Paint brush is her key to happiness

By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | February 13, 2015

Loderbauer uses her artistic skills to brighten walls of Sherwood Catholic school

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]SHERWOOD — Julie Loderbauer shares the talents she discovered in her youth to brighten the surroundings for the children at St. John-Sacred Heart School. Her latest paintings at the school created a jungle décor theme in the remodeled library.

Your Catholic Neighbor: Julie Loderbauer (Kathy Weigman | For The Compass)
Your Catholic Neighbor: Julie Loderbauer (Kathy Weigman | For The Compass)

“Leopard print is my favorite, so a jungle theme was right up my alley,” she said with a laugh.

Her other works at the school include cherubs above the water fountain near the front entrance and a birdhouse, puppies and a mural in the commons. She also assisted with colors throughout the school.

“When they began renovating here, Marianne Wnek (stewardship coordinator at St. John-Sacred Heart School) called me and asked if I would help select colors, so I picked out some paint colors,” said Loderbauer. “I’m Bohemian, so I’m very out of the box. I’m not an interior designer, but I know enough to make me dangerous.”

Loderbauer, who is originally from Antigo, developed a passion for art at a young age. She attended Most Precious Blood School in New London for two years before her family moved to Kimberly. Art class at Holy Name School featured a “radio professor” whose show was broadcast over the public address system.

“I think it was on Tuesdays and was a half-hour program,” said Loderbauer. “He talked about things and you were supposed to draw. That was art class, no matter the grade. It was fun. They had contests and when I was in fifth grade, I won. I had to go to Green Bay to meet him.”

The professor with the deep, booming radio voice turned out to be very small in stature, much to Loderbauer’s surprise, but the experience affirmed her artistic talent.

“When I graduated from high school, I wanted to go to college for art,” she explained. “That was back in an era when women just didn’t get a loan to go to school. You just didn’t go to school for art.”

Loderbauer landed a job as a telephone operator and worked her way up to become an engineer. She retired in 1995.

“I was only 47-years-old when I retired,” she said. “What was I going to do? I got my real estate license and worked with my husband, but I didn’t like it.”

Loderbauer and her husband, Chuck, have been married for 47 years. They moved to Sherwood, Chuck’s hometown, in 1986 and have been members of St. John-Sacred Heart Parish ever since.

“Chuck said, ‘You have to do something because you are driving everyone up a wall,’” explained Loderbauer. “In 1996, I started painting in houses, doing murals and faux finishing. That was big. People were building houses like crazy.”

In 2007, Loderbauer returned to the phone company for a two-year stint before retiring a second time. She now relishes her role as a volunteer.

“I have a daughter (Tina). When she was in school, I was not able to volunteer. I worked 48 hours a week. My husband had two businesses and we had rentals,” she explained. “Now it’s payback time. I’ve had a good life and I enjoy sharing my God-given talents.”

In addition to her artwork at the school, Loderbauer utilizes her crochet and knitting skills as a parish volunteer. She makes lap robes, a covering for the legs, for the elderly who are in wheelchairs and baby blankets for baptisms.

Along with Dolores Neuser of Hilbert, Chuck’s cousin, Loderbauer also makes leg coverings for veterans. She said that this outreach helps to keep those who served in the military in her thoughts and prayers.

“We do red, white and blue lap robes for them,” she said. “We include a little flag and put in a letter of thanks for their service. It’s really dear to my heart. A lot of kids who I went to school with died in Vietnam or were injured.”

Now that the shelves and furniture are in the school library, Loderbauer said she may do some more painting to fill some blank wall space.

“It would be nice to have the kids do something,” she said. “It’s important to have the kids involved and to praise them for their work.”

Loderbauer, who jokingly describes herself as an “older unit,” wants to create a design with grapes near a photo of Blessed Mother Teresa in the school commons.

“I can picture it,” she said. “I can imagine what it will look like. I always say, ‘If it doesn’t turn out, you can just paint over it.’”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_message color=”alert-info” style=”rounded”]Your Catholic Neighbor

Name: Julie Loderbauer

Parish: St. John-Sacred Heart, Sherwood

Age: 66

Favorite saint: Blessed Mother

Words to live by: “Life is what it is … I can only do my part.”[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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