Cover photo for Mary Ellen Neitzke's Obituary
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1946 Mary 2024

Mary Ellen Neitzke

August 15, 1946 — March 7, 2024


Mary Ellen Neitzke (Bartman), age 77, passed away after a brief and sudden illness on March 7, 2024. Mary was born on August 15, 1946, to the late Fred and Lucille (Koehnke) Bartman in Appleton, Wisconsin. After graduating from Appleton High School in 1964, she met and married her husband, Gordon on August 4, 1967. They lived in Georgia while he was in the army but returned after his service to be near family and raise their daughters, Angela and Karla, whom she loved with all her heart. 


In 1972, Gordon started their photography and graphic design business, Gordon’s Photography, where Mary joined him as the office manager, continuing until her death. She stood by Gordon’s side during the lean years and appreciated financial stability for the latter part of her life. She was a thrift shopper at her core and was always excited to be able to fill her closets with a rainbow of color-coordinated outfits and accessories, all of which brought her great joy 


Family was her focus, and her maternal nature led her to become a natural caretaker for those who needed her. In her early years, she was like a mother to her younger sister Sue, and they kept that strong connection as adults. She lovingly cared for both her mother and her older brother Terry in their declining years.  


Mary loved and enjoyed all of her grandchildren equally, fully appreciating their differences, celebrating who they are. She made sure each had special one-on-one time with her, creating memories she knew would last a lifetime. 


As a child, her family enjoyed annual cottage rental vacations up north.  She continued the tradition for most of her life, excitedly anticipating spending time with extended family for a week in August, most often in Three Lakes WI.  In recent years, Mary and Gordon began taking annual spring road trips down south to visit family, finding different routes to explore on the way back. 


In the summer, Mary brought her garden to life with an abundance of blooming flowers. She spent endless hours shopping for and planting her beautifully arranged annuals and perennials. From May to September, she always seemed to have “just one more” plant that she needed to find a spot for. She appreciated the automatic watering systems Gordon created to keep her plants watered, so she had time to shop for more flowers. 


Mary developed unshakeable empathy through her own struggles and used that energy to help others. She never judged, always saw the good in people, and welcomed everyone into her heart. She was the nicest person you could ever meet, and truly made the world a better place. 


Mary is survived by her husband Gordon, her daughters Angela Greenberg and Karla (Erik) Brekke; her grandchildren, Ben, Daniel, Annika and Luke; her brother Don (Ray) Bartman her sister Sue (Rob) Draxler, brother-in-law Ralph Neitzke, sisters-in-law Mona Bartman, Alice Mueller and RaNae Bland, as well as numerous nieces and nephews and extended family. She was preceded in death by her older brothers Terry Bartman and Tom Bartman, as well as her brothers-in-law Don Mueller, Ron Bland, sister-in-law Tina Neitzke, and her nephews Tom Bartman Jr. and Scott Watkins. 


The funeral service will be held for Mary at 12:30pm on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Wichmann’s Funeral Home, 527 N. Superior St. Appleton. Visitation will take place from 11:00am until the time of the service. Inurnment will be at Highland Memorial Park, Appleton at a later date.   


A special note of gratitude to her WW, swimming and drumming friends who helped her find motivation to stay active as her body made it more difficult to do what she wanted in recent years.  



To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Ellen Neitzke, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, March 23, 2024

11:00am - 12:30 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, March 23, 2024

12:30 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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