Redlin Funeral Home Redlin-Ertz Funeral Home

Nancy Jo Dillman , Age 76

August 15, 1947 --November 15, 2023

BARABOO - Nancy Jo Dillman, age 76, of Baraboo since 1982, passed away at home on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 after a lengthy struggle with cancer. 

Though it’s highly unusual, I’ve decided to compose my own obituary. I was a heavy smoker in my twenties and thirties, and I quit cold turkey in 1989, over thirty years ago. Unfortunately, the sins of my youth came back to bite me in the summer of 2022, when I was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. The cancer had already metastasized to my brain and spinal column, so there wasn’t much that could be done to spare my life. I received conventional radiation and chemotherapy treatments, which helped, but cancer finds a way to eventually work around most treatments and I succumbed to the disease. 

I was born on August 15, 1947, in Sheboygan, WI, the only child of James John Dillman of Waldo, WI and Josephene Markoff Dillman of Grand Rapids, MI. Both my father and mother served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and met while they were assigned as communications officers at a Navy facility in Miami, FL. Prior to the war, my father was in law school at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and my mother taught Spanish and French in the Grand Rapids public school system. After the war, they settled in Sheboygan, where my father and a fellow law school graduate formed their own legal firm – Dillman and Fiedelman, Attorneys at Law. My mother chose not to return to teaching, and instead, became a full-time homemaker and mother. 

Tragedy stuck our little family in August 1954, when two weeks after my 7th birthday, my mother died at age 37 from post-surgical complications following a hysterectomy. To help take care of me, my father hired the elderly mother of one of his clients as a live-in housekeeper. Gert was followed by Tilly, another elderly woman, but fortunately my father soon met and started dating Louise Steinke, the secretary to the president of the local Citizens State Bank. Louise and I clicked right from our first meeting, so I was delighted when my dad asked her to marry him. They were wed in February 1957, and from that point on, I called her 'mother' and she called me 'daughter'. In fact, she didn’t like it when someone referred to her as my 'stepmother'.  We were very close until she passed away in March 2004. My dear father preceded her in November 1989. 

In 1965, I graduated from Sheboygan North High School (Go Golden Raiders!) and left for the Twin Cities to attend Macalester College in St. Paul, where I majored in German Literature. Career options were very limited in those days. I could become a teacher, a nurse, an airline stewardess, or a secretary. That was pretty much it! Although I took all the required classes to become a high school language instructor and explored going to grad school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, I didn’t really want to be a teacher or any of the other choices available to me. Instead, I chose a very different path. 

Mid-to-late 1960’s television was rife with shows about espionage and secret agents, and I was a devoted fan, so when a CIA recruiter showed up on campus my senior year, I went for it. The application process, which included an FBI investigation into my and my family’s background, took about seven months. During that time, I was admitted to the Minnesota Epsilon Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s foremost honor society, and graduated from Macalester (Magna Cum Laude) in June 1969, after which I spent the summer at a language institute in Germany. I'm proud to say that by the end of the summer, I successfully passed myself off as a native German. 

My CIA career began at the end of 1969 and lasted until my resignation in January 1981, a period that spanned the height of the United States' Cold War with the Soviet Union. During that time, I served in the Clandestine Service of the Agency's Directorate of Operations, where I worked undercover on hard targets (East Germans, Soviets, and Chinese) both in the field and at Headquarters. During the 1970's, the Agency was coming to terms with the changing status of women, and I was privileged to be among the first wave of female operations officers (also called case officers). I am proud of my time in the Agency. It was a rewarding and challenging career, but the lifestyle was stressful, to say the least. During the course of my career, I was married and divorced, in large part due to the stresses and demands of the job. Although I eventually reached the first level of management and had a long career ahead of me, I resigned from the Agency primarily because I'd met Helfried (Fred) Moh, the love of my life, who was not in the Agency and was a German immigrant, which complicated my career prospects considerably. 

Fred and I subsequently married and moved to Wisconsin, where we settled in Baraboo. Fred had been trained in Germany as a painter/decorator, so he established the Old World Company and worked for several years in and around Baraboo, Wisconsin Dells, and Portage. In addition to helping Fred, I pursued a hobby I picked up out east and began making and selling stained glass and later fused glass at art shows. Fred eventually joined my business (Stone House Glass), and the two of us participated in art shows all over Wisconsin, the Midwest, and occasionally the East Coast. But after ten years of constant traveling, we were both ready for a change, so in 1993, we purchased the beautiful stone building on the corner of Oak and 4th Streets in downtown Baraboo to open an art and fine craft gallery. By this time, Downtown Baraboo had lost four major retailers (Penny’s, Isenberg’s, Spurgeon’s, and Woolworth’s) as well as other, smaller traditional businesses like hardware and shoe stores, leaving the downtown with many empty buildings and a dismal future. People thought we were crazy to open an art  gallery, but it proved a wise decision. Not only is the Cornerstone Gallery still a going business concern (with its fourth owner), the downtown is thriving, thanks to my fellow far-seeing entrepreneurs who shared a vision and worked together to achieve it. I am proud to say that the Cornerstone Gallery received the Sauk County Historical Society’s Commercial Preservation Award, and in 1996, the gallery was named Retailer of the Year by the Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce. 

I had always wanted to write fiction, so after I sold the gallery in 2006, I took some online classes and joined Mad City Romance Writers. Between 2013-2019, I self-published four time-travel romance novels. In 2023, I completed Murder Most Fishy, the first book in my Sunny Daye mystery series. Unfortunately, my illness prevented me from pursuing publication. 

Since I moved to Baraboo, volunteer activities have also figured prominently in my life. I joined the fledgling Sauk County Humane Society in 1982 and served as President for many years. I also led the capital campaign to build the Sauk County Animal Shelter in the late 1990’s. I was a founding board member of Friends of the Baraboo Zoo and served as Vice President from 1987 to 1990, and I served as a board member and treasurer of the Sauk County Art Association from 1986 to 1997. During that time, I co-chaired (with Fred) the annual art festival held on Courthouse Square. I was a founding board member of both the Baraboo Artisans and the annual Fall Art Tour.

As a downtown businessperson, I served as board member and secretary of the Business Improvement District (1993-1996) and was on the board of Downtown Baraboo, Inc. from 1994 to 2006 (and again from 2017-2020), where I was secretary and president. From 2001-2022, I was a member of the Baraboo Main Street Ad-Hoc Committee and drafted Baraboo’s application to the Main Street program. Lastly, I was an active volunteer in the Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce during the 1990’s and served one term on its board of directors in the early 2000’s.

I am survived by my wonderful partner and husband, Fred Moh, by several cousins, and by many wonderful friends. 

There will be no funeral services, but if you’d like to make a donation in my memory, I’d appreciate it if you send it to the Sauk County Humane Society, 618 Linn Street, Baraboo, WI 53913.

Baraboo is a very special place, filled with many talented and wonderful people, and I was privileged to have lived here for over 40 years.

The Redlin-Ertz Funeral Home is assisting my family. 


Sharon (Krueger) Terry and Warren Terry November 18, 2023

my parents were neighbors - Ed and Betty Krueger Baraboo , Wisconsin

Fred, we send our love and admiration for Nancy. I know that my parents enjoyed having you as neighbors and enjoyed the neighborhood gatherings you all had. Mom and Dad were thrilled with the stained glass that Nancy had created and given to them on their anniversary. Our heartfelt sympathy for your loss. Warren and Sharon Terry.

Christin Harding November 20, 2023

Friend Baraboo , Wisconsin

Mike & I will forever be grateful you & Nancy were so kind in allowing wedding plans to go forward after purchasing The Old Stone Quarry 40 years ago. Every anniversary included a gift from Cornerstone Gallery, and our home is filled with beautiful art and sculpture, and of course, stained glass. Nancy was a lovely, remarkable woman who will be missed by so many. Sending you much love, Fred!