Jeanne Engle Bio

I was born in Ladysmith WI. Until I was nine, my parents, three sisters and I lived with my grandparents on their dairy farm in Sheldon, WI, where my father farmed for 50 years until retiring. When I was nine we moved down the road to a home that my dad helped to build.  

I went to high school at Flambeau in Tony WI and graduated from UW-Madison with a BS from what is now the School of Human Ecology (aka Home Economics). I have lived or worked in Madison ever since graduating the UW.

After graduation, I worked for the University’s Data Processing Department when punch cards were still being used and the IBM computer took up a room almost the size of the room we meet in at Colony Cottage.

I have had three careers.

Career Number 1 – Human Resource Management. I worked in that field for the Wisconsin Union (student union at UW), Madison Newspapers (now known as Capital Newspapers), and Famous Footwear (the headquarters used to be in Madison). 

Career Number 2 – Self-employed Training & Development Consultant. I did this for almost a decade in the 1990s.

Career Number 3 – Fundraiser. I worked for Wisconsin Public Radio managing the on-air membership drives and the volunteer program. My last full-time position was as a development officer for the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Foundation, where I called on donors one-on-one. I then free-lanced as a fundraiser writing grants for the Madison Public Library Foundation and Richfield Historical Society. In addition, I was contracted by Dane Buy Local, an organization of locally-owned, independent businesses in the Dane County area, to secure sponsorships for the past 6 years.

During that time, I started writing feature stories for Madison Essentials, a magazine focusing on shopping, dining, entertainment, local businesses, and more in the greater Madison area.  I still write the feature stories for the magazine.

I recently took on another contract job with my past employer, the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Foundation. I will be calling on folks asking them to make a planned (estate) gift to the Society. Many of the people I will be calling on are snowbirds or permanent residents of Florida so this will work out well when I am here in The Villages.

I have been with Rick Vrzal, my spouse-equivalent, for 20 years. We met online through Yahoo personals – before there was or eHarmony. I have a son, Fred, by my first husband. He lives in Madison and works at the Wisconsin Union. Rick’s son, Jon, and his wife have three boys – 7, 5, and 2. They live in Sheboygan. 

This is our fourth season in The Villages. We bought a home on the historic side in January of 2017. We will be in The Villages 6-7 months beginning fall 2017. When we return to Wisconsin for the summer, we will be living in Sheboygan to be close to the grandboys.

Here in The Villages, we love to play the game of Petanque. Of course, the Southside pool with its hot tub is a favorite of ours. We also like attending live musical performances at various venues in The Villages.   

As a hobby, I make hand-crafted greeting cards. In the past, I wrote a blog and may start it up again.

I will miss my Madison friends, I’m sure, now that I’ve left. We hope the family will come to visit so we won’t have to miss them too much. We will NOT miss the snow and ice of Wisconsin winters. Wisconsin, Madison, and the UW will always be in my heart!