Jacqueline A. Etling always put others before herself, daughter Mary Ann Etling said.
Etling, a graduate of St. Mary’s College, was a mother of nine children, including three sets of twins.
“People were drawn to her because she was interested in who she was talking to and not distracted by other things,” Mary Ann Etling said.
Daughter Patty Suprenant said her mother’s friendly nature enabled her to become acquainted with everyone she met, from co-workers to the people at the dentist's office and bank.
“Every person had the same exact comments, ‘Your mother had a sparkle in her eye,'" Suprenant said. “It was always about how the other person was doing.”
During her long, hard-fought battle with cancer, Etling maintained a positive attitude and kind spirit. She often comforted other patients and was concerned about her caregivers.
Etling valued education and taught her children to be the best they could be, they said.
She would say “the cream rises be the top, always be the cream," Mary Ann Etling said.
Etling, 81, of New Berlin, Wis., and formerly of Munster, was married to the love of her life, James, for 35 years.
Son Thomas Etling said his parents, who went to the same grade school, dated in high school but not in college. They began corresponding when James was overseas in the service and he proposed.
Etling was a mother to all who knew her, welcoming her children’s friends. She was intelligent and learned quickly.
Etling loved her 20 grandchildren, traveling around the country to attend their graduations, first Communions, and school and sporting events.
Thomas Etling said faith was the guiding principle of his mother’s life.
She said too bad for the cancer because she had the Holy Spirit on her side, he said.
“Her last day was spent praying for hours at a time,” Mary Ann Etling said. “That was so critically important to her.”
All said they will miss talking to her.
“No matter what was going on, you always felt better after talking to her,” Thomas Etling said.