JoAnn Gatzke, 84, of Waldo, passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 20, 2022, at Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice in Sheboygan Falls, surrounded by loved ones.
JoAnn (Miller) Gatzke was born February 11, 1938, to Horton and Waleska (née Wriedt) Miller Hoffmann. She was a 1954 graduate of Plymouth High School. She met Galan Gatzke in 1952 and upon his return to the United States after serving two years in the Armed Forces, the couple wed on November 5, 1955, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Plymouth.
JoAnn, or Mrs. G as she was known, was a beloved Teacher’s Assistant, working with students with special needs at Waldo, Sheboygan Falls and Random Lake Elementary Schools. She was highly involved in the Americans with Disabilities Act and Inclusion for people with special needs, paving the way in Sheboygan County for children with special needs and their families. JoAnn and Galan also owned and operated Gatzke’s Groceries in Waldo, WI.
JoAnn was an active volunteer and community member. She volunteered time in several areas of her church, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Sheboygan Falls. She volunteered at the Sheboygan Falls and Plymouth food pantries. She also volunteered for the Waldo Fireman's auxiliary.
She loved sewing and making clothes, gardening, and camping. Above all, she loved God and her family. JoAnn was the foundation on which her family rested. She was strong, courageous, resilient, and caring, and treated those she met in life with compassion and respect. Her presence will be deeply missed by her family and friends.
JoAnn is survived by her two daughters, Colleen (Ken) Kaat of Plymouth, and Cynthia Boyd of Waukesha; one son, Lawrence “Larry” Gatzke of Waldo; six grandchildren; Gary (Dea) Kaat, Jason Kaat, Angela (Aaron) Cleveland, Ryan (Katie Jesse) Boyd, Erica Boyd, Steven Boyd; six great-grandchildren, James (Ardis Manning) Kaat, John Kaat, Kade (Krystal Hayes) Kaat, Morgan (Seth Hess) Henkel, Alesha Kaat-Fohr, and Jade Henkel; one great-great grandson, Aydan Hamil; two sisters, Lois Parntizke of Eagle River, and Sharon Vorpahl of Sheboygan Falls; one brother, Robert Miller of Wausaukee; one brother-in-law, Dennis (Dianne) Gatzke of Sheboygan Falls; and one sister-in-law, Nancy Gatzke of Ankeny, IA. She is further survived by nieces, nephews, special cousins, other relatives, and close friends.
JoAnn was preceded in death by her loving husband of 65 years, Galan in 2021; her parents; a son, Craig Gatzke; son-in-law, David Boyd; and four brother-in-laws, Carrol Lee Gatzke, Jeffrey Gatzke, John Vorpahl, and Gordon Parnitzke.
A funeral service to celebrate JoAnn’s life will take place on Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sheboygan Falls at 11:00 am with Pastor Rob Schrader officiating. Relatives and friends may greet the family from 9:30 am until the time of the service at 11:00 am. JoAnn will be laid to rest at Greenlawn Memorial Park.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the caring and supportive staff of Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice for their help with at-home and in-facility care. Memorial contributions can be made in JoAnn’s name for Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice.
Online condolences can be made at www.wenigfh.com . The Wenig Funeral Home of Sheboygan Falls (920-467-3431) is serving the family with arrangements.