Joanne Bader

Joanne Mae (Thomas) Bader, age 90 of Hudson WI and formerly of St. Croix Falls WI, Lake Havasu City AZ and Dresser WI passed away after attaining her 90th birthday surrounded by many of her loving family.  She is survived by her six children, Pam (Jim) Groth of New Richmond WI, Cathy (Craig) Gray of Hudson WI, Jeff (Tressa) Bader of Folsom CA, David (Jan) Bader of McFarland WI, Tom (Meg) Bader of Stillwater MN and Lynne (Omar) Mickens of Keller TX as well as 23 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren.  She is also survived by sister Beverly (Erv) Martens of Mequon WI and brother Jim (Carol) Thomas of Tupelo MS.  Joanne was preceded in death by her husband Russ, sister Dolores Hoernke, grand-daughter Ava Mickens and parents Percy and Mabel Thomas.

Born in Duluth MN, Joanne attended school in Duluth until her family moved to a farm near Ubet WI in 1945.  She continued her education in the Osceola District, graduating Osceola High School in 1949, An excellent student, she was accelerated and graduated just after her 17th birthday.  Active in band, choir, yearbook and newspaper staffs, she was well liked and elected Homecoming Queen.  After graduation she attended a business school and worked in the Twin Cities area.

Joanne met her future husband Russ, at a Ubet School basket social in 1947.  They married in 1951 and remained in a loving relationship for 65 years, until his passing in 2016. Joanne spent many of those years raising their children and making homes of each house they lived in.  She had many talents, from playing the piano to sewing her daughters’ Christmas outfits to cooking amazing meals that kept six children and a husband more than satisfied.  Much of her free time was spent following her family’s many activities.  She was an attentive mother and very proud of her childrens’ accomplishments. She and Russ provided them with a strong church family and they filled a pew most Sundays. They introduced them to many team sports, camping, boating, snowmobiling and she fostered a love of music and reading. Russ’ varied interests led to many weekends of snowmobile racing, fly-ins and car shows.  She was the proverbial great woman behind her man.

With her children on their own, Joanne began working outside the home and spent many years with Bretl and Thomas Optometry in St. Croix Falls. She and Russ relocated to Arizona in 1986 and spent 26 years, working and playing, before returning to Wisconsin in 2012.  During the Arizona years, Joanne was employed as a bookkeeper for two firms, Pitzer’s AC and Heating and Fayette AC and Sheet Metal. She derived immense satisfaction from learning to use computer accounting programs and worked until the age of 77 before reluctantly retiring.

After returning to Wisconsin, Joanne enjoyed reconnecting with many old friends in St. Croix Falls and making new friends at Woodland Hill in Hudson.  Her love of reading, puzzles and her iPad kept her curious and active.  An independent woman, she attended as many family celebrations as possible and continued driving until she became ill. Her legacy of love and service to family and friends will keep her actively in our memories.

A celebration of life for Joanne will be held Friday, July 22 at 11 a.m. at Peace Lutheran Church, 2355 Clark Road, Dresser WI 54009 with visitation one hour prior to service.  Interment will be at Bethesda Lutheran Church, 1947 110th Avenue, Dresser WI following the service and lunch.  Memorials are requested in lieu of flowers to benefit groups close to Joanne’s heart.

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