"Aunt Nettie"  was born in Caney, Kansas, and arrived in Wisconsin in a covered wagon at an early age. When fully grown, she weighed barely a hundred pounds.

For over 40 years she taught, at first in local grade schools and later in the Loyal, Wisconsin high school.  Despite her small size, she was not a strict teacher in any sense of the word. Her gentle dignity simply inspired respect and there was no need for her to command it with a raised voice.  This peaceful confidence was blended with a tender humility.

Her reading was diversified and extensive. She had a passion for history, but could easily set fictional stories aside for another day.  Games, such as Scrabble, Chase It (Parcheesi, a game of India), and variety of word games always intrigued her. Each of my children were eager to visit with "Aunt Nettie", who never failed to entertain all eight of them with books to read and games to play. What they learned from her has served them well throughout their lives.

She tended to be artistic and loved making little owls out of crepe paper and dabbled with painting.

She had an unusually vivid memory and precious snap shots of early local history, along with numerous names and stories were always within easy grasp.





Laura Jeanette "Nettie" Welsh

(Sept. 20, 1875 - Mar. 12, 1958) 

One time in her early life, she had a suitor but things didn't work out and she remained unmarried all her life. She had a delightful sense of humor, but you would have to be quick to catch it.  I remember hugs from Aunt Nettie but they came when we were young. Contrary to our present day times, people did not hug as much as they do now because the culture was different in those days.


"Aunt Nettie" was very kind.  School teachers made very little money in those early days of the "Great Depression", but that didn't hinder her generosity and desire to help the needy families who came to know her as a caring friend.  Those early thirties were very bad times for our country and many people went to bed hungry, but Aunt Nettie did whatever she could to help out.  One Christmas she bought a little present for each of nine children in a family and all of their names started with "M".  Most of her help was done privately and unannounced because safeguarding the dignity of the recipients was very important to her.


She was a devout Christian but did not push her religious philosophy on others. Most of the years I knew her, she had grey hairs. She suffered from lung problems which caused her to cough a great deal. She also suffered from a pain which came from a bout with shingles. She never complained but kept things to herself.  When things brought her to tears, she sought a solitary place to shed them, away from public view.


To the people who think my praises of Aunt Nettie are excessive, I must say my tribute still falls short of fully expressing her. I have never known a kinder person with such a warm personality and glowing intelligence. I still think of her frequently.  As a high school student, I lived with her and my sweet mother.  I am inevitably puzzled how she could have put up with me and grateful to have shared a part of my life with such a unique person.


One night in 1958 without saying a word to anyone she went to bed and went along to her savior.  Former students from across the nation attended her funeral at the local Methodist Church, most with tear filled eyes.  The preacher fittingly stated, "If this woman would have been of a different church, she'd have been a saint!"


Submitted 2008

by Sherrin Mack


I want to thank the Schwarzes for the opportunity to scratch the surface of this wonderful woman.




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