Leatrice Joy (Brabender) Jorgensen, age 86, died Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 at her home in Antigo, Wisconsin, under the loving care of her family and LeRoyer Hospice.
She was born on May 19, 1930 in Park Falls, Wisconsin, a daughter of the late Ann and George Brabender. She spent most of her childhood in Phillips, Wisconsin, where she and her mother lived with her aunt and uncle, Martha and Louis Woodie. During her high school years Leatrice participated in band and choir and accompanied many soloists on the piano both at school and in church. She belonged to the Presbyterian Church in Phillips, WI.
Leatrice moved to the Antigo area in 1950 with her first husband, Sylvester Ogurek, from whom she was later divorced. In 1965 Leatrice married the love of her life, Kenneth G. Jorgensen. They shared a love of God, family, music, sports, and travel. He preceded her in death on April 11, 1988.
After moving to Antigo, Leatrice attended Langlade County Teachers College and continued her education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, graduating in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She furthered her studies graduating with a Master of Education in Reading degree in 1978.
Leatrice was an educator in the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District for 28 years, retiring in 1990. She taught grade1, grades 3 and 4, remedial reading grades 1-8, and was the district reading specialist for the 11 years prior to her retirement. Mrs. Jorgensen belonged to and was active in many educational and professional groups. She belonged to the National Education Association, Wisconsin Education Association, Wisconsin Retired Education Association in both Shawano and Langlade County, Central Wisconsin Reading Association, Wisconsin State Reading Association, and the International Reading Association.
Leatrice was an active member of Faith United Church of Christ in Antigo. She served on the Church Council as the Chairperson of Christian Education, the Financial Committee and the Music Ministry Committee. She was the Sunday School pianist and long-time member of the choir. Leatrice loved her church family.
Leatrice enjoyed nature. She especially loved feeding and watching hummingbirds, monarch butterflies, collecting rock and sand from places she visited, sunshine and swimming at Summit Lake. She found beauty in every season and was constantly planning road trips throughout Wisconsin. Leatrice found much joy from meeting and learning about new people wherever she went – at concerts, river cruises, the casino, sporting events and family gatherings. Some of her favorite pastimes included being with her family and friends, playing the piano, reading biographies and autobiographies, playing Yahtzee, watching Badger basketball, Jeopardy, and Wheel of Fortune and sharing stories about her life. Leatrice was a natural-born teacher and a great prayer warrior. She had a special gift of noticing those in need and always found the blessings in each and every day. Leatrice will always be remembered for her constant reliance upon God, her generosity, her playful spirit and strength, her sense of humor and her dedication to giving her best to everything and everyone.
Survivors include two daughters, Karen (John) Ralph and Patricia (Dannie) Hilger of Antigo; one daughter-in-law, Gertrude (Trudy) Jorgensen of LaValle, WI; one son, Carl (Maureen) Jorgenson of Davenport, IA. Survivors also include 5 grandchildren, Jason (Carrie) Ralph, Lea (Mike) Hanke, Amanda Hilger, Brian (Bobbe Jo) Jorgensen, and Jamie (Tom) Rich, and 3 great-grandchildren.
Leatrice was preceded in death by her husband, parents, and son Curtis Jorgensen.
The memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 10 at Faith United Church of Christ in Antigo. Rev. Dr. Wes Jedras will officiate. Visitation will be at the church on Saturday from 9:00 until the time of services. Burial will be in Lakeside Cemetery in Phillips, Wisconsin at a later date.
The family wishes to thank LeRoyer Hospice for all of their loving and compassionate care.