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Obituary for Valerie J. "Val" Kendhammer


Surrounded by family, Val J. Kendhammer, 68, passed away from dementia on Friday, August 2, 2019, in her home. Val was born in La Crosse, Wis., on January, 23, 1951, to Arnold and Ina (Holter) Stegen, She graduated from Central High School in 1969 and married Gerald “Jerry” Kendhammer three years later on September, 16, 1972, at Faith Lutheran Church, La Crosse. In 1987, after the birth of their two daughters, Jerry and Val built their family home.The country view and peacefulness comforted Val during her nine years of dementia. At the onset of her dementia, Val had been employed at Mayo Clinic Health System. During her 25 years there, she worked as an anesthesiology assistant, a customer service representative, and a patient account specialist. Prior to her time at Mayo, Val worked at Country Kitchen, NCR in West Salem and La Crosse County Health Services. She was also a Mary Kay cosmetics representative for three years. Outside of work, Val had many passions in life. She loved being outdoors, hiking, kayaking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, boating, and gardening. After a full day of work, she would often help at the Riverside Park International Friendship Gardens. Not only was Val a master gardener, but she also built some beautiful furniture for her home and created stained glass décor for the family. But, probably her greatest passion was for animals. She often surprised her family by bringing home goats, sheep, dogs or horses and rescued animals from the Humane Society. Val’s best friend was her dog, Chipper, who passed away this spring after being with her for 15 years. Throughout her entire life, Val was known for being highly sociable and energetic. Besides working full-time and raising two daughters, she took much pride in being a good cook and keeping her house clean. Val also helped run the machinery and do other work on the family farm; Still, she “played” as hard as she worked. She and Jerry would dance whenever they could. Most weekends included boating, card playing, and Packer parties. The most memorable were the annual parties at the farm, which offered golfing, volleyball, horseshoes, hay rides, and bonfires. Val enjoyed life and loved making memories with the people she loved, especially her daughters and granddaughters. She found pleasure in shopping for gifts for them and in attending their sporting events. The love she demonstrated came back to her full circle. When Val could no longer care for herself, her husband, daughters, and granddaughters selflessly cared for her at home. Val knew that she was loved. She is survived by her devoted husband of 46 years, Jerry; her two daughters, Amy (Steve) Marsolek and Jamie (Jason) Schrader; grandchildren, Makayla and Elyssa Marsolek and Peyton Schrader; one sister, Doris (Duane) Triplett; one brother, Sherman (Joan) Stegen; sisters-in-law, Darlene Stegen and Donna (Richard) Messenger; and many loving nieces and nephews. Val was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Dale and LaVerne; one sister, LaVaine Dugan; mother-in-law, Arlene Kish; fathers-in-law, Marvin Kendhammer and Shorty Kish; brothers-in-law, Dave Lukas and Larry Zirgibel; and sister-in-law, Jane Lukas. Memorial services will be held at 11 AM on Friday, August 23 at English Lutheran Church, 1509 King St., La Crosse. The Rev. Mark Solyst will officiate. Visitation will be from 4 PM until 7 PM on Thursday, August 22 at the Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Home, Woodruff Chapel, 4239 Mormon Coulee Rd., La Crosse, and from 10 AM until the time of service on Friday at the church. In lieu of flowers, the family would like to donate monetary memorials to local nonprofits that Val held close to her heart. The family would also like to extend its gratitude to the friends and family who were apart of her life creating wonderful memories. A special thank you to Barb Frahm, Carol Carson, and Sue Severson as well as Heather and Joyce from the Mayo Clinic Hospice team who helped take care of her.