Joan T. Gratton

Lygia Joan Towle Gratton, 92, completed her journey on this earth and was welcomed into the loving arms of her Savior on June 4, 2022, surrounded by family.

Joan was the first born of William P. J. and Lygia (Gain) Towle on July 9, 1929 in Kenosha, WI. The family moved to Fond du Lac in 1935. Joan attended St Joseph’s School, St. Mary’s Springs Academy, Sherwood Music School, and Marian College.

Joan enjoyed the outdoors and was active in Girl Scouts Pioneer Troop 1 and helped form Sea Witch Mariner Ship 8. She also learned to play the accordion, trumpet, and piano. She played in a few bands including the Badger Symphony Orchestra until 1952. Joan married Alvin B. Gratton on May 20, 1950. They built their home on 4th Street Road, later moved to Hartford and returned to Fond du Lac in 1965. The family enjoyed skiing, sailing, swimming, camping, and traveling.

After the tragic death of the love of her life in 1971, Joan established the Joan Gratton Piano Studio and over the years gave lessons to more than 340 people. She enjoyed singing in St Joseph’s choir and was active in many organizations including four local Keyboard Teachers groups, Wis Music Teachers Assoc, National Music Teachers Assoc, MADD, Parents Without Partners, Widows and Widowers, Daughters of Isabella, Holy Name Catholic Women, Better Homes Extension Homemakers, St Lawrence Seminary Parent’s Guild, and Takodah Ski Club. Joan downhill skied as a youth until age 75. She also enjoyed gardening, archery, and sailing. She instructed windsurfing and was awarded Sailor of the Year in 1986 by Fond du Lac Sailing Club.

Joan is survived by her six children: Dr. Michael Anne Gratton (Dr. Brendan J. Smyth) of Allover, Kevin Gratton of Taycheedah, David (Eileen) Gratton of Juneau, Jenifer Gratton of Columbus, OH, Andrew (Ann) Gratton of Oshkosh, John Gratton of Costa Rica, a dear sister Patricia Ambroso, two brothers Gerald “Whitey” Towle, and Peter (Duronda) Towle, 11 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews including 3 godchildren. She was preceded in death by Al, her beloved husband of 21 years, her parents, sisters-in-law Agnes (Gratton) Casper and Patricia (Haack) Gratton, and brothers-in-law Gene Ambroso, Francis Gratton Donald Galle, and Marlin Mauer, a nephew Gregory Gratton, and a grandnephew Chase Galle.

Visitation for Joan Gratton will be held Wednesday, June 8th from 5 to 7 pm at Zacherl Funeral Home, 875 East Division Street. Friends and relatives may call on the family from 5 to 7 pm. A private memorial service will be held at St. Francis Chapel. Online condolences can be shared at An additional memorial service will be held in July. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St Vincent de Paul Society or a charity of your choice.

The family thanks the staff of St. Francis Terrace Assisted Living, St. Agnes Hospital, St. Francis Home-Skilled Nursing, and Hospice for the care they gave our mother.