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Gail Tischer Zahn

April 19, 2024 | 10 comments

Gail Latrica (Tischer) Zahn, 90, passed away peacefully at Bluffview Memory Care, in Holmen, WI, on April 18, 2024, with her two daughters by her side.

Born February 19, 1934, in La Crosse, to the late Frank and Charlotte (Evans) Tischer. Gail was also preceded in death by her loving husband, Don; and two preemie siblings.

She married Donald Zahn on her 21st birthday February 19, 1955, at the Cathedral in La Crosse.

Gail and Don had Zahn’s Home Improvement Company, which was started in 1922, by Dons father, Victor Zahn. Gail worked in the office until Don became ill and dissolved the business in 2000.

Gail also worked at Stansfield Vending in the office. Later in life she was the Aquinas High School Lunch Lady. All the students came to love and adore her.

Gail and Don had two daughters, Tami Oie (Andy) of Madison, and Zoe Ann Leis (Dan) of Holmen; and two grandsons, Tyler (wife Rachel Allen) of Holmen and Zack (girlfriend Selena Olvera) of Stoddard.

Gail loved animals and had her pups Tuffy, Buffy and Gizmo through the years. She also loved to travel with Don and her family and was fortunate enough to attend her grandson Tyler and his wife Rachel’s wedding in 2013 in Hawaii with her best friend Charlene.

Her number one passion in life was dancing, twirling and performing. Gail’s parents had no problem taking her to the best dance teachers they could find. Soon after she started baton twirling. Gail twirled for the Erickson Kiddie Drum Corps, then Central High School. She was the first to twirl fire baton in the La Crosse area. After marriage, and when Tami and Zoe got a little older, the Warriors Baton and Drum Corps was formed in 1963. The Warriors became the Zahn Families life and grew larger as the years went on. With their Native American theme Gail designed all the corps uniforms and the members all made their own headdresses in her basement. She contracted all the parades, trips, fundraising. Gail and Don also purchased the first three Warrior trucks for the group, which was all volunteer.

Gail was not only a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother but the mentor and second mother to thousands of kids in the Coulee Region, most of who called her (Ma) for 50 plus years. The Corps went on to win multiple State, Regional and National wins. She took many kids from the area traveling all over the US, most of whom say to this day that it was the best time of their lives.

Tami and Zoe were both members of the Warriors their whole childhood throughout High School, along with Zoe’s sons, Tyler and Zack, who became accomplished drummers for the group. They definitely made Grandma proud. Zoe also twirled and danced at Catbird games, which Gail did not miss a performance and was “Mother Feather” for the dance team. Tami and Zoe then began teaching for the Corps and the Warriors just celebrated their 60th Reunion last June. One of the former members just said “Thank you for sharing your mom with us!” Gail definitely has a special place in a lot of hearts! The legacy of this amazing lady will live on for years to come!

“In a hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the type of house I lived in, or the kinds of clothes I wore, but the world may be much different because I was important in the life of a child” La Crosse Warriors.

The family would like to thank Bluffview Memory Care, Patty, and the St. Croix Hospice staff; Sarah, Kari and Chaplain Chris for your tremendous support and making this difficult time much better.

A Celebration of life will be held at The Gathering Place, 133 Mason Street Onalaska, WI, Saturday, May 25th.

Visitation will be from 1:00-2:00 pm with a service following.

The service will be live-streamed via Zoom. Please visit this page at the time of service for the link.




  1. Stacey DavisS

    So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Hugs!

  2. William Bernier

    Gail “raised” so many kids. She changed lives. Us “kids” are amazingly lucky to have been a part of her world. Cheers Gail and thanks for everything!

  3. Michael Forer

    Gail will hold a very special place in my heart, always. The Warriors was my life as a child, as it was for a lot of kids. I will never forget those years, those people, and especially the smile and kindness I found there. All, very much thanks to Gail and her family.
    She was Ma to so very many, and I am very happy to say that she was Ma to me as well.
    Rest in peace, Ma.

  4. Barry Miller

    Love to all, especially Tami and Zoe! Like my little sisters. Who can replicate Gail’s love for anyone she met, and most importantly the (her Warrior Baton and Drum Corp) kids of 60 plus years!

  5. Julie Powell LaReau

    So very sorry to hear of Gail’s passing. I spent a lot of time with your family. I don’t know if you remember me, but I babysat with You two girls and Teddy. The three of us watched Batman at the kitchen table. Don and I did the grocery shopping when she broke her leg. I was with the Warriors from the beginning, I went from baton to colorguard, made head dresses and my mom Made lots of uniforms. Tami and Zoey, you were blessed to have parents that gave so much. God Bless????

  6. Kevin & Sara

    Kevin and Sara are so sorry for your loss . Charlene and Gail were the best of friends. Glad that 4 friends ( Don, Duane, Charlene & Gail ) are having the time of there lives together again. So sorry and sad they are all gone now but in heaven together again. Thoughts and prayers to all of you and the family.

  7. Suellan Dwyer

    I will always remember being 13 and being able to be part of the Warriors from the beginning. We all loved Gail and Don. Thankful that she was part of my life. Bless the family at this difficult time.

  8. Gregory Miller

    My deepest condolences to Tami, Zoe and family. Gail was such a lovely person, I have only the most unwavering affection for Gail, she was a second mom to so many kids in and out of the Warriors Baton and Drum Corps. She created a place for kids to grow and make friends that changed lives. Thank you Gail (Ma). You will be missed.

  9. Suzette Everson

    Sorry for your loss. I worked with Gail at Aquanis HS in the foodservice. All the kids loved her and she always had funny stories to tell.

  10. Colleen (Selbrede) Eary

    Sending my condolences for your loss. Gail was a wonderful person. I had a great time when I was a baton twirler back in the day.


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