Frances ‘Bitsy’ Zeimet
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) —Frances Ann Zeimet (nee Ward) passed peacefully Jan. 5 following a decade long battle with Alzheimer’s, coupled with the after effects of COVID.
Fran, a.k.a. “Bitsy,” was born in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, on January 13, 1931, to Evan and Margaret (Bachmann) Ward. Her natural beauty and lovely smile stood out wherever she went and presented her with numerous modeling opportunities. After graduating from Fort Atkinson High School in 1948, Fran was accepted into St. Mary’s School of Nursing. Upon graduating as a registered nurse, she worked at St. Mary’s Hospital.
She met her future husband, Edward Joseph Zeimet, at the bus stop where they chatted daily while waiting for their respective buses. The two were wed on May 29, 1954 and settled in Madison, Wisconsin. Fran settled into married life and started a family. Over the next 13 years they had five children. Her professional reputation was highly regarded, and she was sought out to perform thyroid studies for Badger Research. Her diligence and skill aided in the formulation of Synthroid which is still used to treat thyroid patients.
In 1970, the family moved to La Crosse, where Fran continued to use her knowledge and skills to make numerous impacts within the community. Fran regularly opened her home and her heart to people who were struggling and needed a place to stay, offering a shoulder to cry on, and providing moral support. She was an advocate and unafraid to take on issues she felt needed to be addressed. Fran regularly volunteered as a poll worker for elections, in the Gundersen Health Family Room to provide support to family members of patients, at the Red Cross blood drives, offered her services as a nurse for “Special Day for Special Kids” events. Fran received recognition from Gundersen Health for providing 3,000 volunteer hours in the Family Room, from the Red Cross for offering 35 years of volunteer services and for donating literally gallons of blood during their events.
Fran was an amazing mother, grandmother, aunt, friend, mentor, animal lover and care giver who was loved and respected by many. She was a free spirit ahead of her time and left a lasting impression wherever she went. Fran’s huge heart, limitless generosity, and unique sense of humor will be remembered by all she touched.
Fran is survived by her children, Edward E. Zeimet (Donna), Stephanie L. Coorough (Gary), Anna M. Zeimet, Thomas A. Zeimet and Symantha F. Zeimet; grandchildren, Sarah Pridemore (Jason), Evan Zeimet, Nicholas Coorough (Carissa), Krimsin King (Corey) and Thomas Cruz; great-grandchildren, Logan King, Kennedy and Carter Coorough; nephew, Daniel Hans, and nieces Deborah and MaryAnn Hans.
Due to Covid, a celebration of Fran’s life and her funeral will be delayed until further notice. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation of masks to care givers, monetary donations to Alzheimer’s Research or your local animal shelter, walking dogs/volunteering at your local animal shelter or donating blood in her memory.
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