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Irene Gilgenbach

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Irene Gilgenbach Obituary
Gilgenbach, Irene C.

Irene Catherine Gilgenbach, 94, died on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at St. Francis Home. She spent 10 years in Serenity Circle suffering from Alzheimers.

Irene was born at her parents', William and Mattie (Brielmaier) Steffes, farm home in St. Joe, WI, on September 16, 1919. She was the oldest of eight children and attended St Joseph's Catholic Elementary School in St. Joe, WI and Fond du Lac Senior High School. After high school graduation, Irene attended Green Lake Normal School. Later, she attended Oshkosh State University and Marian College to earn her Bachelor of Education Degree.

Irene taught in the rural schools at Elder Grove School, St Cloud; Longfellow School, Lamartine; and Taft Elementary School, Highway 23, east. She then started teaching at Lakeshore Elementary School in the Fond du Lac School System where she was a third grade teacher until her retirement in 1985. She was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Fond du Lac, where she was also a CCD teacher from 1976 to 1986. She was a member of the Daughters of Isabella, the Associates of St Agnes, Wisconsin Retired Educators Association, and the Homiston Homemakers.

On July 1, 1942, she married Edmund Gilgenbach at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, St. Joe. The couple farmed in the Lamartine area for over 40 years. She also helped on the farm and raised six beautiful children. She was the ultimate giver to everyone she encountered. Ed and Irene gave a home to two foster boys and sponsored many children in the Near East.

Irene is survived by her six children. They are James (Marilyn Nett) Gilgenbach from Fond du Lac; Diane (Larry) Hammang from Fond du Lac; Ronald (Cathy Hayden) Gilgenbach from Ann Arbor, MI; Janet (Alan) Halvorson from Hillsboro, OR; Catherine (James) Burr from White Sulphur Springs, WV; and Edmund (Christine Schuessler) Gilgenbach of Fond du Lac.

She had 18 grandchildren. They are Daniel (Julie Kloostra) Gilgenbach of Fond du Lac, WI; Barbara (Troy) Baalke of Plover, WI; Karl (Kristin Arnold) Gilgenbach of Rochester Hills, MI; Jeanne (Joseph) Biber of Cedarburg, WI; Jayme (Jonathan) Bosler of Bronx, NY; Philip (Julie Marcoe) Walgenbach of Fond du Lac; Amy Walgenbach of Fond du Lac; Ryan Walgenbach of Fond du Lac; Karen Gilgenbach of Waukesha, WI; Matthew (Joanne Bagulbagul) Gilgenbach of Canoga Park, CA; Andrea (Eric) Young of Novi, MI; Cassandra (Dan) Syverson of Tualatin, OR; James Carl Burr IV of White Sulphur Springs, WV; Margaret (David) Scottberg of Mequon, WI; Stephan Gilgenbach of Denver ,CO; Elizabeth Gilgenbach of Denver, CO; Edmund (Ashley Hunter) Gilgenbach of Denver, CO; and Richard Gilgenbach of Fond du Lac.

She had 16 great-grandchildren. They are Eric and Maya Gilgenbach; Samuel and Kayla Baalke; Emma and Josef Kloiber; Wyatt, Lucille, Phineas and Elliot Bosler; Jacob and Kayla Walgenbach; Hailey and Payton Walgenbach; Gabrielle Scottberg, and Madelyn Syverson.

She is also survived by a sister, Joan Birkholz of Milwaukee, WI, and a brother, Aloysius Steffes of West Bend, WI; as well as three sisters-in-law: Marjorie Steffes of Apple Valley, MN; Joan Steffes of West Bend; and Victoria Steffes of Milwaukee, WI.

She was preceded in death, by her husband, Edmund Gilgenbach, her parents William and Mattie Steffes, her siblings Sylvester Steffes, Jane Hammer, Robert Steffes, Lucille Steffes, Herbert Steffes, her brothers-in-law Joseph Hammer and Jerald Birkholz, her sister-in-law, Beverly Steffes, and two foster children, James and Thomas Culshaw.

The visitation will be held on Monday, June 23, 2014, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Zacherl Funeral Home, 875 E. Division St., Fond du Lac. An additional visitation will be held on Tuesday, June 24 from 1:00-1:50 p.m. at St. Francis Home Chapel, 33 Everett Street, Fond du Lac. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 2:00 p.m. Burial at Calvary Cemetery will immediately follow.

Irene's family would like to sincerely thank the Sisters and Staff at St. Francis Home, especially the nurses in Serenity Circle and Hospice Hope. Memorials may be directed to St. Francis Home.

Zacherl Funeral Home and Crematory of Fond du Lac is serving the family.

Published in Fond du Lac Reporter from June 22 to June 23, 2014
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