Kate (formally Mary Catharine) Yanisch was born in El Paso Township on November 22, 1920, the third child of Fred and Estella (Murphy) Yanisch. She attended the Hines School in El Paso Township and graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1938. Kate received her teaching degree from the State Teachers College at River Falls (now UW-River Falls) in 1947 and, in the 1970s, earned an M.S. in Education from that university. She taught 8th grade in Ellsworth from 1948-55, when she became a civilian employee of the U.S. Air Force and, consequently, a world traveler. She taught on Air Force bases in France, Germany, Japan, Crete, Morocco, London and, finally, in Oxford, England where she worked from 1974 until retiring from teaching in 1985.
Kate was an avid traveler who stayed true to her roots and loved where she came from. She opened her guest room in Oxford to any family member or friend who passed through England, providing a window to a wider world for many. A model independent woman, Kate traveled extensively, read continually, tailored her own clothing, and spoke her mind. Her dry sense of humor kept her nieces and nephews laughing until the end and her abilities to tailor a skirt, set a table, and turn a phrase were widely admired. In 2020 she was honored with an American Legion Auxiliary pin commemorating her 70 years with that organization. She was also a devout Catholic.
Kate lived independently in Oxford until failing health caused her to move back to the U.S. in 2018, at age 97. After returning to the U.S. she lived in a retirement community in Brooklyn Park, MN, where family members were able to visit frequently and enjoy her hospitality, her humor, and her stories of a full and long life. She passed away there on June 8.
Kate was predeceased by her parents, her sisters Grace (Traynor), Monica (Novotny) and Frances (FSPA), and her brothers Richard and Lloyd. She is survived by many loving nieces and nephews and their families; her best friend of many decades, Mary Greenslade of Richmond, England; and countless former students and long-time friends from Ellsworth to Oxford and beyond.
She often expressed her appreciation for her family, knowing that she was fortunate to have the love and care of many. All who loved her knew that they were simply returning the favor to a woman who taught them how to truly live.
Services will be held at St. Francis Catholic Church in Ellsworth on Saturday, June 12. Visitation begins at 10:00am, followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00am. Mass will be livestreamed at: https://youtu.be/ccrpGMK1quk Burial will follow at the Lost Creek Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to the International Centre of Newman Friends at Littlemore Oxford. Services have been entrusted to the O’Connell-Benedict Funeral Home of Ellsworth, WI. 715-273-4421