Ursula McLaughlin, 93, of Plymouth, and formerly of Tomah, passed into eternal life on Thursday, November 27, 2014.

She was born November 18, 1921. Despite occasional hardship and adversity, Ursula was an optimistic person, forever seeing the brighter side of life. “Always smiling” was a comment most often made about Ursula.

She was born in Landeshut, Germany and came to America with her family on the ship Bremen, through New York Harbor in 1927. Growing up in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, Ursula lived a fascinating young life.

She and her older brother Fred were dancers as teenagers, often dancing at the Chicago Music College. She proudly worked in her parent’s bakery, the Ersepke Bakery at 3510 South Wallace St., and remembered selling jelly bismarks to Mayor Richard Daley, a usual customer.

Using her baking experience at Ersepke’s, she then worked at Dainty Maid Bakery, also in Chicago. She volunteered in a war nursery during World War II for mothers who went to work in the war plants.

Highly regarded there due to her incredibly loving and caring nature, the staff recommended she go on to become a teacher. She then met Roy McLaughlin, a returning WWII Vet who had been injured in the South Pacific. They soon were married on October 1, 1949 and shortly thereafter moved to Wisconsin.

Ursula then chose to make a home for her husband and dedicate herself to being a fulltime stay-at-home mother. Ursula loved children and soon had a young family of five to care for in her new home state of Wisconsin.

A gifted seamstress, Ursula would make dresses, slacks, shirts, and entire matching outfits for the family throughout the years, often sewing everything that her children wore. Holidays required special attire-the lucky daughters would wear tailor-made dresses for St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day and more. Even their dolls would have accompanying attire, all handmade by Ursula.

Later in life when she had grandchildren, she carried out the same tradition of making beautiful dresses for Christmas and Easter, creative and colorful Halloween costumes, comfy pajamas and even hunting apparel for her grandsons.

Ursula’s nurturing spirit extended beyond her family. She was a friend to many and often those who had lost their parents made the comment, “she’s like a mother to me.” Everyone felt instantly cared for in her presence.

She went to work for the Tomah Care Center in 1976. Her excellent cooking skills were soon recognized, and she was promoted to the supervisor of the entire dietary department. In order to do this, she had to return to school, commuting long distances to class each night to earn her degree, which she eventually did.

She worked there until her retirement in 1986, when she made the decision to devote her time to be the world’s greatest full time grandmother.

She achieved that goal handily with time spent babysitting, playing games, making clothing, reading stories, baking cookies, decorating gingerbread houses, and tirelessly putting family first as she always had throughout her entire life. Nothing mattered as much to Ursula as her family did.

She will long be remembered and deeply missed by her children and their families, Leo (Judy) McLaughlin, Charlotte (Robert) Hodes, Nancy (Thomas) Connor, Michael (Laura) McLaughlin, and Mary McLaughlin, 7 grandchildren, Jimmy Ross, Julie Ducklow, Callie, Abbey, Emily and Andrew Connor, and Matt McLaughlin, a sister Charlotte Lux, many special nieces and nephews, Carol, Rick, Diane, Bradley, Gary and Donn Ersepke, Yvonne Sommerfelt, Sharon Kubina, Ruth Herdrich, and Pam Murray, as well as other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents Bertha and Alfred Ersepke, a very special grandson Conor McLaughlin, and 3 brothers Hans, Fred, and Thyssen Ersepke.

Funeral Services were held on Monday, December 1, 2014, 1:00 P.M. at St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, 525 Superior Ave. Tomah. Pastor Donald Buch officiated the service. She was buried at the Oak Grove Cemetery. The Sonnenburg Family Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.

The family would like to Thank Dr. Hancock and his staff for all the care and love they’ve shown Ursula over the last several years. No words can express the gratitude felt toward the staff, both past and present, of Anita’s Gardens in Plymouth, WI. You have each loved and cared for Ursula as if she was a member of your family. In her later years you provided another home for Ursula, building a community filled with love, laughter and joyous memories, taking care of a woman who had spent an entire lifetime only caring for others. Each of you will be remembered by her and held dearly in her heart

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