Vernetta Mades Fish

January 27, 1923 ~ October 9, 2022

Vernetta Mades Fish passed away Sunday, October 9, 2022. She was born on January 27, 1923, to John and Lydia (Becker) Mades and grew up in the rural Bangor/Sparta area, graduating from Bangor High School in 1940.

Vernetta Mades Fish

Vernetta Mades Fish

Vernetta gained her teaching certificate at the Normal School in La Crosse in 1942 and taught in a rural school for a year. When the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was formed in 1943, Vernetta heard that they were training women in meteorology and persuaded her father to sign the papers that allowed her to join, as she was not yet 21. By the time she finished basic training those spots were filled, so she did office work at a base near San Diego until she was discharged in 1945.

On March 21, 1946, she married Ara Fish, a classmate from high school, and they moved to rural West Salem. Vernetta taught in rural schools again until she decided to use her GI benefits to return to school. She finished first a bachelors degree in teaching and then a masters degree to become a reading specialist, first at Black River Falls, and then in West Salem. She continued to teach at West Salem until she was well into her 70’s, earning a number of awards and accolades.

Vernetta was an active member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, holding various offices and chairing committees at the local, district and state level.

Once retired from teaching, she poured her energy into other projects, tutoring adults for the Coulee Region Literacy Council and joining the La Crosse Area Quilters and the quilting group at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. She also loved to travel. Highlights included a trip to Ireland to present at

the World Congress of Reading, a girls trip to France with her daughters, daughter-in-law and niece, and an Alaskan cruise with friends.

Vernetta was preceded in death by her husband, Ara, and two of her children, Janice Nash and Steven Fish; and siblings, Viola (Rudy) Garbers, Maynard Mades, Marlin (Arlene) Mades, Dean Mades, Waldemar Mades, and Lorraine (Buford) Hunter. She is survived by her children, John (Toni) Fish, Noreen Fish and Dwight (Carly) Fish, eleven grandchildren, twelve great- grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren; son-in-law, Ken (Goldie) Nash; and daughter-in-law, Carolyn Fish; brother, Harold (Jackie) Mades; sisters-in-law, Beverly Mades and Audrey Mades; and nieces and nephews. Special thanks to her wonderful caregivers Darlene Jostad, Rose Clements, Kendra Thiede, Julie Ames, Lynn Sallander, Diana Sanderson, and Selah Marie Castellano.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, October 24th, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2135 Weston St., La Crosse. Rev. Mark Bartusch will officiate. Burial, with military honors, will take place in Mormon Coulee Memorial Park. Visitation will be held from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m., Sunday at Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services of La Crosse and at the church on Monday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service. Any memorial contributions will be donated to Vernetta’s favorite charities in her memory.