Hunn, Trepte receive Woman of Merit awards

March 20, 2019

The American Association of University Women-Watertown presented the 2019 Woman of Merit Awards to Carol Ann Hunn and Suzanna M. Trepte at Johnson Creek High School.

A news release from the AAUW said both women have been active in several areas of community service in the surrounding area for a number of years and are very deserving of the awards.

Carol Hunn

Hunn was born in West Allis and graduated from West Allis High School. She continued her education at Marquette University where she met her husband Tim. She left college to marry Tim, and the couple moved to Connecticut to care for Tim’s younger brother. They returned to Wisconsin in the early 1970s with their daughter Kristin. They purchased a farm south of Johnson Creek where they continue to live. Hunn and her husband have three children, Kristin, David and Andrew, and four grandchildren.

Hunn cares for her 95-year-old mother along with her siblings, so that her mother can live in her own home. Due to family commitments and a serious car crash, Hunn was often caring for those she loved.

Hunn received her degree in special education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1982. She then served as the early childhood special education teacher in the Watertown Unified School District for many years.

Carol Battenberg, who nominated Hunn for the Woman of Merit Award, stated, “Many families benefited from her caring and her clever materials and suggestions as they worked together to educate and nurture the young students.”

After her first retirement, Hunn worked at MATC as an adult basic education teacher, followed by serving as a teacher and paraprofessional in the Fort Atkinson School District. She now has a position at Paragon, an adult day care in Fort Atkinson, where she cares for adults who have had traumatic head injuries.

Hunn has volunteered as a make-up artist for plays for several area school districts, the Council for the Performing Arts in Jefferson and the Watertown Players. She has also educated students in the art of stage make-up.

As a volunteer in her church, Hunn has served as the religious school coordinator and the adult education coordinator, and she leads monthly learning and reflection. She also takes communion to people who are homebound or in an assisted living facility.

As a community volunteer, Hunn has worked for many years and in many capacities on the Johnson Creek Educational Foundation Board of Directors. In recognition of her service, she was awarded the Friend of Education Award by the Johnson Creek School District.

For 22 years Hunn has been the coordinator and president of the Johnson Creek Food Pantry.

Suzanna Trepte

Trepte was born in Oconomowoc and graduated from Oconomowoc High School. She continued her education at Waukesha County Technical School in early childhood education. She and her husband Bob have three children, Stephanie, Phillip and Julia, and two grandchildren.

Trepte operated a licensed family day care for seven years, and during the same time she and her husband were foster parents for the Women’s Center in Waukesha County. She also worked in nutrition services for 18 years at Watertown High School.

In 2016 Trepte and her husband founded the Haus of Peace, which provides a safe environment for women and children in need. “When Sue shared her vision for the Haus of Peace, I knew it was going to come to fruition,” said friend Cecilia Salas. “She not only did all the footwork, learning the process and legalities, but also took classes learning how to effectively help abused women to get on their feet, giving them hope for the future.”

In addition to her work at the Haus of Peace, Trepte has volunteered at the food pantry, Bread and Roses, Loaves and Fishes and Mary’s Room.

Trepte has acted, directed and produced musicals and plays for the Watertown Players for 15 years. She encouraged children in theater with the S-Team for five years and was involved with the Red Door Theatre.

Trepte has been a youth leader in her church for five years. She went on several missionary trips in the U.S. and also in India and Africa. She has also been a leader of a woman’s group at her church.

The news release said Trepte’s care for others likely rose from challenges she faced herself. She had a difficult childhood, including poverty, and started work at age 13. The death of her son Phillip at age 23 in 2013 gave her family a 3-year-old granddaughter to raise.

Friend Marlene Dawson, who has known Trepte since age 12, described Trepte’s early resiliency to adversity and her accomplishments in helping others. “Sue’s heart for the broken and needy goes beyond the ‘I’m so sorry’ platitudes to the ‘What do you need? I’ll see what I can do,‘” said Dawson. “This then becomes ‘I’ll do all I can to get you the support and help you need.’”

Engraved vases of spring flowers were presented to Hunn and Trepte by those who nominated them for the award. Carol Battenberg and Carol O’Neil presented a vase to Hunn, and Karen Wzorek and Cecilia Salas presented a vase to Trepte.

AAUW’s Woman of Merit Award was initiated in 1983. Hunn and Trepte are the 47th and 48th women to be honored.