“Cherry” Leah Lommen,
March 27, 1946 To July 15, 2020, age 74, passed away peacefully on July 15, 2020 with her husband, Dick, her partner in life for almost 56 years, and her sons by her side. Cherry was born March 27, 1946 to Leah and William Shely, and grew up in a loving home surrounded by the beauty of La Crosse at the foot of Grandad bluff. She graduated from Central High School in 1964 and UW-La Crosse in 1968. She was an excellent student, graduating with honors with a major in chemistry and a minor in math. During her sophomore year of high school she met and fell in love with Richard (Dick) Lommen and the two were married on November 28, 1964. Cherry and Dick’s commitment to each other, their children, family, friends, work, and generosity towards all was the foundation for their marriage and a life together building their own American dream. In 1968 they purchased the McDonald’s restaurant in La Crosse which began their own family tradition that continues today as Courtesy Corporation. Cherry was a businesswoman, operating the Cherry Tree, a women and children’s clothing store in La Crosse.
Cherry lived a life of contribution, giving her time and talent to grow and build many organizations in her community. Those that benefited from her energy and passion include the Boys and Girls Club of La Crosse, The Ronald McDonald House of Rochester MN, Chileda, the Family and Children Center, UWL Women’s Self-Sufficiency board, Viterbo University, and many others. Her passion was truly about helping children, women, and families survive challenges and tough times by teaching the values of hard work, strong family values, personal character, and a positive attitude.
Cherry had many joys in her life including her grandchildren, tennis buddies, traveling the world with friends, chocolate, shopping, dinner parties, and giving gifts. Cherry was blessed to spend time with family and dear friends at her two favorite places, Land O‘ Lakes, Wisconsin and Bonita Bay, Florida. She celebrated “75 Summers” on the lake this year where her parents first met in 1919 and she visited as an infant. Accordingly, she was a member of a very exclusive group of Black Oakers, that is those who have earned the 75 year pin. It was truly a “Lake Love” of pontoon cruises, waterskiing, family dinners, and enjoying the beauty of her “Up North”. Bonita Bay became Cherry and Dick‘s winter home to escape Cherry’s deep dislike for the cold. With Cherry’s remarkable social talents, they quickly were surrounded with another group of dear friends and enjoyed more than 25 years of making great memories there.
The family would like to extend their gratitude for the extraordinary care given by her Oncologist, Dr. Aaron Mansfield of Mayo Clinic, and all of the caregivers who gave her the gift of an additional 5 years.
Celebrations of Life will be held at later dates in the places she loved the most – La Crosse, Wisconsin, Land O‘ Lakes, Wisconsin, and Bonita Bay, Florida.
- Walt Bates