Linnea Michelle Harrington, a.k.a. “Nea”, “Nao” and “Nonnie Poo Nonnie”, (nee Janowski) found peaceful and eternal rest on June 8, 2021, at the age of 42 after courageously battling metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer for more than eight years.
Linnea was born in Anchorage, Alaska and moved to Mukwonago, Wisconsin while in middle school. She was the apple of her parents’ eye as the oldest of four siblings, and helped raise her three brothers, all of whom adored their big sister. Linnea cooked family dinners, including her special shepherd’s pie, and often enjoyed watching musicals and her favorite movies with her brothers while babysitting.
Linnea participated in soccer, softball, cheerleading, and flute at Mukwonago High School, and went on to attend Marquette University for two semesters before transferring to Bryant & Stratton College, where she graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business and travel/tourism.
Immediately upon graduation, Linnea began her dream job as a flight attendant with Midwest Express, where she remained for four years before spending the next two years with Allan Knox Photography as a sales rep. Linnea was then hired by Bryant & Stratton as an admissions rep for four years before landing at Corevisa as an IT sales rep. Linnea effortlessly cultivated countless lifelong friendships wherever she worked, and wherever she went.
Linnea was blessed with a generous and mischievous spirit, and a talent for bringing people together. She was inclusive to her core, and made all feel welcomed. Linnea was the glue in the vast patchwork that was her friends and family, all from various backgrounds and vocations, all with different personalities, but all united in their love for, and admiration of, their dear Linnea.
Linnea was an event organizer, party planner, and party thrower without equal, known by loving neighbors near and far, and by the Whitefish Bay Police Department, for her annual Yacht Rock Extravaganza. And when it came to the elaborate birthday parties that Linnea planned and threw for her darling daughters, the loves of her life, she continually raised the bar each and every year.
A talented cook and devoted epicurean, Linnea was in her element when working in the kitchen, rarely measuring anything but adding a dash-of-this or a pinch-of-that. Invariably, the results were delectable dinners and unforgettable parties that first became legend and then turned into traditions not to be missed. And all were welcome with open arms, a wide smile and, of course, a brimming cup of cheer, which was generally one of her coveted signature cocktails.
Linnea’s contagious, boisterous laugh, big, beautiful, toothy smile, and exuberant love of life instantly made lifelong friends out of strangers and drew people to her like moths to flame.
When Linnea was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at the age of 34, she met it head-on, attacking it with the same vigor and ferocity with which she attacked life. In a span of just 9 months, Linnea underwent 6 months of chemotherapy, 36 rounds of radiation, a double mastectomy, and a full hysterectomy. Undaunted as always, Linnea emerged from her first year of intensive treatment by doing what you would expect—starting a gourmet, handcrafted popsicle business, of course.
Linnea’s Liqkers & Pops eventually beat out over 80 other contestants to win Milwaukee’s 2016 Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge. Linnea then joined forces with Maglio Companies to further production and distribution, and also with Sprecher Brewing to create Root Beer Iceys, which took 2nd place as the “must-have new product” at the Wisconsin State Fair. The following year, Sprecher commissioned Linnea to create a line of delicious Sprecher Beer Iceys, which were then sold during Brewer games at Miller Park.
Linnea’s most satisfying and impactful work, however, was as a tireless advocate in the fight against stage IV breast cancer.
In 2016, Linnea established the More 4 Four Foundation to bring much-needed awareness and funding to metastatic breast cancer victims and their families. Her annual “It’s Not a Walk” block party fundraiser was among the highpoints of her Whitefish Bay neighborhood’s fall season and helped raise thousands for the cause.
Linnea also generously donated her time traveling throughout the greater Milwaukee and Waukesha areas to speak with women about the importance of early detection and self-advocacy as part of “Kohl’s Conversations for the Cure”, making many lifelong friends along the way, as always. Linnea also joined Kohl’s “1 in 8” media campaign, her smiling face adorning billboards throughout Milwaukee to bring attention to this terrible disease.
Whether it was the sale of her Liqkers & Pops, portions of which went to help fight metastatic breast cancer, or her vigorous breast cancer advocacy, Linnea was adamant and enthusiastic about stage IV breast cancer awareness. She regularly spoke to throngs of strangers, including at the downtown rally for “Race for the Cure”, as a featured speaker at Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company, and at the annual Wisconsin Metastatic Breast Cancer Symposium. Linnea was always a willing and worthy warrior in the fight against breast cancer, and her oft-stated wish was to help find a cure so that her precious daughters would never suffer as she did. She wanted to make a difference, and she did.
As her friends and family were well aware, Linnea could accomplish anything, no matter how seemingly impossible or unlikely. Whether it be crushing estimates of her life expectancy, building a business and taking it from her kitchen counter to a factory warehouse, single-handedly setting up and breaking down campsites in the dark, or designing and building a beautiful backyard bar and patio by hand, Linnea could do anything she wanted to. She was a ‘doer’ if ever there was one, a determined and dominant force, and a joy to behold in everything she did during her short time on Earth.
To say she will be missed by all who knew and loved her is an understatement.
Linnea was preceded in death by great grandparents Olney B. and Wilma Day; and Leslie and Beatrice Spoor; grandparents George and Betty Harris, and Edward and Helen Janowski; father Glenn Harris; mother-in-law Mary Harrington; great uncles Robert Day and James Day; and aunt Karen Janowski. She is survived by her beautiful and beloved daughters Keagan and Keely; husband Ryan Harrington; loving parents Jon and Holly Janowski; beloved grandparents Dr. Richard and Sali Day; grandparents-in-law Michael Harrington and Colleen Flaherty; brothers Richard Harris (Amanda), Justin Janowski (Kara), and Jordan Janowski (Tyler); sister-in-law Maureen Harrington-Weitzel (Jerome); great aunt Maurine Day Webb; aunts Heather Ramert (Paul), Judy Maedl (Robert), JoAnn Janowski-Farrell (Patrick), Lisa Janowski Turner, Tyra Harris, and Carrie Janowski; uncles Thomas Janowski, Robert Janowski (Sally), Edward Janowski (Marsha), Richard Janowski (Marlene), James Janowski (Janet), Jason Janowski (Susan), Clifford Harris (Carolyn), and Lanny Harris; cousins Clinton Harris (Holly), Craig Harris (Tanya), Molly Nogalski, Tasha Ventimiglia (Matthew), Zachary Janowski (Kelsey), Jessica Janowski, Brittney Ramert, Natalie Lewis (Josh), Ryan Janowski (Kristen), Marisa Janowski, Kyra Janowski, Jacob Janowski, Russell Janowski, Nathan Janowski, Emma Janowski, Jessica Janowski, Michael Farrell, Aimee Farrell, James Day, Justin Day, Daniel Flahive, Karen Flahive, and Andrea Janowski; nieces Sophia, Cambria, Penelope Su, and Grace; nephews Gavin Jon, Benjamin Jude, Owen, Alex, and ; second cousins Max, Sam, Calla, Tess, Chase, Curtis, Luke, Trevor, Tyson, Trevor, Daniel, Tyler, Breylen, Harper, Amanda, Ashle, Carter, Carleigh, Jackson, Jamie, Justin, Robert, and Jennifer; innumerable treasured friends; and her steadfast companion and protector, Poe.
Linnea, her family, and her friends would like to express their sincere gratitude to the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff at both the Aurora Cancer Center in Grafton and Horizon’s Lawlis Family Hospice in Mequon. Their kindness and compassion were invaluable during Linnea’s journey. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Linnea’s name to Metavivor at www.metavivor.org or Horizon’s Lawlis Family Hospice at https://e.givesmart.com/events/j3a/. Those wishing to contribute to Linnea’s daughters’ college fund may do so at the GoFundMe page organized by Linnea’s brother Justin at https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-for-linnea-and-her-girls?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_cp%20share-sheet&fbclid=IwAR3u5h2Fq7xXyMqCCQuOT9sNCrjhHB-o9VgcAQWjHMo74vIzfOe0HnE6Whc
In keeping with Linnea’s joie de vivre, all are welcome to attend a festive “Celebration of Life” on June 27, 2021, from 2 to 5 p.m. at The Atrium in Shorewood followed by an informal gathering at neighboring Camp Bar on Oakland Avenue.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Linnea M. (Janowski) Harrington, please visit our floral store.