Paula Kay Fredrickson, 76, passed away after a brief illness at SSM Health St. Mary’s - Madison on May 15, 2022, with her two children by her side. Paula was born on August 12th, 1945, to Paul Davel and Patricia Foster Davel at a U.S. Army Hospital in Macon, Georgia, where her father had been stationed stateside after contracting malaria in the South Pacific during WWII. She grew up in Loyal, WI surrounded by a large family of aunts, uncles and cousins, and her love of small towns began.
Paula had three great loves in her life: Family, Blanchardville, WI, and the Green Bay Packers (not necessarily in that order)! Paula and family (then husband Dale who became the new banker in town, and kids Brian and Kelly) moved to Blanchardville in 1978 and she quickly became engrossed in this little town she loved so much. She was in Jaycees & Jaycettes, officer of the Blanchardville Women’s Club, Hauge Church Historic Preservation Association treasurer, Blanchardville Historical Society officer, Chamber of Commerce member, member of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, and the National Press Association. And for many years, Paula cherished dressing in full, period regalia each December for annual performances by the Pecatonica Madrigal Players.
Having taken Journalism classes, years before, at UW Eau Claire...she was asked in 1984, by the Blanchardville Chamber of Commerce, to interview business owners, to write and to contribute feature stories about Blanchardville's Main Street businesses, focusing, in part, on specific histories of the old buildings in which they were located.
So began her 38-year career with the Blanchardville Blade-Atlas, the Dodgeville Chronicle, an interim stint editing the Mineral Point Democrat-Tribune, and the Pecatonica Valley Leader.
Her stories were not just local village board or new business story accounts. Her feature articles ranged from topics such as accounts of early settlers, local prohibition era recollections, bootlegging stories, gangster shoot-out accounts of long ago, to family history tales of haunted houses and multi-generational holiday feasts and more. Paula chronicled her humorous journey down the muddy Pec River with other female paddlers on an annual Good Friday canoe journey - and perhaps most importantly, she touched the hearts and souls of so many families, writing about the young men who had gone off to War in 1941 and in the months that followed. Her interviews with World War II veterans, conducted and put into print, often decades later, were, and are, priceless, to so many area families.
Those World War II recollection stories have become some of the most talked about stories in the area. Her ability to research, to gently coax information from her interview subjects and to weave an entertaining tale are a true gift and will be missed by her readers moving forward.
She married the true love of her life, Richard Fredrickson, on July 15, 2000, at the Hauge Church outside of Daleyville, WI. Rick and Paula became one of the busiest and most well-known couples in town with their willingness to fill practically any volunteer need. Their love of dancing, traveling to the southwest, going out to dinner, and being with family were some of their most beautiful traits. They enjoyed immensely their combined children, their 9 grandchildren and their grand puppies. Paula loved her Fredrickson family and the large group of nieces, nephews and cousins, including her beloved sister-in-law Marsha, and of course Adolf and Janice Fredrickson, her in laws. Her life was extremely happy in these last 20 years due to the love she found in this blended family.
Paula is survived by her husband Richard of over 20 years, their children Brian Maki, Kelly (Peter) Gorton, son Damon Fredrickson, her favorite sister Dana Sills, her grandchildren Jacob, Teagan and Braden Maki; Frances and Sam Gorton; Ava and Alysha Fredrickson; Alexis and Taylor Fredrickson and countless nephews, nieces, cousins, in laws, and a group of friends so large it would take up an entire Valley Leader. She is preceded in death by her parents, Paul and Patricia Davel, her brothers Pete and Scott Davel, her in laws Adolph and Janice Fredrickson, her stepson Shane Fredrickson, and her sister-in-law Marsha Myers.
Family will receive visitors on Saturday May 21 from 10am until 1:50pm at Blanchard Hall, 204 South Main Street in Blanchardville, WI. There will be a private Mass of Christian Burial at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church at 2:00 PM for family followed by a luncheon. And there will be a yet-to-be-planned CELEBRATION OF LIFE for Paula, coming this summer/fall. The service will be live cast for the public on the Saether Funeral Service Facebook page.
Saether Funeral Service of Blanchardville is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Memorial Fund, part of which will be donated to SSM St. Mary’s of Madison for their tremendous care of our Paula.
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