On Good Friday of Holy Week, April 3, 2015, Kathleen (JJ) (Kate) (KJ) (Kasia) Elizabeth Jelich, Waupaca, WI passed peacefully into her eternal life with our Lord Jesus, a day after her 61st birthday, ending her courageous struggle with ALS.
She has joined loving parents, Nick and Evelyn (Suchowski) Jelich, Stevens Point, WI; brother, CWO John Anthony Jelich; infant sister, Jane Marie; paternal grandparents, Emil and Mary Jelich, Mellen, WI; maternal grandparents, Vincent and Anne Suchowski, Stevens Point; dear aunts and uncles, especially Uncle Fred and Aunt Phyllis Jelich, and forever cousin, Kurt Hofmeister.
Kathleen was born and raised in Stevens Point, attended St. Peter Grade School and Maria High School, and readily acknowledged the incredible education she received from the dedicated Sisters of St. Joseph, Third Order of St. Francis. A philosophy major, she graduated with high honors from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with additional pursuits in history and art. She funded her college education by working at the University Center; bartending at Point’s best neighborhood pub, The Unique Bar; and working for Attorney-at-Law, Dexter (Mac) McKelvey, in her words, “a compassionate professional and the best writer ever.” Living and working in various parts of this beautiful country afforded Kathleen interesting and challenging work experiences: in Austin at the University of Texas-Admissions, Office Assistant; in Dallas with Jones-Day International Law Firm, Acquisitions Assistant; in Santa Fe with Blue Sky Beverage Company, Customer Service Manager; at UW-Stevens Point Office of the Chancellor, Secretary Confidential; and in Waupaca at the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), Administrative Assistant. Kayaking the Waupaca Chain of Lakes was first on Kathleen’s kick-back list; runners-up included daily swims at Marl Lake into the fall (weather permitting); reading Barbara Kingsolver novels; Goodwill shopping; sipping morning coffee and evening wine or G and T’s with family and friends on her porch; and decorating the annual must-be-a-fresh-cut Christmas tree. Her sacred time was Sunday morning church at St. Max’s in Lanark with Father Dan Farley.
Kathleen is survived by her sisters, Maggie (John) Corcoran, Colorado and Nan (Scott) McManners, Wisconsin; and sister-in-law, Tina (Norman) Frost, Texas. Kathleen especially treasured the laughter and love of her nieces and nephews and their children: Jessica (Jordan) Hanneman and their four sons: Liam, Finn, Seeley, and Riordan; Nick (Rachelle) Corcoran; Carolyn Rose Corcoran; John Anthony (Elizabeth) Jelich II, and their son John Anthony III; and Deirdre (Cort) Langworthy and their son, Vaughan. Kathleen’s best friend since high school, Terri Thrun, was “family” and her children, Kevin, Korey, and Kelli called Kathleen “Aunt J” because she was.
The love and friendship of cousins, friends, neighbors, and work associates also enriched Kathleen’s short life. Kathleen’s family would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to Karen Engel, Waupaca County ADRC Disability Specialist; Carolynne Younk, ALS Green Bay Office; Ministry Health Neurology Department; Ministry Health Hospice Services; Ministry Health House of the Dove; and Karen Williams and home care staff. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be given to The ALS Wisconsin Chapter or Ministry Health Hospice or The Highground Veterans Memorial. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” John 14:6 The Maple Crest Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.