Theda Mae Curwen, 99, of Benton Township, passed away on Sunday night, April 2, 2017, surrounded by her family at the family farm. Theda Mae Hillary was born on Dec. 7, 1917, to Fern (Lawyer) and Will Hillary at their home in the Coon Branch community of Benton Township. Her future husband, C.W. “Bill” Curwen, was born two houses away four months later. After graduating from Benton High School, she worked very hard during the Depression to put herself through the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of her proudest accomplishments. After graduation, she taught at Blue River High School for two years. Because she would not have been allowed to teach for a second year if it were known she was married, she and Bill were secretly married on July 3, 1940, after her first year of teaching; she wanted to have two years of teaching experience to qualify for a lifetime teaching credential. She and Bill resided on their farm on Buncombe Road in Benton Township during their 63 year marriage and enjoyed traveling around the United States and abroad. Theda and Bill had five children: Mary Jo, Randy, Connie, Ceanne and Christie. Theda returned to teaching at the Race Track one-room school, then taught at Benton High School, Shullsburg High School, and St. Joseph’s Elementary School in Sinsinawa. Theda was a lifetime member of the Benton United Methodist Church. Theda celebrated her 99th birthday last year with an open house attended by one hundred people.
She is survived by her daughters, Mary Jo Curwen (Colin Chiu), Connie (Mike) Hay, and Christie Curwen, and son, Randy; six grandchildren, Tiffany Chiu, Nicole (Donnie Wang) Chiu-Wang, Brett Hay, Corinne Hay, Christopher Peckham and Brianna (Teren) Shaffer; two great grandchildren, Atticus Curwen and Wesley Shaffer; and a son-in-law, Keith Peckham.
Theda was preceded in death by her husband, Bill; her daughter, Ceanne; and two sisters, Beth Breed and Virgie Davis.
Services will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the United Methodist Church in Benton with Rev. Bill Vasey officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Friends may call from 3-8 p.m. Friday at Casey Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Benton and from 9:15-10:15 a.m. Saturday at the church before the service.
Memorials will be donated to Hospice of Dubuque in appreciation for the fine care given to our parents and family.
Online condolences for the family may be left at www.caseyfuneralhome.net.