Elaine Fetting was known and loved for her homemade candy, her brilliant photography, her classically trained singing voice and for her strong faith. After her death in 2016 at 89, she become known for something else: her unending generosity.
Born in Sheboygan in 1927, Elaine Goldmann met and married the love of her life, Earl Fetting, on Halloween in 1953. They made their home in Appleton, on a quiet cul-de-sac along the Fox River.
“They never had children of their own, so they ‘adopted’ several generations of kids in the neighborhood, including ours,’” said Jeff Riester, a long-time friend and neighbor.
Over the next 47 years of their marriage, the two gave to numerous charities. But they especially loved supporting the dental needs of Fox Cities residents, as Earl was a dentist, and students who studied voice performance at Lawrence University, where Elaine had attended and performed.
After Earl died in 2001, Elaine established a donor advised fund at the Community Foundation, supporting the Tri-County Community Dental Clinic where Earl had volunteered. The fund also provided scholarships for students at Earl’s alma mater Marquette Dental School, and at Lawrence University’s voice music program.
“As friends and neighbors, we talked a lot about her philosophy of giving, especially as she approached the later years,” Riester said. “I remember Elaine saying, ‘I don’t want to scatter this around; I want to focus on a few things we most want to leave behind to benefit forever.’”
Several years before her death in 2016, Elaine established the Earl A. and Elaine M. Fetting Scholarship Fund, which makes annual contributions in Earl and Elaine’s names to Marquette dental scholarships.
The Fetting’s donor advised fund continues supporting the Tri-County Dental Clinic.