Philanthropist Annette Ostrom leaves behind legacy

Wisconsin State Farmer
Philanthropist and show cow enthusiast Annette Ostrom forged one of the great human-cow partnerships ever in the show ring with the legendary Musqie Iatola Martha EX-97. Often paired together, Annette and Martha would win World Dairy Expo’s Grand Champion Jersey in three consecutive years, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Annette Ostrom, co-founder of Dairy Cares of Wisconsin, has died at the age of 49, following a courageous battle with cancer.

The De Pere, mother of four, died on Oct. 19, 2022.

A graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received a degree in agriculture in 2005, Annette married James J. Ostrom. According to her obituary, in both her professional and private lives, Annette cared deeply about people and paid attention — a wonderful combination that uplifted all who knew her.

Annette was a beloved figure in the Wisconsin dairy industry, both as a long-time business manager for Zoetis, as well as for her passion for the dairy-cattle-showing community. Just weeks before her passing, she was at the World Dairy Expo in Madison supporting family, friends and her own highly successful show-cow team, according to her obituary.

Annette served as a co-founder of Dairy Cares of Wisconsin, a non-profit organization that has raised more than $2 million in support of Children’s Wisconsin (formerly Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin). Her selfless spirit and kindness live on in the children and families that have benefited from those efforts. In 2017, Annette and her husband, Jim, accepted the “Wisconsin Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award” on behalf of Dairy Cares during National Philanthropy Day.

Though her name was etched onto the plaque, Annette always insisted she accepted the award on behalf of a large team of volunteers of which she was just one. 

Annette is survived by her husband Jim; her four children Mac, Carlie, Shelby and Tristen.

On Monday, Oct. 24, a Celebration of Annette’s Life will take place at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30) Monday, Oct. 24, at Life Church, 1551 Lawrence Dr, De Pere. The gathering will take a meaningful, but non-traditional, approach with no formal receiving line.

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, visitation will take place at Salem United Church of Christ, 217 Salem Dr., Plymouth, from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service at 11 a.m. She will be laid to rest at the Woodland Cemetery in Kohler, Wis., following the service.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a charitable gift to Dairy Cares of Wisconsin, N3569 Vanden Bosch Road, Freedom, WI  54130.