Sally A. Flaten


Sally Ann (Charbonneau) Flaten, passed away peacefully on June 14th, 2020 at the home of her daughter Dawn and husband Marv surrounded by love following a brief rapid decline in health. Sally was 85 years old and most recently lived at New Perspectives Senior Living prior to living in the Village of Superior with her husband Donald, who passed away in October of 2017.

Sally was born November 30, 1934 in Superior, the child of Captain Earl J and Cecelia (Geris) Charbonneau. Sally grew up in Superior surrounded by an extended paternal and maternal family. As a young child, one of her favorite memories was the two winters she spent living on an ore boat in the harbor, when her father was a ship tender. They lived in the Captains Quarters and it was quite fun throwing snowballs at people down below. Much of the year her dad was a tug boat Captain on Lake’s Superior and Michigan, allowing for numerous adventures. Growing up as an only child, she spent many hours playing with and caring for her cousins, especially a baby cousin Bobby Stein with leukemia and her disabled cousin Billy Dault. As a school age girl and young teen she spent many a weekend with her friend Snookie, whose parents, good friends of her own, owned Dreamland Supper Club. They had a tendency to get into mischief up on the roof, hiding and throwing snowballs, making strange noises and putting firefly’s in customer cars to scare people. She attended Cathedral School from Kindergarten through High School graduation in 1952. She was a talented artist in high school and was in charge of decorations for most school dances.

Sally met Don at age 13 at the Yale Laundry where both of their mothers worked. They later became high school sweethearts and married on June 19th, 1954 at St. Francis Church, celebrating 53 years of marriage before his passing. Sally worked in numerous grocery stores starting as a teen for her uncle at Peter’s Grocery in East End. She and Don raised two daughters, Dawn and Sandra. Sally was a stay at home mom until the girls started school, then returned to work in the grocery setting until her retirement in the late 90’s. She spent most of her years working the produce department, eventually becoming the manager at ‘Big 7’, later the ‘Piggly Wiggly’ in Superior. She loved her work, loved helping people and even in these recent days was ‘picky about her fruits and vegetables’. She retired after 43 years of service in the Retail Clerks Union and grocery business.

After her marriage to Don, her parents moved to Manitowac, WI. Numerous times every year, Sally would travel by train to visit her parents with her daughters. Don would travel down a few days later and after a couple of days, the family would make the return trip in the car. The love of buttered popcorn started there! Sally grew up learning to cook from some of the best women in her life, becoming an outstanding cook herself as many family and friends will attest to. Her favorite saying to her soon to be son-in-law Marv was “you should eat because you never know when the next meal will come along” and as Don would say, “she cooked for an Army”. Her cooking brought the family together for the holidays, birthdays, summer feasts and picnics.

Now Sally loved to shop and was a super coupon clipper. She passed this talent on to her granddaughter Loni Marie at a very young age, they spent many hours shopping, always looking for sweet deals. In 1990, she entered chemical dependency treatment and recently celebrated 30 years of sobriety. Her family was very proud of this accomplishment, she demonstrated this strong resolve and determination daily.

She and Don enjoyed many years of retirement taking care of each other. He planted a large garden and she loved picking the rewards. It wasn’t unusual to see her outback in the dewy grass in her bathrobe harvesting in the mornings. She had a green thumb in the house too, she could make any house plant grow. Particularly her violets, they bloomed year after year and she always had vases of fresh flowers on the desk, whether peonies, lily of the valley or gladiolas to name a few. Sally developed Macular Degeneration in her later years, losing much of her eye sight. She handled this difficulty with incredible grace and perseverance. Every Thursday morning for 25+ years, Sally had her hair done. It was her treat to herself and even when she could no longer drive, Don drove her to the salon, as did her daughter after his passing.

Sally was a wonderful and loving wife, mother and grandmother ‘Munna’. She attended as many family events as possible. She was always game to go on Ancestry expeditions with Dawn. She remained an avid Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers fan, watching or listening to every game. She sure missed baseball this spring. Last year she was voted as the Valentines Day Queen at New Perspectives along with King Bob O, a role she took seriously until becoming the Queen mum this year passing on her crown!

Sally was preceded in death by her parents and husband. She is survived by her daughter Dawn Marie (Marvin) Cich, granddaughter Loni Marie (Benjamin #1) Omberg and great grandchildren Ethan 3 and Noah 8 months; her daughter Sandra Ann (Richard) Smith, and grandchildren Pattrich (Christi) O’Neil, Brandon (Laura Sanford) Pekkala Smith, and great grandchildren Oliviah 16, Annalise 11 and Gabriel 7; Angela (Matthew) Johnson, great grandchildren Natalie 18, Mattaline 6 and Adrianna 3; Nick (Angela) Smith and great grandchildren Carter 13, Orion 7 and Sofia 3; and Rick Smith.

Sally is survived by longtime friends JoAnn and Chuck DeSmet; Louann Ross; the Cich family which she became a part of numerous years ago; many friends from New Perspectives including Dale and Pat, Connie, Mary, Mae, Bob O, Bonnie O, Ann B, Joan P, Lorrie H, Karin, Lois (Maynard) and Vicki her daily desk buddy. Her friendly hairstylists Bonnie G and Jeanne S. A special thank you to Father Andy Ricci and to the Hospice Team from Essentia.

Due to COVID restrictions, a family celebration of life will be held later in the summer.

If desired, memorials in Sally’s name may be made to Cathedral School, 1419 Baxter Ave., Superior, WI 54880.

Downs Funeral Home, 1617 N 19th St., is assisting the family with arrangements. To send an online condolence, please visit

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