Joanne Katherine Wurst of Hartland, WI died peacefully, surrounded by her family on Monday, January 2, 2017 at Angel’s Grace Hospice in Oconomowoc, WI.
She was born February 1, 1931 to Harry and Evelyn Schneider in Red Wing, Minnesota, attended Red Wing High School, graduating in 1949 as valedictorian. In 1953, she met the love of her life and married Howard Clarence Wurst of Lake City, Minnesota. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Music from the University of Minnesota in 1954. In 1960 she moved to Hartland, Wisconsin when her husband was hired as Vice President of the State Bank of Hartland. In 1967 the family moved to Menomonee Falls when Howard took a position with Farmer’s and Merchant’s Bank, where he eventually retired as President and Chairman of the Board.
Joanne’s zest for life encompassed a lifelong love of science and an ongoing search for both spiritual and scientific truth. She shared these passions with her four children, her students from many years teaching, her friends and fellow parishioners, and so many others in her community. Till the end of her life, she was an active member of St. Anskar’s Episcopal Church in Nashotah. An avid bridge player, she enjoyed playing with her friends, especially in her last years.
An accomplished pianist, performer and supporter of the Lake Country Players, she experienced a personal high point when at the age of 75 she directed a musical, B-Button Bear, written by her sons Eric and David. Joanne believed in sharing the many benefits of other cultures through the AFS program. One of these exchange students, Luise Stelzhammer-Zieser from Austria, became a lifelong friend to her and her family. Her many volunteer commitments spanned five decades, including work with the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office supporting women escaping domestic abuse.
Early on she taught part-time at Hartland Elementary School and never lost that love for teaching. She impressed those around her with her ability to reach students of all backgrounds and had the amazing ability to find something good in every one of them. This passion was evident in the years she spent tutoring at Menomonee Falls High School and then working with at-risk students at De Paul Rehabilitation Center of Milwaukee. Her final teaching position was at WCTC, where she taught biology until retiring in her late 70s.
A lover of travel, (she often spoke of living in more than a dozen places with her family) she traveled every summer and winter to California to visit her 3 sons and their families. She visited family in Europe on 3 occasions, seeing the breadth of Europe from Vienna to the very tip of Norway above the Arctic Circle
She is survived by her sisters Janet Mickelson and Gail Bowman, her four children; Paul, Eric, David and Anne, their spouses/partners; Kari, Rebecca, Michele and Peter, her 11 grandchildren; Lauren, Max, Landon, Jenna, Haley, Reanna, Chelsea, Austin, Helena, Bella Debbie and one great-grandchild, Connor. She was preceded in death by her husband Howard and brother William Schneider.
Funeral Services will be held 11:00 AM on Monday, January 9, 2017 at St. Anskar’s Episcopal Church, N48 W31340 Hill Road, Hartland followed by a reception. Final rest will be in Holy Innocents Cemetery, Nashotah. Visitation at church from 10:00 AM until the time of Services.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the WCTC Foundation,
online at wctc.edu.
Please find Joanne's full obituary in the Lake Country Reporter.