Marshfield philanthropist passes away at 97
Bette Adler: 1919-2016
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — Former Marshfield businesswoman and philanthropist Elizabeth (Bette) Bille Adler passed away Tuesday, Aug. 16, at the age of 97.
Adler was born in Marshfield on June 2, 1919, to J.P. and Rosamond (Bille) Adler. She attended St. John’s Catholic School and McKinley High School before obtaining her post secondary education at Milwaukee-Downer and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Bette worked as a chemist for Kimberly Clark a short time before returning to Marshfield to run the family business, a job her father had groomed her for all her life.
Bette watched as her father grew the Adler Theater Company into one of the state’s largest independent theater chains, with locations spanning from Milwaukee to Antigo.
After her father’s death, Bette took over as president of the remaining businesses and ran the company until it was sold to her close friend Paul Rogers.
Following her retirement from business, Bette and her sister, Anne, pioneered the creation of the Marshfield Area Community Foundation in an effort to give back to the community that Bette loved and had always called home.
Among the funds administered by the foundation is the J.P. Adler Community Improvement Fund. The fund recently became the springboard for the enhanced bear habitat at Wildwood Park & Zoo, which provided a gateway for obtaining Kodiak bears.
The foundation now administers over 150 funds that provide for the enrichment of the community.
Hansen-Schilling Funeral Home will be taking care of arrangements.