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Serving Dane County since 1922.

Diane J. McCarty

October 31, 1941 December 30, 2019
Diane J. McCarty
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Obituary for Diane J. McCarty

MADISON-A beautiful angel has regained her wings on Monday night, Dec. 30, 2019. Diane J. McCarty, 78, passed away peacefully in her sleep at Agrace HospiceCare, Fitchburg, Wis., after a six-year battle with cancer. Diane was born on Halloween, Oct. 31, 1941, at Mercy Hospital, Oshkosh, Wis., to Bernard Refvik, a Norwegian émigré fisherman, and Ruth Robertstad Refvik, daughter of Norwegian émigrés of Omro, Wis. In 1944, the family moved to establish a rough fish camp on Lake Koshkonong, Rock County, Wis. It was there Diane’s early childhood was spent in the nearby marshes, catching snakes and frogs and playing near the fish holding ponds. In 1953, Diane’s parents moved from their flood-prone camp home and purchased a permanent home in nearby Milton, Wis. Diane enjoyed her childhood learning cooking, tending to her parents’ large vegetable garden, babysitting and living an austere upbringing into young adulthood.

In 1959, Diane graduated from Milton Union High School and immediately began her working life. Early jobs led to hiring into a position in 1960 in the credit department at Highway Trailer, Inc. in Edgerton, Wis. In 1966, wishing to live on her own, Diane was accepted into a civil service position at the University of Wisconsin-Office of Student Financial Aids and a permanent move to Madison. Diane spent a 32-year career at the university and enjoyed the hard and challenging work of administering scholarship programs, dealing with students’ financial needs and problem solving, especially during registration week periods. As always, Diane made lifelong friendships with fellow employees, students, and administration, as well as associates outside of the university.

As a single career girl, Diane was also fiercely independent and enjoyed the life of what she described as a “bachelorette” in the turbulent, late 1960s Madison. But in February 1972, after a Saturday night out on her own because of a cancelled date, she had a chance meeting at the old downtown Madison “Bachelors’ III” nightclub with Mike McCarty. Falling headlong in love, and after a whirlwind and adventure-filled courtship, Diane and Mike eloped to Rockton, Ill. for a small chapel weekend wedding on Oct. 26, 1973. When they called to announce the good news, both of their families were joyous. It was truly a marriage made in heaven, beginning a lifetime of committed love and happiness.

Diane loved the hard work of her career, gourmet cooking, gatherings and parties of family and friends, and just sharing life and work with Michael. Diane loved and pampered her pets. She was a lifelong Packers and Badgers fan, owning season tickets to UW men’s basketball for 53 years. She lived her life with enthusiasm and compassion for people and animals.
True to her Norwegian Viking roots, Diane loved travel. Early on, Diane traveled with her parents to the 1964 New York World’s Fair and with friends to the World’s Fair in Montreal in 1967. Mike and Diane took adventurous road trips to Winnipeg, Manitoba and visits with family and friends and climbing the Rockies in their vintage 1966 VW camper and train trips to the east coast and New Orleans. But the most memorable trips were to visit family and friends in Norway, as well as to England, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, a memorable anniversary tour of Italy, as well as Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, all of the lower 48 states of the USA and anniversary trips to the islands of Hawaii.

Diane’s warm, engaging, empathetic personality and big, delightful smile lit up a room. Life with Diane was like holding on to the tail of a brilliant comet. In the end, she faced down a terrible disease with unwavering bravery, grit and determination until the very end. ‘Love you forever, Norwegian girl’.

Diane is survived by her husband of 46 years, Michael; her brothers-in-law, Patrick McCarty of Albuquerque, N.M., Jonas Karcz of Roanoke, Va.; sisters-in-law, Linda Nardin of the Villages, Fla. and Rano McCarty of Albuquerque; special friend, Dagmar Spetland; and her three nephews and a niece, as well as many other relatives in the U.S. and in Norway and many dear friends . She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Dennis Refvik; and her father-in-law and mother-in-law.

A special thanks to the loving and caring staff and volunteers of Agrace HospiceCare, who provided wonderful inpatient care for Diane for eleven months, as well as Drs. Howard Bailey, Ryan Spencer, Kristin Bradley and Amy Stella and staff of the U.W. Carbone Cancer Center and UW Hospital.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. DENNIS CATHOLIC CHURCH, 505 Dempsey Rd. Madison, at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8. 2020, with Father Randy Timmerman presiding. Burial will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, Wis., from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m., on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, and also at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass on Wednesday.

Memorials may be made in memory of Diane to Agrace HospiceCare Foundation, the U.W. Carbone Cancer Center, or to the Dane County Humane Society. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive
(608) 221-5420

Previous Events

Visitation

Tuesday

7

Jan

4:00 PM 1/7/2020 4:00:00 PM - 6:00 PM 1/7/2020 6:00:00 PM
Gunderson East Funeral & Cremation Care

5203 Monona Drive
Madison, WI 53716

Gunderson East Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive Madison 53716 WI
United States

Visitation

Wednesday

8

Jan

10:00 AM 1/8/2020 10:00:00 AM - 11:00 AM 1/8/2020 11:00:00 AM
St. Dennis Catholic Church (Madison)

505 Dempsey Rd.
Madison, WI

St. Dennis Catholic Church (Madison)
505 Dempsey Rd. Madison WI
United States

Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday

8

Jan

11:00 AM 1/8/2020 11:00:00 AM
St. Dennis Catholic Church (Madison)

505 Dempsey Rd.
Madison, WI

St. Dennis Catholic Church (Madison)
505 Dempsey Rd. Madison WI
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Roselawn Memorial Park Final Resting Place

401 Femrite Drive
Monona, WI 53716

401 Femrite Drive Monona 53716 WI
United States
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