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 Nov. 22, 2014
Since we're nearing the end of Movember I asked an expert at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin a few questions about prostate cancer.
Published Nov. 21, 2014
The creative team at Plaid Tuba starts an innovative local art auction today on OnMilwaukee.com's ShopLocal marketplace.
Published Nov. 17, 2014
Today through Dec. 8, participating Cousins Subs locations host a food drive to benefit the Hunger Task Force.
Published Nov. 15, 2014
Mackenzie Kruvant's new "21 Juicy Burgers That Will Ruin You For All Other Burger" includes a Milwaukee mention and one from Kenosha.
Published Nov. 12, 2014
The topic of sports nicknames of the "lesser known" Milwaukee colleges and universities came up recently during my Bucks ticket draft. No one could name Carroll College's mascot. It's Carroll University now, by the way. Cardinal Stritch University? I got my MBA there and didn't even know it had sports, much less a mascot.
Published Nov. 10, 2014
We have another meet and greet opportunity for you. Just click here to bid on a chance to win two great seats for Hayes' show at the BMO Harris Bradley Center and a meet and greet with the rising country star.
Published Nov. 7, 2014
In their respective sports, both Aaron Rodgers and LeBron James are amazing leaders, highly skilled players and true students of the game. So, I had to share LeBron's tweet from yesterday that addressed his team's somewhat lackluster start.
Published Nov. 5, 2014
The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree comes to Milwaukee on Tuesday, Nov. 11 on its tour to Washington, D.C. It will help kick off the Downtown Holiday Lights Festival that officially begins Nov. 20.
Published Nov. 3, 2014
Today, in anticipation of this weekend's Trainfest and, of course, the big toy buying holiday season, Walthers is debuting Thunderrail, a new digital comic book based on the company's 1940s mascot, Willie.
Published Oct. 31, 2014
As a fan and a Milwaukee advocate, I love to share great things happening Downtown. One of these, for sure, is the huge Bucks logo on the side of the BMO Harris Bank building.