Obituary for Vivian Kepner at Bartell-Leamon Funeral Home (2024)

Vivian Kepner

July 20, 1924 - April 24, 2024

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Vivian Ruth Kepner passed away April 24, 2024 at her home on the family farm where she has lived for over 75 years. She was 99 years old, born July 1924 in Jackson County, WI. She was the fifth of seven children of Sever and Hulda (Nordeen) Fieldstad, a close farm family that endured the Depression. Her father was compelled to leave Central Wisconsin in 1936 and move to South Wayne WI in search of better farmland and opportunities. Vivian liked to frame her Depression era childhood by reporting that she weighed only 70 lbs upon her 8th grade graduation. Her family moved to a farm in Nora Township in 1941 and she graduated from Winslow High School in 1943. She took teaching classes at Platteville WI. She taught in one-room schoolhouses in three districts: Rowe’s Corner, Eden School, and the Puckett School, located at the Southeast corner of the intersection of IL RT 78 and Canyon Road.

She met her husband and life partner Hubert Kepner at a dance at the Warren Opera House in 1943. They married on November 28, 1948, living and working together on the family farm located south of Nora IL for 65 years until Hubert’s death in 2013. Vivian and Hubert had four children: Robert (Theresa), Dr. Barbara Kepner, George (Rogene), all of Lena IL, and Charlie (Martha) of Chicago, IL.

Besides being instrumental in the farming operation, Vivian taught GED/Adult Education classes for Highland Community College for 25 years beginning in 1970. She assisted numerous individuals in passing their GED and acquiring their HS diploma. She loved teaching math and was a proficient tutor, not only to her many students, but also to her children and grandchildren.

She was a devoted daughter who adored her father, cherished and supported her husband, and guided her children. She admired men who toiled in fields, raised livestock, and could repair equipment. Her father was born in Norway and her mother was raised in Chicago by Swedish immigrant parents; she was extremely proud of her Nordic background and roots, corresponding with distant overseas relatives and researching family lineage. Vivian and Hubert took the trip of a lifetime in 1995 when they visited ancestral farms and churches in Norway and Sweden, and met extended family. She loved writing letters and corresponding with family and friends, composing meaningful and heartfelt letters, with a practiced and distinctive penmanship that she employed into her final weeks. She had a compelling need to know what was happening on the farm and know who was doing what, when, and where, with her kitchen as the farm’s HQ, and always ready and able to feed at a moment’s notice anyone who stopped for respite.

Surviving Vivian are her four children; nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren: Valerie (Ryan) and Sadie Deal of Monroe, WI; Paul (Alicia), Mackenzie, Noah and Evelyn Kepner of Lena, IL; Alison Kepner (Brandon Larson) of Baraboo, WI; David (Sara), Vivienne and Harrison Kepner of Waunakee, WI; Dr. Claire Kepner, DVM ( Jordan Rainey) of Mont Alto, PA; Olivia Kepner ( Levi Davis) of Gratiot, WI; Peter Kepner (Madison Smith), Elizabeth Kepner (Jake Hesslau) and Katherine Kepner, all of Chicago, IL.

Vivian was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Hubert Kepner; siblings: Leonard Fieldstad, Vernon Fieldstad, Inez Biesemeier, Helen Boynton, Robert Fieldstad and Kenneth Fieldstad; four infant great-grandchildren: Kyle Joseph Kepner, Madalyn Janice Deal, Ava Theresa Deal and Sydney Jane Kepner.

The Kepner Family would like to thank the caregivers that cared for Vivian in her final years, allowing her to stay in her beloved house and farm, including Barbara Kepner, Dale, Maureen, Sherri, Mary Jo and Bill.

Services will be at Bartell-Leamon Funeral Home in Warren, IL. Visitation is scheduled for Friday, May 3rd from 4 to 7 PM. The funeral will be officiated by Reverend Rick Bader and will be held Saturday, May 4th at 11 AM, with burial at Elmwood Cemetery. A luncheon will follow at the Warren Community Building.

In lieu of flowers, memorials have been established for the benefit of St. John’s Lutheran Church, the Nora Community Church, and Highland Community College.

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Obituary for Vivian  Kepner at Bartell-Leamon Funeral Home (2024)

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