School 04

Joan M. Kempf

July 27, 1935 ~ April 26, 2022 (age 86)

Obituary

Joan Marie Kempf was born on July 27, 1935, in Holton Township, Marathon County.  She was the third child of Lucy (Wagner) and Frank Schopper.  Joan attended the one-room Barry School through the eighth grade and graduated from Dorchester High School in 1952.  She attended the Taylor County Normal (teachers’ college), graduated in 1954, and went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Elementary Education from UW-Stevens Point.  In her graduate studies and 36 credits beyond her M.S., she concentrated on gifted and talented learning.

As a revered teacher, Joan touched countless lives.  Through the decades, she was recognized by former students and their parents, who commented on the wonderful influence she had on them.  Her fulfilling 43-year teaching career began at the Bruckerville School, a one-room country school near her home.  She went on to teach at Unity, Stettin, St. James Catholic School, Grant School, and then in 1968 she started teaching first grade at Riverview Elementary, continuing in the same classroom until 1998 when she retired. 

On October 10, 1958, Joan married Donald D. Kempf at St. Louis Catholic Church in Dorchester.  Their union, which lasted over 63 years, included four children.  Joan and Don established their home in Wausau and later built their dream home on Tomahawk Lake in Oneida county.  They were fortunate to divide their time between their two cherished residences.

Given her broad interest in the world, Joan loved to travel.  In 1980, she spent three weeks touring northern Europe with her sister.  In 1992 she ventured to Australia and New Zealand for both pleasure and continuing education.  In retirement, Joan and Don took several trips throughout the United States and Canada.

Joan was adventurous and creative.  She and a former student co-authored a book that chronicled the history and culture of Holton Township, the area where they were raised.  Joan painted, dabbled in poetry, loved music, and was an accomplished baker.  In retirement, she extended her love for teaching as the Arts and Craft Director at the acclaimed Red Pine Camp for Girls on Clear Lake in Oneida County.

Joan’s pure heart and irrepressible good nature were shown through her bright eyes and beaming smile.  She was admired by all for her kind and gentle disposition.  She drew inspiration from the natural world and enjoyed glowing sunsets, trees, flowers, deer, birds, and other wildlife on her daily walks. 

As a devout Catholic, Joan saw God in all things and was a filled with gratitude that guided her life of Christian charity.  She was an active member of the Wausau’s Eastside Parishes (St. Michael’s and St. James/Resurrection) and Holy Family Catholic Church in Woodruff.  She is survived by her husband Don, her children, Tom (Mary) of Wausau, Donna of Whitefish Bay, Bob (Brenda) of Rice Lake, and Dan (Sarah) of Crystal, MN.  She is further survived by seven grandchildren: Brandon, Erica, Morgan, Alex, Amy, Andrew, and Ally.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her sisters, Dolores Elliott, MaryAnn Reynolds, and Dottie Jirschele.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated 11:00 a.m. Monday, May 2, 2022, at St. Michael Catholic Church, Wausau.  Rev. Msgr. Mark Pierce will preside.  Visitation will be Sunday from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and again on Monday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of services all at St. Michael Catholic Church, Wausau.

 

Memorials may be made to St. Michael Parish in name of the Joan M. Kempf Memorial Fund as a tribute to her lifelong dedication to the faith.

The Kempf family is profoundly grateful to Joan’s healthcare providers and especially to her caregivers and who kept her spiritually vibrant, comfortable, and as independent as possible over the past seven years until her peaceful passing in her beloved home.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com

 

To send flowers to Joan's family, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Sunday
May 1, 2022

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
St. Michael Catholic Church
1315 North Sixth Street
WI, 54403 US

Visitation
Monday
May 2, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
St. Michael Catholic Church
1315 North Sixth Street
WI, 54403 US

Funeral Mass
Monday
May 2, 2022

11:00 AM
St. Michael Catholic Church (Wausau)

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