Joan K. Phelps died July 16 after a brief illness. She was born Aug. 18, 1926 to Lawrence N. and Blanche R. Justen in Fond du Lac, Wis., where she graduated from Fond du Lac High School and then attended Marquette University.
She married her high-school sweetheart, Owen C. Phelps, on Aug. 17, 1946, and they had 10 children. She was employed by the U.S. Post Office, North Central Associated Publishers, The Rockford Journal and The Observer, and also served as co-owner and co-publisher of The North End Times with her husband from 1991-93 (which became The Rock River Times in 1993) .
She was a member of St. Peter Cathedral Parish for more than 47 years, serving on many committees at both the Cathedral and St. Peter’s School. She was a Eucharist minister and Catholic Woman of the Year in 1998. She was also a member of and Eucharistic minister at St. Anthony Parish in Lac du Flambeau, Wis., where she enjoyed spending summers at Poupart Lake for more than 50 years.
She is survived by nine children: Owen (Jane), Durand; Ann (Wayne) Rosauer, Dysart Iowa; Mike (Teresa) Wichita, Kans.; Jody (Greg) Yagle, Jane (George) Ratzlaff, John (Gina), Pat (Kim), Susan (Tim) Armellani, Megan (Jarrett) Johnson, and son-in-law James Rose, all of Rockford.
Also by 41 grandchildren: Kristin (Nic) Guehlstorf, Erik (Robin), Shannon (Lawrence) Hadley, Erin (Shawn) McLevige and Owen Jason; Shannon (Luke) Symonds, Jim (Nell), John (Katie), Mike (Maggie), Dan (Amanda), Bill and Matt Rose, Ryan (Shannon) and Matt (Jill) Rosauer, Renae (Steve) Masbruch, Mary (Dan) Ibeling and Kelsey Rosauer; Brian Yagle and Katie (Eric) Bryant; Jessica (Kris) Rose, Justen (Anne), Elizabeth, Meghan and Gina Phelps; Tim (Theresa), Tom (Adele), Kevin and Heidi Ratzlaff; Katelin, Sarah, Lauryn and Tyler Phelps; Sean, Morgan and Danielle Phelps, Jake Armellani; Rachel, Ryan, Dylan, Elaina, and Nathan Johnson; and step grandchild Melissa Ratzlaff. Also by 36 great-grandchildren, sisters-in-law Betty Justen, Mosinee, Wis., and Marilyn Phelps, Fond du Lac, Wis., special cousins Bill and Sandy Mathies, Rothschild, Wis., and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by husband Owen, daughter Mary Rose, brother Larry Justen and great-granddaughter Grace Rosauer.
Special thanks to all her friends at Siena, Heartland Hospice and Dr. Richard Deming.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Joan’s favorite charities: St. Peter Cathedral, St. Peter School, Mary Rose Children’s Bazaar (c/o St. Peter’s), Boylan Catholic High School’s Owen C. Phelps Sr. and Mary Phelps Rose Memorial Fund, Children’s Tumor Foundation, or to the family for other memorials.
Visitation is Tuesday, Aug. 3, 4-9 p.m. at Fitzgerald (Rockton Chapel) beginning with the rosary, and for an hour preceding her 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial on Wednesday, Aug. 4, at St. Peter Cathedral, Bishop Thomas G. Doran will be the celebrant.
From the July 21-27, 2010 issue