Wendy J. (Hillesland) Coe, age 59, of Madison, Wis., passed away at home on Dec. 25, 2016, after battling a recurrence of breast cancer. She fought this battle with grace, dignity, and had an amazing positive attitude. She was born on Oct. 5, 1957, in Rochester, Minn., the daughter of Lavern Hillesland ’49 and Jean (Currier) Hillesland.
Wendy graduated from Stewartville High School in 1976 and Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) in 1980. At Luther she fell in love with a very lucky man, David Coe ‘80. This "shoebox couple," because they always came in pairs, were wed shortly after graduation on Oct. 18, 1980. Together they had a son, Robbie Coe ‘09, whom she adored, nurtured as only a mom can, and was proud beyond words of the person he is today.
Wendy held a variety of positions in not-for-profit organizations including the Wisconsin PGA, North Central College, Meriter Foundation, and the Madison Community Foundation before joining The Rees Group, Inc. in Jan. 2005; where she served as the Executive Director for the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP). Wendy received Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and Certified Association Executive (CAE) designations, the highest professional credentials in the fundraising and association industries. She served ACVP with distinction, warmth and humor. Wendy was actively involved at Bethel Lutheran Church, including singing in the Bethel Women's Choir and completing a term on the Church Council. Most recently Wendy was serving as President of the Bethel Foundation. She had also been actively involved as a member of the Luther College Alumni Council for 10 years, Luther College Class Agent for 12 years, Madison East Band Parent Association, Leadership Greater Madison and a Past President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).
She was an avid and talented quilter and enjoyed sewing, knitting, singing, gardening and was a voracious reader. She loved her home, being part of a close neighborhood and spending time with family. David and Wendy also enjoyed traveling to favorite destinations including Scotland, Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York City. Most recently, they traveled to San Francisco, by train, with their son, Robbie, and his fiancée, Amber.
Wendy is survived by her husband, David Coe ‘80; son, Robbie Coe ’09 (Amber Svoboda); parents, Jean and Lavern Hillesland ‘49; sister, Betsy (Jerry) Busch; niece, Shannon (Jon) Plichta; nephew, Zach Busch ‘09; great-niece, Evie Plichta; father-in-law, Robert Coe; sister-in-law, Holly (Pat) Egge; and dear friends, Cheryl and Tim Frazier and Paul and Karen Bulgrin. She was preceded in death by her mother-in-law, Barbara Coe.
A memorial service was held at BETHEL LUTHERAN CHURCH, 312 Wisconsin Ave., Madison, at 11 a.m., on Jan. 4, 2017. Visitation was at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, Jan. 3, 2017. Memorials may be made to Luther College, the Bethel Foundation, or Overture Center for the Arts.
Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.