Elizabeth Michelle Howard, 37, of Greenfield WI, found peace with her family by her side on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, at Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice after a courageous battle with breast cancer.

Elizabeth was born on September 19, 1980, in Sheboygan WI to Robert and Linda (Otto) Koene; being the oldest of three girls made her a very nurturing person. She was a kind hearted, beautiful soul who was loved by all.

Elizabeth was a 1999 graduate of Sheboygan Falls High School. In 2003 she graduated Cum Laude from Marian College in Fond Du Lac with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Psychology. She went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Rehabilitation Counseling from UW- Milwaukee in 2006. In August 2007, she married Joseph B. Howard. Elizabeth accomplished so much in her life. She worked for Milwaukee Center for Independence as Manager of Employment Services for 12 years. Her career was not just a job, it was her passion. Her exceptional counseling skills allowed her to help her clients learn how to overcome disability-related barriers so that they may engage in employment, increase their level of independence and create a life with purpose. She left an unforgettable mark and improved the lives of the hundreds of individuals she so humbly served.

She carried that same selflessness into her personal life. You could always count on her for an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, or arms for a warm embrace. Despite what was going on in her life, she was always concerned for those around her. Elizabeth enjoyed crocheting, craft projects, singing, traveling and exploring new places, and live music in the park with friends. She loved spending time with her family and playing with her nieces  2600 and nephews. Visits from ‘Auntie Lissa’Plymouth,were always the highlight of the weekend. Her special sister time will never be forgotten and on any given Sunday you could find her going on a ‘coffee walk’ with her mom and sisters.

Although athletics were not her strong suit, Elizabeth decided to join Team Phoenix in 2016; a program that brings breast cancer survivors of all stages, ages and fitness levels together for a sprint distance triathlon. She worked daily for 14 weeks to improve her physical fitness, endurance, strength and flexibility. She not only successfully completed the triathlon, she gained a second family of beautiful fellow survivors who trained with her and encouraged her every step of the way.

While cancer burdened her life for 11 years, she never let it keep her down or define the person she was. She accepted every challenge with the utmost amount of strength, courage and perseverance.

Her family would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to the all the amazing doctors, nurses and staff at Aurora Medical Center; with special recognition to Dr. John Scott Maul. Without their continued support and care she would not have had the opportunity to make so many lasting memories that will be forever cherished.

Elizabeth is survived by her loving parents, Robert and Linda Koene; two sisters, Sarah (Kelly) Larson, and Becca (Justin) Thimmig; four nieces and nephews, Myles and Daphne Larson, and Mallory and Parker Thimmig; two grandmothers, Barbara Otto, and Dorathea Koene; Goddaughters, Danika Carroll and Justine Otto; aunts and uncles, Ken (Marilou) Otto, David Koene, Mary (Jeff) Parent, Kristine (Tom) Vieth, John Koene, Rosanne Bachmann, Rachele (Jim) DePagter, Laura Koene, Terese (Mike) Carroll and Paul Koene; best friends, Cassy (Jeff) Hines, Melissa (Josh) Brich, and Joe Howard. She is further survived by cousins, other relatives and many dear friends.

Elizabeth was preceded in death by her two grandfathers, Arvid Otto and Robert Koene Sr.; and one uncle, Jeff Bachmann.

A memorial service to celebrate Elizabeth’s life was held on Sunday, April 29, 2018, at 3:30 p.m. at the Wenig Funeral Home in Sheboygan Falls with Rev. Toby Thomack officiating.

Relatives and friends could greet the family at the funeral home on Sunday, April 29, 2018 from 11 a.m. until the time of service at 3:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers a memorial fund to Team Phoenix is being established in her memory.

For online condolences and additional information, please visit www.wenigfh.com.

The Wenig Funeral Home of Sheboygan Falls (920-467-3431) is serving the Koene family with arrangements.

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