October 19, 1939 – June 29, 2020
Elizabeth Louise Madsen Ciesar, 80, of Fish Creek, Wisconsin, died June 29, 2020. Beth was born October 19, 1939, in Chicago, Illinois to Eileen Mae Hearle Madsen and CarlTheodore Madsen (Sister Bay WI). Beth graduated from George Rogers Clark High school in Hammond, Indiana, and achieved a BS in Fine Art at Purdue University in West Lafayette,
Indiana. She remained a devoted Kappa Alpha Theta throughout her life.On April 20, 1963, Beth married her high school sweetheart, John Gilbert Ciesar. A decidedly urban couple, they were original residents at the classic waterfront high rise, the
Outer Drive East, overlooking the Chicago Yacht Club, where they moored their classic wooden boat. She loved working as an Interior Decorator at the iconic Marshall Fields on State Street. That all changed in 1969, when the Ciesars, along with four other couples, (John’s high school
investment club buddies) purchased the Thorp Hotel. The compound spanned eleven acres and included the oldest building in Fish Creek. Beth and John moved their young family up north, establishing Founders Square. Beth enthusiastically traded in her high heels for sneakers,and settled down to the hard work of restoring, and renovating, the vast landscape of antique buildings, barns, and the hundreds of treasures within. She thoroughly embraced the country life, and in 1976, she transformed one of the cottages into a new form of creative expression, when she and John opened The Fish Creek Clothier. Prior to The Clothier, a visitor to Northern Door remained limited to t-shirts, sweat shirts and possibly dry socks offered in the lower level of the Red Owl General Store. The Fish Creek Clothier changed all that forever.
More than just selling clothes, Beth transformed how people felt in and about their clothing. She created personalized outfits, draping her patrons in self confidence. Over the decades, Beth hired and mentored countless young ladies and gentlemen, showing them how to find that sweet spot where fun, fashion and function intersect. She and John built a Barn Home on the bluff overlooking Fish Creek which she loved above all others. Her passion for primitive antiques reached a high mark of style in the eighties, when her home was featured in Country Living and placed our local annual Housewalk. In 1992, Beth purchased and renovated the dilapidated Old Catholic Church (now Gallery of Gold). She poured herself into the transformation of the building and property and moved the Clothier into that space. It was there that she established the first coffeehouse in Fish Creek, The Down Under as a shady cool haven for creative writers, chess players, and musicians such as Reggie Thomas, and Taj Mahal. After selling the church property and closing the Clothier, Beth started a new chapter of creative expression, from her adobe outpost in Carefree AZ, Beth spent decades hooking primitive wool rugs with her sisters Anne and Jane. The Three Hooking Sisters enjoyed traveling and hooking together, and stayed close through their shared passion for the authentic Early American Art. Her “paintings in wool” commemorate her life, her style and her vast sense of humor. Her pieces have graced the walls of the Miller Art Museum, the Hardy Gallery, the Fish Creek YMCA, and the homes of her beloved friends and family. Beth passed peacefully in her sleep at home after bravely living into the limitations of Parkinsons for almost a decade. Beth is survived by her two daughters; Jennifer Ciesar and her son Balthazar, (Siesta Key FL) and Karen Ciesar, (Joel) and her daughter Zephyr, and sons Max and Sam (Baileys Harbor WI); two sisters, Jane (Ed) Bescherer, Wilton, CT, and Anne Corazzi, Fort Wayne, IN, and brother Carl “Buzz”(Stephany) Madsen, Phoenix, AZ as well as many beloved nieces and nephews. Beth was preceded in death by her parents Eileen and Carl Madsen and her soulmate John Ciesar.
A memorial service celebrating Beth’s life will be announced.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to
womensfunddoorcounty.org or www.suebaldwinfund.com or https://unityhospice.org