LaVonne Inez Santala, age 88, of Mondovi, WI, formerly of Eau Claire, WI, passed away peacefully on July 19, 2021 at Sacred Heart Hospital.

LaVonne was born on April 25, 1933, in Modena, WI to Selmer and Bertha (Dregney) Mahlum. LaVonne was married to Lyman Franzwa in February 1956 and had three children. They were divorced in 1975. LaVonne met and married Albin “Al” Santala in 1979. LaVonne and Al enjoyed dancing, travelling, golfing, playing cards and visiting family together. They travelled to many states, Canada and Mexico, and to Norway and Finland to visit their ancestors. LaVonne lost Al in 1996.

LaVonne continued to visit her family, bowl, golf, dance and play cards. She was a faithful member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Eau Claire for over 40 years. She volunteered for many years at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, knitting many baby caps for newborns. She loved knitting and made beautiful sweaters for her own grandchildren and countless other babies. She was also a member of the Moose Lodge in Eau Claire. LaVonne was able to see many of her family members after COVID restrictions were lifted, including the newest addition to the family, four-month-old Lorelai, who visited in June.

She is survived by her son, Jeff (Sherrie) Franzwa; daughter, Holly (Jon) Rigotti; daughter-in-law, Tina Franzwa; stepdaughter, Charlene (Larry) Gearing; stepsons, Alan (Karen) Santala and Jon Santala; grandchildren, Emily, Ahmi (James), Zachary (Margaret), Katelyn, Allison (fiancé Tyler), Justin, Larissa (Blaire), Aarika (Kalin), Travis, Cory (Erin), Stephanie (Matt) and Tara; and great-grandchildren, Penelope, Lorelai, Taylor, Emily, Maxwell, Morgan, Mira, Ben and Finley.

She is survived by her siblings, Ed (Shirley) Mahlum, Elaine Heike, Esther Alme and Keith (Sandy) Mahlum; and a sister-in-law, Katie Mahlum.

LaVonne was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Al; her son, Mike; sister, Bernice; brother, Dale; brothers-in-law, Ken, Roy and Ebert; and stepdaughter, Lynn.

The family would like to thank the staff at Sacred Heart Hospital Neurosurgical floor for their care and compassion.

Funeral services will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 23 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1314 E Lexington Blvd., Eau Claire with Pastor Patrick Patterson officiating. Visitation will take place at the church Friday morning from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service. Committal service will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Friday July 23 in the Riverside Lutheran Cemetery in Mondovi.

Friends and family may offer condolences online at

Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Rd., Eau Claire is assisting the family with the arrangements.

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