Luanne Ida Mulawa

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October 4, 1960 - March 22, 2020
Born in Milwaukee, WI
Resided in Saint Charles, MO

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Luanne Ida Mulawa (nee Habenicht), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 4, 1960 and passed away on March 22, 2020 at Evelyn’s Hospice House near my family home in St. Charles, Missouri. I leave behind a loving husband, who is devoted to our three wonderful children, who have grown to become fine young adults. I wish I had spent more time in their company, but I know they will go on to make their time count and be useful service to their beliefs and to others. Their love for me and mine for them is the most precious gift of my life.

My academic journey included participating in Milwaukee Public Schools’ head start program, desegregated busing, magnet school program, and accelerated Army ROTC program-with basic camp at Fort Knox, KY. I attended and earned degrees from Milwaukee Hamilton High School, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and Purdue University.

I was blessed to have a wonderful professional career, serving over 33 years for the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Intelligence Community, and retiring from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on March 31, 2016.

It was a pleasure to be able to volunteer my services as a Board Director for Achievements Unlimited Inc., a non-profit with the mission of supporting adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to support their mission.

The turning point of my unexpected life-ending health diagnosis of pancreas cancer brought me closer to God. My personal mantra has been the bible phrase, “rejoice in the struggle, it builds character, strength and hope…” I have had a blessed life with a family and friends that I love dearly. I believe I tried to do my best. At times I have reflected back realizing my choices were not always the best, but they helped shape me into who I am. I have been blessed with many adventures, professional recognitions and most importantly special moments with the people I have cherished in this life.

To those I have wronged, I ask forgiveness; to those I have helped, I wish I could have done more; to those I was unable to help, I ask for understanding; and to those who helped me, I am eternally grateful.

I am survived by my husband, Dave Mulawa, daughter Emily Mulawa Cravens (Thomas J. Cravens), son, David B. Mulawa and son, Daniel C. Mulawa; parents, Ida B. Habenicht and Louis J. Habenicht, sisters, Lori J. Ress (Henry Ress) and Lynda M. Zebrick (Craig Zebrick), nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Preceding me in death is my brother, Keith L. Habenicht (2015 Germantown, WI).

Memorials may be made in Luanne's name to Achievements Unlimited Inc.

Guestbook Entries

  1. Michelle Swanson March 25, 2020 at 1:42 am - Reply

    candle 6Wishing the family comfort, strength, and peace

    “We had a wonderful aunt, One who never really grew old; Her smile was made of sunshine, And her heart was solid gold.”

    Sending hugs, love, and prayers

  2. MICHAEL RESS March 25, 2020 at 8:02 am - Reply

    candle 7You will be greatly missed <3 I'm glad you are free from pain and are with our true father. I will never forget your laugh and smile. With all of my love Michael.

    • SHARON HAWK March 25, 2020 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      LUANNE was a precious person as a Co worker at NGA. Her gentle nature as a Co worker was rrefreshing.. My deep condolences to the family and mat God help through this tough time. You must keep in mind you have an angel now.

  3. Lynne Ridgeway March 25, 2020 at 10:40 am - Reply

    candle 7I will always hold dear our conversations whether at work or after I retired. Foremost topic was chatting about family.

    Your laughter and smile will be with me always.

    Love, prayers and hugs to all your family.

  4. Julie Lebowitz March 25, 2020 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    I am truly sorry for this loss. I’m glad to have known you and your family for the past six and a half years. You were always full of strength, compassion, and ideas on how to support others. These last few years have been challenging and I’m glad now that you are at peace; although, everyone here will miss you very much. I pray for peach, hope, and strength for your loved ones.

  5. Maria Moretti Gruenewald March 25, 2020 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Hey, Luanne. Is it weird that you wrote your own obituary? Not for you, I guess. You always just got it done. By yourself if necessary. You were fierce in your support and love for your children and I hope you know you were the best Mom anyone could ever hope for. That was the most important thing for you in your life and you nailed it. You were a bright shining warrior, Joan of Arc, always fighting the good fight! You can finally rest now, little General. I’m so glad we got to visit over the holidays, and I’m very glad that I got to speak with you last week, even if Dave had to hold to phone and translate a little. More than that, I am grateful for all the time we spent together, that you let me get to know you, and that you shared so much of your life with me. I am better for having known you, Luanne. Thank you!

  6. Nancy Hahn March 25, 2020 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    I’m so sorry, Dave and family, for your loss. You are in my prayers.

  7. Nancy Hahn March 25, 2020 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Dave and family. You are in my prayers.

  8. Terry Sanders March 25, 2020 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Rest in piece

  9. Gail Hallemann March 25, 2020 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    My deepest sympathy and prayers to you, Dave, and your family.

  10. Steve and Denise Kasten March 25, 2020 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I can still remember meeting you and Luanne at Purdue. How time flys. She was such a strong woman. May God provide you and your family peace in this challenging time.

    Steve and Denise Kasten

  11. Vicki Schroeck March 25, 2020 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    candle 2Luanne was an amazing lady who always lent a helping hand and had kind words to share, I don’t think I ever heard her raise her voice at work and she always encouraged you to do your best. I am glad our paths crossed and look forward to seeing you again one day.
    To Dave and the family I know she will always be watching over you from above. Hugs and prayers to you all in your time of grief.

  12. Paul Tobin March 25, 2020 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    candle 6I had the honor and pleasure of knowing and working with Luanne over the last few years before her retirement from NGA. In that relatively short time, I quickly learned that Luanne was incredibly smart, talented, persistent, driven to do the right things, and dedicated to her craft and her family! She would let us know when things weren’t right and she would work tirelessly to correct them Luanne’s way (aka the right way), even when the task appeared insurmountable. Her deep love and devotion for her family were also evident and unmistakable, and it was clear that they meant everything to her. I offer my deepest heartfelt sympathy to her family and friends, and hope that you find joy and peace in the lasting impressions and memories that Luanne made in each of your lives.

  13. Joseph Raybuck March 26, 2020 at 8:56 am - Reply

    I had the pleasure of working with Luanne over the last several years as fellow directors on the Board of Directors of Achievements Unlimited. Luanne was thoughtful, kind, energetic, and a great resource for AU. She was extremely knowledgeable, intelligent and passionate about our mission of helping adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. She laughed easily and often, and was fun to work with. Her passing is a tremendous loss for the AU community. May the courage that Luanne showed in the face of her suffering inspire us to continue serving our clients with skill and compassion as she would have wanted. On behalf of the board, I offer my sincere condolences to her family.

    Joe Raybuck
    AU Board President

  14. Teri Dempsey March 26, 2020 at 10:06 am - Reply

    candle 5I had the pleasure of working with Luanne in her mid-career at NGA. Working with Luanne was a true honor, one of the most dedicated and gifted employees and co-worker I have met. She was both an inspiration and talented co-worker.

    Teri Dempsey

  15. Ed Nuhfer March 26, 2020 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    candle 8Dear Luanne,

    Anything I ever saw you decide to do, you did it so very well. Your choice to provide us with a letter of goodbye instead of leaving an obituary is one of those things. It speaks to your love for all whose lives you touched and speaks to the love your family has for you in joining you to help you get your letter to us now. It softens the blow by allowing each of us to find closure by sharing some memory and saying goodbye too. Luanne, you brought a light and joy into many lives that cannot be forgotten. Life is something you did well.

    I have a few memories to share. One is when you brought Dave up to Wisconsin to our celebratory wedding pig roast, and I sensed he was such a gentle and loving person. When I later got your wedding invitation announcing, “I am marrying my best friend.” I thought, “YESS!” In the years before, we were blessed to share many adventures: tumbling on mats learning aikido in Japan, learning to shoot arrows from kyudo bows from one of Japan’s grandmasters, together with friends Dan and Jackie, and visiting the temples and castles of Kyoto. We shared seeing so many natural wonders of Earth while doing geology all over this beautiful planet. Some memories come from sharing weeks and thousands of miles on road trips with your fellow student Greg Del Mastro and working at Mt St Helens.

    The last time I saw you and Dave was at your wedding somewhere close to forty years ago now. At that point we took our separate paths, and never made contact again. Knowing you were out there doing good things in the world with work and family was more than enough, and knowing you had friends and fellow classmates like Greg Anderson (Bear) and Denise there with you gave warmth to memory. When Bear let me know of your imminent passing, I knew that thinking of the world with your presence would not be the same as thinking of the world without your being here in it with us.

    Two days ago, I shared your passing with Greg Del Mastro, and we spoke yesterday for nearly two hours–the first time in decades. Today I talked with Dan and Jackie, our hosts in Japan, who took some happy photos of you there. One was of Jackie waking you up at 4:00 a.m. to catch the train for us all to go and do the 6:00 a.m. aikido class in the city. The incredible smile in that photo is your signature and the one I envision your waking up with in heaven.

    Parents Lewis and Ida Habenicht, thank you for raising this incredible person that brought so much to so many.

    Dave and family, I can, at best, only imagine what you are going through now. I hope we will see to it that our paths cross again. If there is anything I can do to make this time less painful, please do let me know.

  16. Ray and Doris Helmering March 26, 2020 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Ray and Doris Helmering Comment: March 26, 2020

    Dear Dave and Family,

    We are so sorry to hear of Luanne’s death. What a brilliant, fun-loving, kind, giving woman she was. Always we will remember how much joy and fun she brought to others with her laughter. We wish times were different and we could all be together to remember and celebrate Luanne’s life. You are and will be in our prayers.


  17. Shannon seidel March 26, 2020 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Dear Mulawa Family-
    I had the pleasure of knowing your family by being David’s middle school teacher. I always admired how you all handled things with such patience and grace. Luanne was always kind and did what was best for David. I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of such a wonderful woman. Prayers are being sent your way.
    Shannon Penrod Seidel

  18. Karen Nolte March 26, 2020 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    candle 8To the Mulawa family, I am so sorry for your loss and am praying you may be comforted by wonderful memories during this devastating time. I knew Luann from working with David at FHN and remember her as a kind, patient, and loving mother. My prayers are with you.

  19. Chris Pedigo March 26, 2020 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    Dave and family,
    So sorry to hear this. Praying for your comfort. Sincerely, Chris

  20. Gerald Masucci March 31, 2020 at 10:50 am - Reply

    November 1982, I met Luanne in St. Louis. We both moved to St. Louis and started working for the Government at the same time. For the next 4+ years I sat next to her. It was a pleasure to get to know her and share life with her. Work directions moved us apart, but we stayed friends. It is sad she is no longer with us. Thinking about her makes me smile. She will be missed.

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