh Alumni Welcom and Conference Center (625 Pearl Avenue) on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, from 4:00-6:00 pm. Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services of River Falls.

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