Grace Ampe (1947-2019)
Grace Ampe was called home to heaven on March 7th after a long illness. Grace was born on October 25, 1947 to Frank Valentine Neubecker and Elsie Neubecker (Genteman) in Neillsville, Wisconsin. Her parents were immigrants from Austria and owned a dairy farm in rural Wisconsin. She grew up on the farm with an older sister, Kathy, and younger brother, Daniel. She would tell stories of all the fun they had on the farm such as making cow pies in the pasture. She also recalled the meager lifestyle they endured when she recalled having only French fries for dinner-on numerous occasions. Although she was very small, she remembered he father’s passing and the way her mother was able to maintain the farm in his absence.
Grace started her education at Meadowview School which was a one-roomed school close to her home. She then attended St. John’s Lutheran School where she was later confirmed and graduated. After graduation from St. John’s, she before attended Neillsville High School where she graduated in 1965. Grace loved school and was a member of the pep band, newspaper and FHA. She talked about wishing she would have been able to become a teacher because of her love for school and learning.
After graduating high school, she stayed in the area and met Paul Ampe. They were married on April 27th, 1968. Soon afterwards, they moved to a small apartment in Kenosha where she worked for Dynamatic in their office. In 1970, she was blessed with her first child, Darlene. At this point in her life, she decided to be a homemaker and enjoy the blessings of family life. Four years later, she was again blessed with a child. This time it was a boy, Matthew. During this time of her life, Grace became very active at Bethany Lutheran Church and School. She volunteered as the lunch lady, librarian and many other opportunities as they arose. Her talents as a typist saw her help on various boards keeping minutes. It was also during this time that her experience and ability on the business side began to blossom. She took charge of her husband’s growing company as the accountant and human resources person.
As the children began to grow and the needs at home diminished, she rejoined the workforce. She worked at places such as Midway Supply, ACT, Careers INC, and Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. Though her employment changed, Grace always maintained a joy for typing, accounting and greeting people on the telephone. After her divorce, she returned from living in the country to a small home in the city.
Grace loved to travel and was blessed to see many foreign lands with her daughter. She enjoyed gardening and always had beautiful flowers at every home-especially roses which were her favorite. Although she always admitted she was never an athlete, she was an avid sports fan. She always made sure to tell you that she was a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan! She was also a fan of the New York Yankees and Duke basketball. Grace was a person who was very strong in her faith in the Lord and tried to live her life with this belief as her guide. It was this strong faith that helped her during the difficult times-as well as her battle with dementia. She struggled to let people get too close, but always had a closeness with God.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents, father and mother, aunts, uncles and cousins. She is survived by her daughter Darlene Ampe; son and daughter-in-law Matthew and Joyce Ampe; grandson Carlos Ampe; and granddaughter Lola Ampe. She will leave behind her sister Kathy (Neubecker) Becker; brother Daniel Neubecker; cousins, Edward Schoenherr, Richard Schoenherr, and Beverly (Schoenherr); nieces and nephew Christine (Ritter) Dicks, Stephanie Ritter and Frank Neubecker.
A memorial service will be held at 6:30 P.M. on March 14th at Bethany Lutheran Church (Somers) located at 1520 Green Bay Rd, Kenosha, WI 53144. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to Luther Prep School located in Watertown.