Debra Usinger, vice president of Usinger's Famous Sausage, passed away in July 2012 at the age of 58.¬† She was a friend and as I wrote when I heard the news two summer's ago one of the Milwaukee "area's biggest champions and most visible female entrepreneurs."¬† She had a story for everything and everyone and true heart of gold.
On Wednesday evening, friends, family and civic leaders gathered to commemorate a new memorial for Usinger.¬† Supporters raised more than $20,000 to commission a new sculpture on Milwaukee's Riverwalk and establish a maintenance fund that will help upkeep the newly renovated Edison Park that's just across the Milwaukee River from Usinger's and next to Rojahn & Malaney Co., 1005 N. Edison St.
Local artist Beth Sahagian-Allsopp created the bronze sculpture that has tree branches intertwining on a trellis to signify life and connectivity.¬† She also made the accompanying bench.¬† Sahagian-Allsopphas has several pieces on the RiverWalk and is an owner of Vanguard Sculpture Services.
Debra loved art and her wedding gift to me and my wife was a wonderful painting of small home with a tree in front.¬† It's simple, fun and to this day hangs in our kitchen.¬† I couldn't help but smile when this new tree branch sculpture was dedicated.
The memorial also is intentionally simple.¬† It was planned by Marsha Sehler and implemented by Keith Stachowiak of Uihlein/ Wilson Architects.¬†
Three dear friends of Debra's, Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown; Cecilia Gilbert, business liaison with the Milwaukee Department of Public Works; and Dan McCarthy, director of urban development at Zilber Property Group, led the fundraising efforts.¬† Marsha Sehler, Gary Grunau and others also helped spearhead the memorial.¬† Mayor Barrett and Deb's brother, Fritz, both spoke at Wednesday's dedication.¬† Nearly 100 people attended the dedication and post reception at Mader's.¬†
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Jeff Sherman
Published Aug. 24, 2016
Milwaukee native Sarah Hoye has spent more than a decade as a reporter and storyteller for Al Jazeera America, CNN and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Her latest CNN piece is a must read and a great conversation starter around town.
Published Aug. 20, 2016
Corner Bakery will replace the Baker's Square at 1305 E. Capitol Dr. in the Village of Shorewood.
Published Aug. 11, 2016
OnMilwaukee is once again honored to support Potawatomi Hotel and Casino's Heart of Canal Street program. As a long-time partner and passionate community advocate we're also thrilled to announced that this year we'll help support our long-time partner, the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM).
Published Aug. 9, 2016
You'll be skeptical, I'm sure. But I think you'll love the new Nexflix documentary "Tony Robbins: I'm Not Your Guru." It's an amazing look at motivational speaker and his team as they hold one of his marquee events in Boca Raton, Fla.
Published Aug. 8, 2016
Milwaukee's iconic Marcus family will be featured in the new season of "Project Runway," as Linda Marcus has landed a spot as a contestant on the Heidi Klum-hosted show. The next season begins Sept. 15 on Lifetime.
Published July 24, 2016
Agents and their families flock to Milwaukee every year this week, and each year I love the buzz that's created by adding 11,000 visitors to Downtown Milwaukee. As a community, we need to champion the corporations that choose Milwaukee as their home, so thanks NM!
Published July 15, 2016
Curious minds want to know who is behind a regular bakery bonanza in Downtown Milwaukee. Several residents in the neighborhood tell me that streets and bridges are consistently laced with multiple bakery items several times per week.
Published July 12, 2016
There's something missing this week: the energy, buzz and excitement that only Summerfest brings. As the state's economic and entertainment center, Milwaukee gets most of the love, but with healthy arteries and suburbs, everyone wins when Summerfest shines.
Published July 2, 2016
Sure, he played the exact same encore as he did the last time he was in Milwaukee. But on this near perfect Summerfest night, Blake Shelton was different - different in that he's now a much bigger star, which he used to his advantage Friday night.
Published June 23, 2016
Check out the latest podcast from Bill Simmons featuring Jimmy Butler - and, germane to us here, including several Marquette and Milwaukee mentions. In fact, Butler says several times "I love Milwaukee," citing his days and degree at Marquette.