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In Memory Of Debbie Loiselle

January 2, 2009

When I read an email today about the death of Debbie Loiselle the very first thing that came to my mind was her laugh.  It was so very easy to be around when she released her full rich laugh.  Though she was serious about many issues, she never found it hard to have fun with life, and by her laughter let others know that she enjoyed your company. 

Debbie Loiselle, and her partner Stuart Seffern, died in a plane crash on Thursday night in Joliet, Illinois. 

I first met Debbie Loiselle while working at the Wisconsin State Capitol.  She was employed by the Assembly Sergeant at Arms office, and I was struck at once by her beautiful red hair.  But it was to be her smile, and the ease that I felt when I was around her, that soon made her one of my favorite people under the dome.   I admit to taking breaks from my office, and walking to her location near the Assembly Chamber and trading short funny stories while relaxing for a few minutes.  She was just so natural, and lacked the pretentiousness that often comes with many that work at the Capitol.

After I left my job at the Capitol we would run into each other from time to time, and she was never short a funny story, or a tidbit of news that she knew I would enjoy hearing.  She never forgot how much I enjoyed the work I did there, and always made me feel that I still had a bond to those days.  That was a most remarkable and kind thing to do.

When my friend Brad Boyle was President of the Burr Oaks Neighborhood Association in Madison he asked me to help with a crime watch walk.   There among the many faces standing up for a safer neighborhood was Debbie Loiselle.  I recall her determination to not let her home area become just another sad headline in the newspaper.  She was a fighter and strong advocate for the issues that she knew in her heart to be the right ones that demanded time and energy.

One of the last times we ran into each other was several years ago at an event on the Capitol Square.  After we had talked for a few minutes Debbie told me that I seemed to be genuinely happy.  There was no way for her to know the journey I had been on in my life, and that I had made it to the other side.  Yet she was able to see the happiness within me.  I thought her comment to be most remarkable. 

Thinking back about her remark perhaps it is easy to see why she said it.   Her laugh was the door to her soul, her smile the invitation to enter.  I think she might have seen the world in the same way that others saw her.

I am grateful for the pages of my life that Debbie Loiselle made a mark upon.  I am also grateful that I can still hear her laugh and see her smile.

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  1. Ian James permalink
    April 2, 2012 3:25 AM

    It’s taken me three years to post this, but I think time changes all things…My family were very good and close friends with Stu and Deb, very upstanding people, and as myself a lover of aviation Stu took me on my one and only time I have ever flown, when I was 10 in 1995, they were very close to my family, they’re framed up on the kitchen wall at my grandparents house, I haven’t flown since and I always imagined a day that I would be able to have the time for Stu to be my flight intructor

  2. January 9, 2009 12:59 AM

    What warm and touching words each of you have written. I know that they mean a great deal to the readers who are stopping by at this time. Thanks for opening up and sharing.

  3. Elaine Kelly permalink
    January 8, 2009 11:57 PM

    I live in Staten Island NY . I am friendly with Stu’s brother. Every Year at Christmas Stu’s family throws a party at his Mothers house on Staten Island. I remember going for the first time and feeling awkward not knowing anyone there. As I stood there in the corner, Debbie came immediately over to great me. As it turns out we sat for hours that night talking. I sat with this woman I had only met hours earlier yet felt as if I knew her for years!!! Debbie was a genuine and wonderful person. Each year Stu’s brother would say are you coming to the Party this year Debbie asked if you were coming. I would think how sweet that Debbie cared!

    I only met Debbie twice in my life. Both Stu and Debbie were down to earth and friendly people.
    I was and still am in shock hearing such sad news. As I read these threads about Debbie I understand more why I feel so badly. She absolutely was a sweet, kind and wonderful woman. May she rest in Peace. My prayers to both families on such a great Loss.

    Elaine Kelly

  4. Kathi Nash permalink
    January 6, 2009 11:26 AM

    Deb and I went through 8th grade together, at Lincoln Junior High, and continued our friendship through high school and beyond. I didn’t take part in her annual holiday cookie exchange in December due to a bad cold, and now I deeply regret missing my last chance to hang out with her and Stu. She was a very fun, earthy and kind person, and one of the two friendships I’ve kept up with and cherished over the years. The world is definitely a darker and colder place, without her and Stu in it. Hopefully we all hook up again, in another life!

  5. Cathy Telstad-Rogers permalink
    January 3, 2009 3:40 PM

    Debbie Loiselle and I go back over 30 years. We shared a wonderful friendship. Our 1st apartment, the laughter and the tears, our poetry writing & secrets only friends share. I will truly miss her but I am sure she is now watching us all. Deb & Stu love ya and I will never forget you. My deepest sympathies to Barb & her family and to Stu’s family.


    We cannot know what lies ahead
    From day to passing day,
    What changes God is planning
    In his wise and loving ways,

    We cannot know the reasons
    He allows both joy and tears,
    Why we must lose the precious ones
    We’ve cherished through the years,

    We cannot know, but we can trust
    And faith can help us find
    Our way to those tomorrows
    That will bring us peace of mind.

    Death leaves a heart ache that no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no can steal.

    Thank you Debbie for the wonderful memories…..

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