Joan M. Blatz

Joan Marie Blatz, 80, died on October 27, 2020 at St. Agnes Hospital after a brief illness. Joan was born on May 18, 1940 in Rapid City, South Dakota, the second of three children born to Don and Helen “Bones” Kutchera.

Joan’s family moved often as her father Don was a civil engineer. With deep roots in Wisconsin, they settled in the Fox Valley and she graduated from St. Mary High School in Menasha and then earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Mount Mary College in 1962.

Joan worked as a medical technologist for several years in Fond du Lac before her marriage to Clarence “Fuzzy” Blatz in 1966. She and Fuzzy owned Paradise Valley Campground in Armstrong, one of many entrepreneurial efforts that she and her husband pursued. An avid writer and photographer, she documented their joint ventures as a guest columnist in the Fond du Lac Reporter.

The arrival of her two children, Jennifer and John, brought her great joy, and she was lovingly known by many as “Ma Blatz.” She made the difficult choice to leave a career she loved as a med tech in order to better support her family. She was one of the first women to work in corrections, and enjoyed the camaraderie of her colleagues, retiring at 60 with 22 years of service to the State of Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Her toughness combined with her exceptional capacity to show compassion served her well in her second career.

Joan never stopped making sacrifices for the people, creatures and causes that she was most passionate about, but she also knew how to have fun and had a wicked sense of humor. In retirement, she volunteered for Hospice House of Hope, the Fond du Lac Humane Society, and the Fond du Lac Democratic Party. She loved to play bingo and the slot machines at area casinos, and a Wisconsinite to her core, she cheered for the Packers, and the Brewers, with the TV volume turned down so she could hear Bob Uecker announce the games on the radio.

Joan loved all animals, but her coterie of pugs was her pride and joy. Boomer, Obie, Bob, Uecker and Sadie were her spoiled rotten four legged family for 30 years, and one yellow lab, Sam, worked his way into her heart and her pack as well.

Joan is survived by her older brother Bob (Sandy) Kutchera of Sun Lakes, AZ, her sister Doris Kutchera of Oshkosh, WI, and many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her daughter, Jennifer Blatz (Bill Beardsley), and her son, John (Daryl) Blatz and her two beloved grandsons, Casey and Cameron, of Snowmass Village, CO. Joan is further survived by her former husband, Clarence “Fuzzy” Blatz. Countless friends and family will mourn her loss, but her devoted neighbor and constant companion Kathy Petrie brought her peace and comfort when she needed it most.

The family would like to thank the incredible staff at Harbor Haven, St. Francis Home, Lakeview Place, and Agnesian Healthcare of Fond du Lac for their heroic efforts to help Joan overcome many medical challenges over the last several years. Due to COVID-19 concerns, a celebration of Joan’s life will be planned when we can safely gather once again. She wished for everyone to know that enjoying a Southern Comfort Old Fashioned is the recommended way to memorialize her.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to consider making a donation in Joan’s name to the Fond du Lac Humane Society or the Friends of Sarnelli House UA.

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