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December 12, 2019

Catherine A. Nelson

Catherine Anne (Gehin) Nelson died from complications of cancer on December 4, 2019, at Agrace HospiceCare, Inc. in Fitchburg. Cathy was born in Madison on November 23, 1941, and grew up on her parents' dairy farm near Belleville.

After graduating from Belleville High School, she attended the College of Saint Teresa in Winona, MN, then the University of Wisconsin at Madison. After a short marriage to John K. Radanovich in 1962, Cathy began her lifelong work in 1965 with the University Extension. She spent 36 years working in Milwaukee, first training mothers who were on welfare to move to employment, and then 10 years helping the Milwaukee community of Hmong immigrants. One of her last major projects was Grandparents Who Raise Grandchildren. She was a member of the Wisconsin and National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science. Cathy was very active in her local quilting guild, producing many beautiful quilts for family and friends.

In 1972, she married Carl U. Nelson, with whom she had a daughter, Kelli Lynn. The family, including her sons, John and Kevin, from her previous marriage, lived on the north side of Milwaukee and Glendale. Carl had two daughters and a son from a previous marriage. After Carl died in 1997, Cathy returned home to the Madison area, to live in Verona. She was a beloved member of the large Gehin family, nearly all of whom live in and around Belleville. On August 22, 2002, she married Dave Jarecki, originally from Chicago.

Cathy is survived by her husband, Dave; sons, John and Kevin (Kimberlina); daughter, Kelli (George) Armstrong; step-daughters, Jessica and Monya; and step-son, Raun; her brothers, James (Donna) III, Joseph (Patricia), John (Cynthia), Paul (Jackie), John (Janis) Diederich; and sister, Mary G. Gehin (Gary Bartels). Her grandchildren include Mila, Elliot, Peter, and David Radanovich, Christian, Elijah, Liam, and Naomi Armstrong. Step-grandchildren Callie Bremer, Sean and Jimmy Clark, and Caleb Nelson Lundy. Cathy is further survived by several nieces and nephews; and step-great grandchildren. And her brother-in-law, John (Marcia) Jarecki.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Charlotte Genin Gehin and James Gehin Jr .; sister-in-law, Beverly Diederich; brother, Raymond Deiderich; and niece, Lisa Gehin. Cathy will join them in the historic Frenchtown Cemetery within sight of the farm where she lived as a child.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., on Friday, December 13, 2019, at Holy Wisdom, 4200 County M, Middleton, WI. A visitation will precede the funeral service from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., on Friday, December 13, 2019, at Holy Wisdom. Friends and family will gather at the Montrose Town Hall, 1341 Diane Avenue, Belleville, following the funeral services.

The Becker-Beal Funeral Home of Belleville is assisting the family.

An online memorial with guestbook is available at


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