Longtime Green Lake resident Joann LaMire, age 88, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 6, 2019, at Juliette Manor in Berlin, WI.
Joanne was born on August 8, 1930, in Merrill, WI, a daughter of William and Hilda (Thompson) Zerneke. When she was four, her family moved to Green Lake so that her father could take a job at Elmer Kelm's garage. Joanne graduated from Green Lake High School with the class of 1948, and then attended college. On a trip to Racine with a friend, she was introduced to Clarence "Hawk" LaMire on a blind date. That date led to many rides on his beloved “Harley Hog,” and marriage on November 20, 1948.
Newlyweds Joann and Hawk settled in Racine, where Joann worked for Dr. Rube Gorsky, a dentist, for two years. She became lifelong friends with the Gorsky family. She also began helping a friend do payroll for a small firm, Moxness Products, which became Versa Technologies, a holding company for seven Wisconsin businesses. Joann worked there for 43 years with increasing levels of responsibility including director of purchasing. She believed in promotion from within and successfully implemented job sharing when that was still an innovative concept.
In 1995, Joann retired from Versa Technologies and moved back to Green Lake. Hawk had already retired and had opened Sadie Hawk Antiques. Together, they built a thriving antiques and collectibles business, with a special emphasis on folk art, which she had collected for years. Many customers, locals and tourists, became friends and returned to visit long after the business closed.
Joann was a member of Christ Church Methodist, was very active in the YWCA serving as its treasurer, and was one of the founders of the Holiday Village in Racine. Her special, lifetime hobby was knitting, which she learned to do before she ever went to school. All of her family and many in the community enjoyed wearing her handmade socks. Gifted with a needle, she also created countless needlepoints and quilts. Joann was an active member of the Green Lake knitting group. She initiated the idea to knit items to give to Health and Human Services Helping Hands at Christmas. In 2017, the group made and donated over 300 mittens, socks and other items.
Joann loved the Green Lake community and supported various organizations. She served on the Chamber of Commerce board for more than 10 years, including service as its president. She was an active member of the Cemetery Association, helping to replant the Dartford cemetery with trees. She was also a generous donor to the Downtown Tree Planting Project. Joann was an avid reader and supporter of the Green Lake library.
In 2015, she created the Dartford Legacy Group to bring together those people whose ancestors were living in Green Lake (then Dartford) at the turn of the 20th century. Joann and Hawk hosted the annual Dartford get togethers at their charming home on South Lawson Drive.
Joann was known for her intelligence, generosity to friends and community and for standing up for what she believed was right. She took pride in her long and successful work career and delighted in the loving partnership of her 70 year marriage.
Her beloved husband, Clarence (Hawk) and sister, Alice preceded her in death. She is survived by her sister, Billie Mashuda and Billie’s children, Cliff Jr, Paulette, Beth, and grandchildren; brother-in-law, Art Zirger; Zirger nieces, Billie Jo “BJ” and Cheryl, nephews, Scott and Arthur and their families, who visited her often from throughout the U.S.; many other members of her extended family. She will be missed but fondly remembered by many friends, especially Joan and Dick Mueller, Gary and Marsha Krahn, Guy Gorsky and Peggy Orlofske, her wonderful caregivers, Abby, Kathy, Kris; and her knitting friends.
No immediate services are planned; a Celebration of Life is anticipated later. Memorials may be made to the Caestecker Library on 518 Hill St, Green Lake, WI 54941.
Wachholz and Sons Funeral Home
Sunset Cremation Center in Princeton
Serving the Family, 920-295-6631
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