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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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(Janina) Joan Gauthier

(Janina) Joan "Jen" Gauthier, 104, of Oconto Falls, passed away Saturday morning, Sept. 9, 2017. 

Born May 24, 1913 in Milwaukee, to John and Anna (Mioduszewski) Pawlak, she was the sixth oldest of 10 children and twin sister to Lottie. Her family called her "Nina" as a little girl, and a neighbor suggested to call her Jen, so she had that name since the age of 4.

She grew up in Milwaukee where she attended St. Josaphat's Basilica School until eighth grade when she helped at home to care for the rest of the family so her Mother could work out of the house. As a young woman, she moved with family members to "Swedetown" in Oconto County to get out of the big city and live near family and friends.

On Oct. 26, 1935, she married Leo Martin Gauthier in Michigan and they owned and operated the Gauthier family farm for many years. With her husband in the cattle business, she ran the farm, raised their 11 children and looked after and fed them and all the hired hands. They had 15 acres of pickles and beans and many Oconto Falls youth helped pick the harvest. She organized it and paid the workers. She also worked at Oconto Falls Canning Co. for three years.

As a lady of strong Catholic faith, she was a longtime member of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Oconto Falls and belonged to the Altar Rosary Society (now PCCW) where she served as secretary/treasurer, helped with church rummage sales, volunteered at the local senior center and was an original member of the Golden Agers Card Club. She also served as the Health Officer for the Town of Stiles, a 4-H Leader and was Chaplin of the WWI Auxiliary.

During the Vietnam War, all four sons served in the military at the same time and she prayed for their safety everyday and they all returned home.

Survivors include 10 children, Patricia "Patsy" Gauthier-Offutt, Milwaukee, Joan (Elroy) Block, Bonduel, Margaret "Marge" (Len) Duco, Lake Villa, Ill., Leo J. (Dolores) Gauthier, Cerritos, Ca., Helen (Richard) Johnson, New London, William (Marjie) Gauthier, Cherokee, Ia., Victor Gauthier and Sue Campbell, both of Oconto Falls, Robert (Marianne) Gauthier, Marinette and Denise (Howard) Malecki, Rio Rico, Az.; 40 grandchildren; 86 great-grandchildren and many great-great grandchildren.

Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Leo M. Gauthier in 1986; a daughter, Mary Walske in 1982; five brothers, Anthony, Stanley, August, Edmund and John Pawlak; four sisters, Sister Mary Therese, Bernice Schuessler, Eva Pawlak and twin sister Lottie Wusterbarth in 1994; three infant grandchildren and a grandson, Joseph Block.

Visitation will be held at Jones Funeral Service in Oconto Falls on Friday, Sept. 15 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a Prayer Service at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Oconto Falls on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 11 a.m. until the time of a Mass of Christian Burial at 1:30 p.m. Rev. Fr. Joel Sember will officiate followed by burial in the church cemetery.


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