Harriet Conger Soukup was born April 26, 1936 to parents who raised their 4 daughters and son to be independent thinkers and to follow their dreams and passions. Harriet loved her years growing up in Kohler, Wisconsin. After high school, she pursued a degree in Political Science at UW-Madison where she became and remained a true Badger fan. She truly loved football and basketball and could quote statistics and discuss Badger players as well as those for Green Bay with the best of them. Harriet always had an array of outfits to wear supporting her favorite teams, including a pair of hand painted Packer shoes! She then went on to get an education degree from the University of Platteville. During this time, she established special connections with her nieces and nephews that continued throughout her life.
Through her teaching, she met the man that would share her love for over 58 years, Jerry Soukup. Although their strengths were very different, they shared similar values of love of family, respecting every individual, truly listening to people’s stories and their love of the Northwoods. They enjoyed bowling, playing Bridge, and later in life really enjoyed playing nightly Farkle, Solitaire, or Wii bowling games. They raised two daughters (Tanya and Trika) and a son (David). Not every family had a sandbox and a pool table in the basement for the kids growing up, but they did! All three children have fond memories of getting together with family, spending wonderful times “up north”, and lots of fun games with family and neighborhood children. It was important to Harriet and Jerry to provide experiences and spend time with their children and later grandchildren and great-granddaughter. One of Harriet’s greatest joys was when she and Jerry purchased a cabin on the same lake that her family had been coming to since the year that she was born. It truly has been a place of family memories!
After her children started school, Harriet returned to teaching by working at Mid-State Technical College in different capacities. She was a much-loved teacher and worked well with very diverse populations. She gained the respect of her Native American students and they in turn would escort her to her car for safety. She supported and loved learning about the Hmong culture and her Hmong students showed their respect by adding extra produce whenever she shopped at the Farmer’s Market. Her co-workers laughed at her messy office, but she could always find what she needed! Harriet had an impish smile and a happy/gentle disposition that was non-threatening and endeared her to people. She was an intelligent woman that had a quiet way of sharing her knowledge with others.
Her family will forever remember her fun quirks. They will remember her love of reading: cookbooks from her 100+ collection, her expansive romance novel collection that she shared with others (when you deal with real life difficulties it is nice to have a happy ending), her many magazine subscriptions (and those that she gifted) and the newspaper. A treasured recent gift to her grandchildren was a handwritten book of her favorite recipes which included her special breakfast rolls, cookie recipes and pies that they had grown up making together! We will remember her setting all of the clocks a minute apart so she could run around the house seeing all of the digital clocks turn 11:11, even pm since she was a night owl! When asked why, she shared, “Now every time you see 11:11 you will think of me”… and we do! She loved Jeopardy and other gameshows, PIGS, crushed ice, her nest, adult coloring books, her many adopted international students that called her grandma, and lining her bed with the “hotties” (rice bags) her granddaughter made for her. Her great-granddaughter captured her families’ feelings perfectly when she pointed to her picture and said… “I miss her!”. Yes Harriet, you are already missed. Family and friends may go to www.helke.com.
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