LaVonne Abts

February 17, 1920 - October 11, 2010 


This site is dedicated to remembering Sr. LaVonne Abts.

Sr. LaVonne taught chemistry at Viterbo for a total of 22 years. In between those years she taught at the university in San Salvador, Central America, Monrovia, Liberia, and State University in Nigeria. She retired at Villa St. Joseph.

Tributes to LaVonne Abts
Obituary listed below


Prayer Service
6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 14, 2010
Mary of the Angels Chapel at St. Rose Convent

Mass of Christian Burial
10 a.m. Friday, October 15, 2010
followed by burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery


LaVonne Abts, FSPA

LaVonne Abts, FSPA, 90, died Monday, October 11, 2010, at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse. She was in the 72 year of her religious profession.
In recent years Sr. LaVonne had several near death experiences. A few weeks ago she was anointed again, but the Lord did not call her home for several more days. She died peacefully at 1:20 p.m.
Sr. LaVonne was born on Feb. 17, 1920, to Emil and Dorothy (Rothering) Abts on a farm near Fountain City, Wis. At baptism she was given the name Dorothy Helen. After five years the family moved off the farm to town where her father found work with an oil company. Dorothy missed the big yard in which to play. After much coaxing, her parents allowed her to begin school at age five at St. Mary's. Summers were spent visiting aunts and uncles, hikes into the country, picnic lunches in the park and on the bluffs, visiting her aunt and cousin at St. Rose (Sisters Ethel and Lucia Rothering). Dorothy attended one year of high school and then asked her parents for permission to enter the convent. She was surprised when they said she was too young and asked her to stay home one more year. Dorothy entered St. Rose Convent on Aug. 15, 1935.
Dorothy was received into the novitiate on Aug. 5, 1937, and was given the name Sister LaVonne. She pronounced first vows on Aug. 12, 1939, and final vows on Aug. 10, 1945.
Entering the field of education, Sr. LaVonne served as an elementary teacher for eight years before teaching on the secondary level for five years. She taught chemistry at Viterbo College for a total of 22 years. In between those years she taught at the university in San Salvador, Central America, Monrovia, Liberia, and State University in Nigeria. From 1987-1991 Sr. LaVonne served as director of the Hispanic Pre-Health Science at Mount St. Mary College in Los Angeles. After a three-year term as North American Coordinator for GATE (an FSPA sponsored ministry), a year in El Paso, Texas, doing social work for Catholic Charities, and three years with the SIS program in Milwaukee, Sr. LaVonne retired at Villa St. Joseph.

Community members, family and friends remember Sr. LaVonne as a very intelligent woman, a superb teacher and the perfect lady. She was dedicated, precise, and vivacious. Students loved Sr. LaVonne as a teacher. Working with the poor and other cultures called her to serve in San Salvador, Nigeria, El Paso, and Milwaukee.
Sr. LaVonne is survived by her Franciscan community; two brothers, Allen Abts, Fountain City, and Nathan (Mary Kay) Abts, DePere, Wis.; two sisters, Ethel Kelley, Mesa, Ariz., and Mary Jane (Lyle) Bohlinger, Fountain City; and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Cleo and four sisters, Marjorie Wnuk, Audrey Woychek, Janice Reuter, and Vera Kafer.
Friends may call after 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14, at St. Rose Convent, La Crosse. A prayer service will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Mary of the Angels Chapel. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m., Friday, Oct. 15, in the chapel. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, La Crosse.
Memorials may be sent to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, 912 Market Street, La Crosse, Wis. 54601-4782.