Irene Catherine Gilgenbach
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
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 3:00 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
Zacherl Funeral Home and Crematory of
Fond du Lac is serving the family. www.zacherlfuneralhome.com