Marguerite Soffa

Marguerite Soffa (27 Oct 1924-30 May 2023), philanthropist, upstanding citizen, matriarch and backbone of the Soffa family, supporter of, and worker for, human rights, especially those of women and disadvantaged people, died peacefully in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin on Tuesday, May 30 at St. Francis Home.

Throughout her long and well-appreciated life, Marguerite was proactive in guiding and underwriting the people, causes and organizations she believed were most effectively providing support and improvements in human rights and human life. This included supporting education, the library, and patronizing local businesses. In 2000, she established the J. Jobe and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Lecture Series at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Annually, the series invites a distinguished woman in international public life to speak at UW Madison about contemporary issues of global significance. Marguerite’s philanthropy was also felt in organizations throughout Fond du Lac, the state of Wisconsin and the USA. In addition, Marguerite enjoyed jazz and art exhibits. She especially loved to stump her friend, Jess Ellison, by asking him to play obscure songs. Because of Marguerite’s love and support of the arts, the upstairs balcony at THELMA Sadoff Center for the Arts is named “Marguerite’s Lookout”.

Marguerite “Mugsy” Jane Jacqmin Soffa met her future husband, J.Jobe Soffa, on the campus of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where they each studied and graduated. They married in 1947 and by 1951 had settled into a brand-new house in a new part of Fond du Lac from where they raised their children. She came from a large family and produced a large family, and was key in keeping the individual members as well as the several generations connected and flourishing as a unit. Marguerite left five children, ten grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, and their partners and spouses, who, while inspired by Marguerite’s example to lead meaningful and happy lives, will all have to do their best to remember how to make a cherry pie on their own.

Born in Green Bay, WI, Marguerite lived almost all her life in Fond du Lac but was truly a citizen of the world, as her horizons encompassed a much broader view. She loved to read newspapers and favorite authors, and traveled to interesting places as long as she was able. She believed in compassion and kindness, a glass of wine and staying abreast of current events, as she was actively engaged in the news of the day and her favorite causes to the end. After Jobe’s death in 1973, Marguerite stepped in to manage Merwin’s, a women’s fashions store, that Jobe had recently purchased. She and her daughter, Mary Lou, enjoyed the retail business for more than 21 years. In 1988, Marguerite, together with her sister, Kathleen Soch, purchased a cottage – named So and So for their families – on the banks of Green Bay in Door County, where both families enjoyed many years of sunsets and swimming, continuing their tradition of shoreline vacations. This year, a Jacqmin family reunion is planned for July and Marguerite was looking forward to visits from all of her extended family.

Marguerite is survived by her children: David (Teresa Clarke), Michael (Diane), Mary Lou (Doron Green), Suzanne, and Frederick (Amy Socolow), and many extended family members. She was preceded in death by her husband J. Jobe Soffa, Jr., her parents, Harry and Matilda Jacqmin, her siblings and their spouses, and other relatives and friends.

Please join the family at a gathering to honor Marguerite at THELMA Sadoff Center for the Arts, 51 Sheboygan St., on Sunday, June 25, 2023, from 11AM to 2PM. A jazz trio and light refreshments will be provided. A private graveside service will be held on June 26. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made

to the J. Jobe and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Lecture Fund at the University of Wisconsin (Madison), or to your favorite charity.