Johanna Magdalena Kathrina Zink (nee Schwenk), affectionately known as “Jo”, passed away peacefully on December 14, 2022 at AngelsGrace Hospice in Oconomowoc at the age of 93, with loving family by her side.
Jo was born to Gottlieb and Pauline (nee Baessler) Schwenk on October 30, 1929, in Richardton, North Dakota. She was raised on the family farm in Hebron, ND, with her parents and 9 siblings; Edna, Albert, Lore, Meta, Bernhard, Martin, Wilbert, Gerhard and Mildred. Beginning in 9th grade she went to Jamestown, ND to attend High School and lived with her aunt and uncle. Following high school graduation she worked at City Laundry in Jamestown where she met Edgar Roy Zink, a dashing young man who stole her heart. They were married on March 30, 1948, in Fergus Falls, MN.
They moved to, and continued to reside in, Waukesha, WI. They had two children; Dena and Steven. Eddie died in July, 1985, at the age of 59, from complications of diabetes. Steve died in November, 2015, at the age of 62, of colorectal cancer.
Throughout her life, Jo was always very active in many things. In her first years in Waukesha, she worked at Wauke Mills when it was located in the downtown area. In the late 1950’s to early 1960’s she worked at Buehler’s Meats on Main Street. She was later employed for over 20 years at GTE Automatic Electric. In the early 1980’s Jo became Office Manager at Ruby Isle in Brookfield, working first with Mr. Rolland Ruby and later with his son, Jake Ruby. She was “the office” and was a key partner in the operation of both Ruby Isle Shopping Center and Ruby Realty. She loved the interaction with customers and merchants and retired from that position in 2013 at the age of 83.
She and Eddie always loved a good rummage sale or auction, and for more than 20 years they “bought and sold” on the flea market circuit. She was an avid bowler and over the years bowled on lanes at Totem Bowl, Fracaro’s Lanes, Red Carpet Lanes, and Sunset Bowl. She truly enjoyed having a houseful of people, being surrounded by family and friends, celebrating birthdays and holidays. She had a definite sense of humor, was smart and witty, and played a very wicked game of Cribbage. She loved to travel and took group and family trips to many places, including Vermont; Cape Cod; Virginia; Branson, MO; Washington, DC; Hawaii; Las Vegas; North Dakota; Montana; Wyoming; and France. She loved boarding the Amtrak Train and taking the two-day trip to visit her sisters and brothers in North Dakota and Montana, and continued to do this until her late 80’s. In 1989 she traveled to Germany with three other members of her family to visit her Mother’s hometown of Munchingen and meet family still residing there. Following her retirement, she became very active with several groups at The Silvernail, where she resided until October, 2020. She was involved in the quilting group, Mats for Humanity, card clubs, Bible study, and others. COVID, of course, brought all that to a halt. Having been diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2019, the isolation of COVID was very difficult for Jo and many other seniors.
Beginning in 2020 she made her home with her daughter and son-in-law. It was a busy atmosphere, and she loved it. She found the greatest joy in spending time with her great grandchildren. She loved attending their school activities, reading and playing games with them, cuddling with them on her lap, and sharing “farm stories”. They were her Sunshine. As her Alzheimers progressed, they were always patient and loving with GG Jo.
She was a member of the Waukesha Bible Church and actively involved in church activities until COVID and her health began to decline. She was a woman of God, with a strong faith and trust in the Lord, and the desire to always do His will.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Gottlieb and Pauline Schwenk; siblings Albert, Lore, Edna, and Wilbert; by her brothers-in-law Paul Klein and Marvin Wolfgang; sisters-in-law Cathy (nee Bigg) Schwenk, Beverly Zink and Lorena (nee Zink) Wolfgang; her husband of 37 years Edgar Roy Zink; and her son Steven Edgar Zink.
She is survived by and will be deeply missed by her daughter, Dena (Bob) LeMere; daughter-in-law Michele (nee Melotte) Zink; grandchildren Sara (Eric) Vanden Heuvel; Jonathon Holsclaw; Betsy (Rich) Cull; Michael Zink; and Stephanie Zink; step-grandchildren Michael LeMere and Carrie LeMere of Parker, CO; and great grandchildren Ethan, Maddie and Benjamin Vanden Heuvel; Natalie, Nora and Aiden Cull; and step-great grandchildren Zackery LeMere of Grand Prairie, TX; Andy (Kendal) Luft; Allie Luft and Nick Luft, of Parker, CO. She is further survived and will be sadly missed by her remaining siblings, Meta (Jerome) Robidou of Kalispell, MT; Bernie (Eleanor) Schwenk of Cheyenne, WY; Martz Schwenk of Hebron, ND; Gary (Jan) Schwenk of Waukesha, WI; and Millie Klein of Dickinson, ND along with many other family members and wonderful friends. Missing her dearly is her beloved Granddog and faithful companion, Molly, who loved snuggling with Grandma Jo.
Jo’s family wishes to thank Pro-Health Care Home Hospice and AngelsGrace Hospice for their gentle hands, compassionate hearts and wonderful care during her last days. May God bless each of you for the love you share with your patients and their families.
A memorial service honoring Jo’s life will be held at Randle-Dable-Brisk Funeral Home, 1110 S. Grand Avenue, Waukesha, WI on Friday, January 20, 2023, with visitation from 10:00 AM until 12:00 noon and the service at 12:00 Noon. A private interment at Prairie Home Cemetery will take place following the memorial service. A recording of the service will be available on her tribute wall following the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to either AngelsGrace Hospice or the Alzheimers Association.