Obituary: Gayle Ione Patterson (McSweeney)

Gayle Ione Patterson (McSweeney), 84, of Milan, TN, formerly of LaValle, WI, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family after a long courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was born on November 15, 1939 in Williston, ND to Howard (Don) and Frances (Fisk) Evanson. Gayle’s family moved from Williston to the state of Oregon, then, to Unity Farm, MO. Don and Frances divorced when Gayle was 13. She and her brother went to live with their aunt and uncle in Mount Prospect, IL while Frances looked for work. She graduated from Maine High School.

Gayle went to work at NCR in Rosemont, IL. She met Jack McSweeney who was a friend of her mother’s boyfriend. Gayle and Jack were married on November 26, 1966 at St. Juliana Catholic Church in Edison Park, IL. Gayle and Jack decided when they had children she would no longer work outside the home. Jodi and Meegan were born 14 months apart in Arlington Heights, IL. Gayle wouldn’t have had time to work.

Jack wanted to be a cowboy so they searched for property in WI, near where Jack’s father had passed away at St. Mary’s Ringling Hospital in Baraboo after an automobile accident. In 1970, they purchased the Davis farm at the corner of County Road F and what would become LaValle Road. They named their property Blarney Bluff Farm. Jack worked several sales jobs before settling on real estate. That left Gayle home herding kids, Herefords, horses (which they also boarded for others), pigs, rabbits, dogs, and cats. Who was the rancher? Many neighborhood farmers would be assisting Gayle in rounding up cattle and/or horses out of the road and back into the pasture. John was born in 1973. Gayle and Jack sold the farmhouse, buildings, and 10 of their 70+ acres in 1975 and built the house on the hill where John and his family still live.

When the kids were grown Gayle took CNA classes and started working for the Sauk County Commission on Aging in various roles, always a caregiver. She started managing the Senior Meal Site at Willow Heights in or around 1993. Gayle and Jack divorced in 1996. Gayle became an in-home caregiver for a few families. She became a hostess at Marty’s Steak House and enjoyed seeing people enjoy their time out and she enjoyed a lot of the young people she worked with. Gayle had a beautiful voice and loved to sing. She had been a member of the church choirs at Sacred Heart Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

In 2005, Gayle reconnected with John Patterson from Milan, TN whom she dated and nearly married before meeting Jack. She and John were married in Benton County, TN on September 2, 2005. Gayle became bonus mom to Lisa and Kristy, and bonus grandmother to many. They bought a home on the Tennessee River in Eva, TN. They made many renovations to accommodate all of their kids and grandkids. Gayle and John’s grandkids loved having diving contests off the pier, fishing and driving the golf carts around, usually staying on the road and not hitting anything. Grandma enjoyed riding around on the golf carts, too. Gayle volunteered for Benton County Aging and sang in the church choir at the United Methodist Church in Eva. Gayle and John enjoyed watching the wildlife on the river and listening to music, sometimes the live music in Jackson or Hendersonville.

Gayle started to suffer symptoms of Alzheimer’s about six years ago. Gayle and John sold the river house and moved to a beautiful home with a lot of land outside of Milan, TN. John took wonderful care of Gayle in their home, the past two years as bedridden.

His goal was that she never go to a nursing home and he accomplished that with the help of his family and her wonderful caregivers from Asera Care Hospice, especially sweet Vevelyn who loved her “Mama Gayle”.

Gayle is survived by her husband, John; children: Jodi (Bill) Nelson, John (Michelle) McSweeney, Lisa Cowan, Kristy (Wayne) Jones; grandchildren: Lindsey (James) Lierman, Katie (Sterling) Walsh, Rachael Thompson (Ryan Weber), Brad (Shannan) Thompson, Gunner McSweeney (Daphne Barton), Mason McSweeney, Jerica Smith, CJ Cowan, Rebecca Jones; many great grandchildren, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

In addition to her parents, Gayle was preceded in death by her daughter, Meegan (Robb) Thompson, her brother, Gene (Eunice) Evanson, many beloved sisters-in-law and brothers-in law, and former husband, Jack (Janice) McSweeney.

The funeral service for Gayle, was conducted at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at the Farber Funeral Home in Reedsburg with Pastor Vicki Brantmeyer officiating. Visitation was on Wednesday at the funeral home from 9:30 A.M. until the time of the service. Burial was made in Big Creek Cemetery, Rural LaValle.

The family would prefer memorials be given to the Alzheimer’s Association or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Gayle’s name.

Farber Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.