Gale Ruth Kooistra

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MTT News's picture

CROSS PLAINS–Gale Ruth Kooistra, 75, of Cross Plains, passed away on Jan. 30, 2020. She was born on March 31, 1944, in Milwaukee, WI, to Richard and Ruth (Neitzke) Gramza. Gale had a brother, Keith, whom she lost to cancer in 1987. Gale graduated from Shorewood High School in 1962, and from the UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1966.

Gale worked for the Middleton-Cross Plains School District for many years as a substitute teacher for all grade levels while her three daughters attended school. She continued her career at the Lands’ End Call Center in Cross Plains for 18 years until it’s closure in 2012. After retirement, Gale worked at a local deli, enjoying a charitable and active lifestyle supporting both her church and community.

Gale’s life’s focus was her family and her faith. She was a loving and dedicated mother to her daughters, family, and friends. Anyone in need of a warm meal, a helping hand, a caring confidant or a loyal friend found solace and warmth in her company. She was an ardent member of St. Martin’s Lutheran Church for 47 years and cherished participating in the ministry’s humanitarian activities: cooking meals for the homeless, making reassuring quilts for soldiers stationed abroad, and participating in the annual “Christmas Tree Giving” event. Gale believed Sunday was the best day of the week, and she eagerly awaited attending worship and visiting with her long-time congregation, whom she considered her extended family.

Gale demonstrated amazing strength and positivity throughout her eight year battle with cancer and was admired for her spirit by everyone blessed with knowing her. She was incredibly resilient throughout her hospitalizations and treatments and rarely complained. She possessed a brilliant smile and a charming disposition. When Gale wasn’t spending time with family, she enjoyed completing crossword puzzles, reading mystery novels, handwriting letters to relatives, grandchildren, and friends and displaying her deep mastery of both “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy.”

Gale is survived by her three daughters, Lesley (Ryan) Hornbeck, Laura (Brett) Butrick, and Shelley (Ben) Beere; six grandchildren, Catherine Hornbeck, Madeline Hornbeck, Riley Hornbeck, and Dashiell Hornbeck, Max Beere, Leo Beere; and many beloved nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Ruth Gramza (Neitzke); and brother, Keith. 

A memorial service will be held at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 2427 Church St., Cross Plains, at 11 a.m. on Feb. 15, 2020, with Maggie Anderson Peterson presiding. Burial will be held at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Milwaukee at a later date. Visitation will be held at Gunderson Cross Plains Funeral & Cremation Care, 2421 Church St., Cross Plains, from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, and also at the funeral home from 10-10:50 a.m. on Saturday.

In place of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Gale's name to St. Martin's Lutheran Church. Online condolences may be made at

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