ABATE of Wisconsin is mourning the loss of a 33-year member who was the engine that kept the organization running on course.
Marlene Bautch served for over 20 years as the ABATE of Wisconsin office manager, newsletter editor and recording secretary. Fondly referred to as Auntie ABATE, she was like an aunt who educated, guided and even sometimes disciplined her family. She died on August 29, after a courageous battle with cancer. Her passing left an emptiness in many of our hearts, and District One Director Tim Tomann wanted to do something more than the traditional flowers donation.
Tomann represented the ABATE regions in southeastern Wisconsin and he discussed his plans to do something significant in memory of Marlene. Washington County region officer Lance Kirmse suggested Tim speak to Marlene’s husband, Dave Linberg. Since Marlene was a history buff and especially interested in the history of ABATE, it was decided that District One would raise funds to build a structure on ABATE’s land to house artifacts and historical records of ABATE.
Attorney Michael Hupy has been a friend of ABATE of Wisconsin since the 1980s and a friend of Tomann’s. Tim was aware of Hupy’s generosity and spoke to him about his idea for the memorial fund. In the past, during fund raising activities to pay down the debt on the land ABATE purchased, Hupy devised a matching grant program whereby he would match dollar for dollar what ABATE members raised for the project. That idea sparked new life into a lethargic program and the debt was paid off in a matter of a few years after three successful matching grant campaigns. Hupy offered to do the same thing for the memorial project and in less than six weeks, District One members raised $2,500. Hupy immediately matched that amount and at the ABATE state meeting, October 13, Tomann told Linberg and the members present about the fund and matching grant and a tearful Linberg expressed his appreciation.
It is hoped that other districts follow District One’s lead and continue to raise funds for this most noble tribute to a woman who raised so much money and awareness for ABATE of Wisconsin.