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 April 22, 2017
Jabari Parker isn't playing with his teammates in the NBA Playoffs, but he is thinking about his team, his friends and his city. On The Player's Tribune yesterday, Parker toasts our city calling it the place where he wants to "raise my own family."
Published April 18, 2017
The Women in Travel Summit '17 will be held at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center Hotel from April 21 to 23 in Downtown Milwaukee. WITS is the creation of Wanderful, an international community and online resource for women who travel. Win tickets and more now.
Published April 11, 2017
It's teed up to be one of the best shows this year, and judging from the buzz, reviews and what I'm hearing from FM 106's Kerry Wolfe - Eric Church's "Holdin' My Own Tour" - that rolls into the BMO Harris Bradley Center Friday night - will rock Milwaukee's Good Friday night with nearly 40 tunes and 3+ hours of music.
Published April 5, 2017
As his company prepares to open two new locations, Darren Horndasch, Wisconsin Vision CEO, talks glasses, screen time, daily wear contacts and more.
Published March 18, 2017
I'm again calling for the creation of a new, Lake Michigan Milwaukee fountain. Milwaukee means water, and what better way to showcase our connections to fresh water than a giant fountain in Lake Michigan.
Published Feb. 19, 2017
Milwaukee's made yet another list: Thrillist Travel's "Underappreciated American Cities You Should Totally Move To." Published today, the list highlights 16 "underappreciated cities" that are "all dark-horse candidates to help you author your best move ever."
Published Feb. 13, 2017
Lists are lists, but we should all be proud to share a new one from Inc., "3 Unexpected Places That Are Actually Amazing for Startups." Because, you guessed it, Milwaukee's on it.
Published Feb. 8, 2017
The annual U.S. News & World Report city rankings are out, and Milwaukee leaped up 25 spots in just one year, from 72 in 2016 to 47 this year - placing just ahead of Kansas City and behind Honolulu.
Published Feb. 7, 2017
Basketball legend-turned-author and political activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is coming back to Milwaukee on March 2 to give a speech and take questions at The Milwaukee Theatre.
Published Feb. 6, 2017
It's media. It's all media. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Rex, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever platforms you use - you use them to read, interact, live, shop and make your life happen.