Allene Newman Skapyak Freimuth, 91, died on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, at The Classic at Hillcrest Greens, a senior residence in Altoona, Wis., due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, with her children by her side.
Allene was born March 26, 1928, the first of seven children born to Truman and Helen Barber Newman in rural Chetek, Wis.
Allene graduated from Chetek High School in 1945, after which she attended Eau Claire State Teachers College on the Rose Falsted Scholarship, earning her two-year teaching diploma in 1947. Her first teaching job, at the age of 19, was at Meadowbrook School in rural Clayton, Wis., where she was to meet local farmer Frank Skapyak, whom she married in 1950. To this union were born three children: a son, Douglas, and twin daughters, Sharon and Karen. After two years in Turtle Lake, they purchased an 80-acre hobby farm across from the Skapyak family farm in rural Clayton.
After returning to teaching in 1959 at Clayton Public School, Allene attended summer and evening classes at Eau Claire State University over the next few years, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in education with a minor in library science in 1967.
Allene taught second and fourth grades at Clayton for eight years, and then was the school’s library and media director for 25 years. During that time, she authored the first-ever state library curriculum, which she presented at the Wisconsin School Board and Administrator Convention. She also initiated Clayton Community Library.
In 1990, Allene was given the distinction of being named a Wisconsin State Teacher of the Year, Special Services, by the state Department of Education. She was a teacher that many of her students and student librarians remember to this day. She took part in numerous pep rally skits, library month and book week events, and organized many memorable occasions.
Frank Skapyak died of Hodgkin’s disease in 1970. Allene married Robert Freimuth on Derby Day, May 5, 1973, which started a family Kentucky Derby celebration every year since. They lived most of their married life in Amery, Wis., and upon their retirement spent many happy winters traveling in the south and to England.
Robert died in 2001 due to complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Allene continued her travels, visiting every state in the U.S. except Montana, and it wasn’t for lack of trying! She later moved to Eau Claire, Wis., to be closer to her family.
Allene was a faithful member of Holy Trinity Orthodox Christian Church in Clayton. She had many interests, including reading and writing, memberships in civic organizations, volunteering at Eau Claire Public Library and State Theatre in Eau Claire, picnics, parades, camping with the family and time spent with longtime friends.
Allene will be lovingly remembered by her son, Douglas (Betty) Skapyak, of Eau Claire, and their children, Christina (Reinier) Hillebrink, of Utrect, The Netherlands, and Michael (Katie) Skapyak, of Lakeville, Minn.; daughter Sharon (William) Meier, most recently of Juneau, Alaska, and their children, Dr. Joshua (Kari) Meier, of Louisville, Ky., Stephanie (Richard) Celic, of Brooklyn, N.Y., Dr. Brian (Meredith) Meier, of Roanoke, Va., and Gregory Meier, currently in Vietnam; and daughter Karen (Jim) Bechly, of Altoona, and their daughter, Sarah (Nathan Dobbs) Finch, of Hopkins, Minn. She is further cherished by her great-grandchildren, Jonah and Alana Meier, Benjamin and Nora Hillebrink, Alyssa and Austin Skapyak, Max Celic and Ben Meier. Allene is survived by brothers Milford and Donald (Betty); sisters Ardis Hill and Florence (Elton) Burchell; and nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by brothers Lyle and Russell.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, Sept. 22, from 4–7 p.m., at Williamson-White Funeral Home in Amery, Wis., with a prayer service at 7 p.m.
Funeral services will be on Monday, Sept. 23, at 10 a.m., at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Clayton. There will be a memorial gathering in Altoona at The Classic at Hillcrest Greens, on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 2 p.m.
Williamson-White Funeral Home, in Amery, is assisting the family. Memorials may be directed to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (www.michaeljfox.org/donate) or Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Clayton. Memory Eternal.
To sign an online guest book and video tribute, please visit www.williamsonwhite.com.
Arrangements were entrusted to Williamson-White Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 222 Harriman Ave., North Amery, WI 54001.