Rycroft valiant to the end in cancer battle

Former BID coordinator passed away Tuesday

For as long as she was physically able, Marisa Rycroft continued to work even as she battled cancer.

“She brought her laptop to chemo treatments,” her friend Wendy Crawford said.

Rycroft, 58, resigned as Shawano Business Improvement District coordinator in November as her health worsened. She passed away Tuesday.

Crawford, who had taken Rycroft to her chemotherapy treatments over the past two years, said she waged her cancer battle longer than expected and stayed in good spirits through it all.

“She was a delight to be with,” Crawford said.

Rycroft never focused on the cancer, according to Crawford and other friends and acquaintances who said she always turned the focus back on whomever she was with and onto other topics like children, travel and work.

“She had an inner shine, an inner glow,” Crawford said. “She was sincerely one of the nicest, most faith-filled people I’ve ever met.”

Rycroft even amazed her own oncologist at one appointment, who marveled at how she was able to keep going, Crawford said.

“There was no stopping her,” she said. “She kept going as long as she possibly could. She was a remarkable person of physical and mental strength and determination.”

Rycroft endured more than 40 separate chemotherapy treatments in the last two years, Crawford said, sometimes as many as three days in a row.

In addition there were radiation treatments, which, Crawford said, “was a different kind of exhaustion for her.”

Within the last three months, Rycroft learned the cancer had spread throughout her body, Crawford said.

Rycroft leaves behind a family of friends and acquaintances that she cultivated in Shawano.

“She touched a lot of lives,” Crawford said. “She’s someone I will miss.”

Rycroft became BID coordinator in late 2014. The position put her in constant touch with downtown business owners.

“She would pop in here and say ‘hi’ and visit for a little bit on her way to whatever she was doing,” said Kathy Hansen of Body Essentials.

“She really was a neat lady who did her best to do her coordinator job, to be a good mom and a good friend,” she said. “We’re going to miss her a lot.”

Angie Bistoff of Angie’s Main Cafe said Rycroft was a kind and gentle spirit.

“She was a great, friendly person, always smiling,” Bistoff said

“She did a lot for the community and the downtown,” she said. “She will be greatly missed. It’s a terrible loss for the whole community.”

Robyn Shingler recalled Rycroft from their days at the Shawano County Job Center.

“She was the first one at my door to make me feel like one of the family,” Shingler said. “She was so welcoming. So genuine. She had a grace about her that is so rare.”

Shingler worked with Rycroft on other community projects like the Toys for Tots program and interacted frequently while Rycroft was BID coordinator.

“She brought so much to Shawano,” she said. “We’re really going to feel the loss.”

Shingler admired Rycroft’s positive attitude toward dealing with her illness.

“She had a valiant and courageous mindset,” she said. “She defied the odds for as long as she could.”