Patronella A. Gmach, age 102, was called to her heavenly home to be with the Lord on June 15th, 2020 while surrounded by her children in her home.
She was born April 21, 1918 in Sheboygan, a daughter of the late George Witkauskas and Petronella (Kitchas) along with being raised by stepfather, George Reifon. Pat attended local schools and graduated from Sheboygan Central High School. She was a longtime active member of Holy Name of Jesus Parish.
On April 22, 1944, she married her lifelong love, Edward Gmach at Immaculate Conception Church. Throughout her life, she served many in various ways: the proprietor of the Sturgeon Bay Bakery, a catering server, the lunch lady at Cooper School, a caregiver for many aging relatives, and Office and Clinic Tech support at the oral surgery practice of her daughter, Dr. Mary Grote, where she worked for 32 years until her retirement at the age of 98. Pat was famous for delivering Christmas cookies to the referring dentists as Santa’s helper throughout the years. After she retired, she became a hospice volunteer doing clerical duties along with successfully passing the required HIPAA and OSHA exam, retiring from those activities at age 101. Pat was also an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, and homemaker, Patronella’s efforts were truly a lifelong labor of love.
Survivors include two daughters, Dr. Mary Grote and her husband, Clem of Egg Harbor, and Dr. Nadine Krahn and her husband, Dr. David Krahn of Eden; two sons, David Gmach, of Sheboygan and Mark Gmach and his wife, Ann of Brookfield; four grandchildren, Patrick and Dr. Kayli Gmach (Milwaukee) and Grace and Joseph Krahn (Eden).
Special thanks to the many dear friends who have been an incredible support to she and her family during her later years: Jean Schneider, Linda Baldock, Sister Lucille, Kathy Powers, Bonnie Schoemmer, Leanne Schultz, and Roxanne Haberkorn. Thanks also to Dr. Kari Vrzal, Dr. George Kuttickat and Amber and Aurora at Home for their exceptional care. She was preceded in death by her brother, Victor Witkauskas, her husband, Edward Gmach, her nephew, John Witkauskas along with many dear departed family and friends.
Pat was living history, born during The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and the waning days of World War I. She survived the Great Depression and was a World War II war bride. During her lifespan, she witnessed most of the greatest technological advances in human history. She died of natural causes during the Covid 19 pandemic of 2020.
For all who knew her, Pat was a living example of how to age gracefully. She taught us important life lessons like “attitude is everything” and “the little things are the big things.” She appreciated the simple things in life and found the greatest pleasure not in receiving, but in sharing what she had. She was spunky and independent, true to her Lithuanian heritage. She truly loved a party and embraced any occasion to celebrate. Pat was also the quintessential hostess to generations of family and friends whether serving old fashions at card club or coffee and sweets at a coffee klatsch. In her later years, she loved going out for breakfast and was a familiar face at many local restaurants that she frequented with her son, Dave. She was a prayer warrior, interceding for others, and her Christian faith helped her weather a century of life’s storms. Each day was lived with gratitude as she counted her blessings; not her troubles. Pat was beautiful inside and out, and her unforgettable smile will be greatly missed but fondly remembered by all who knew her.
A private funeral will be held at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Sheboygan, WI on Saturday, June 27th. To leave an online condolence or remembrance to the family, visit the funeral home’s obituary page at www.reinboldfh.com. Memorials in Pat’s name may be sent directly to Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church at 807 Superior Ave., Sheboygan, WI 53081. For more information, please call Reinbold-Novak Funeral Home 920-452-7711.