Following nearly 94 fiercely independent years, complications related to a stroke a few days earlier claimed the life of Joan M. Sands of Wonewoc, on May 20, 2022. Aside from a brief period as a waitress in a Chicago suburb following graduation from Wonewoc High School in 1946, she was a life-long resident of the Wonewoc area. Growing up on a family dairy farm, she was the daughter of William F. and Leora M. (Miller) Biermeier, born on July 22, 1928. She was united in marriage to William O. Sands on February 4, 1948 at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in Wonewoc and their marriage was blessed with three children. Following their marriage, they lived and farmed for 52 years south of Wonewoc on Hwy 33, before retiring in 2000 and moving into town.
Besides being a full-time mother and farmer’s wife, Joan was an active participant in organizing, managing, and executing the wide array of never-ending farm chores, ranging from crop production to the ever-present care, feeding, and milking cows. Amid a preference for outdoor work, Joan excelled as a tractor driver, particularly during harvest season. Despite the varied farm-related activities she could also be relied upon to provide a nourishing meal, scheduled at a moment’s notice, at various times during the day, whenever the rest of the family and hired help found it convenient to appear at the table. In addition to the various and sundry farm activities, Joan also worked for a number of years at the local Ray-O-Vac battery plant in Wonewoc.
An active “journalist”, Joan filled dozens of wire-bound notebooks documenting the continuing stream of hers and her family’s activities, accomplishments, accidents, and occasional disasters. Her faith in God, along with her family supported her through those disasters and she frequently drew on that strength to assist others in their time of need. Time permitting, she occasionally found time to refinish furniture, put together jigsaw puzzles, and solve a variety of word puzzles. Whenever the opportunity arose, particularly in recent years, she could always be counted on to get up a card game among family and friends. She was a life-long member of St. Jerome’s Catholic Church and an active participant in church activities.
The family wishes to thank the many friends, neighbors, and relatives for the assistance, kindness, and well-wishes extended to Mom over the years; the kind indulgence of the Wonewoc ambulance crew; and the loving care provided by Dr. Margret Lenarz; RNs Sam and Shaunna, and the nursing staff at Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital, Hillsboro; and Samantha Erie, PA-C, Gundersen Wonewoc Clinic.
Joan is survived by a son, Michael (Ann) Sands of Memphis, TN and daughter, Merry (Alvin) Klaetsch of Reedsburg; seven grandchildren, Matthew (Stacie) Sands, Melinda (Marc) Quinn, Spencer Czarnecki, Jeffrey (Shantine) Klaetsch, Melanie Klaetsch, Kelly (Becky) Klaetsch, and Lacey (Mike) Fulk; ten great-grandchildren; a sister, Dorothy Doyle and brothers, John (Beverly) Biermeier and Robert (Sharon) Nowatzski; sisters-in-law, Marian Biermeier and Doris Biermeier; daughter-in-law, Anna Sands and numerous nieces and nephews, along with other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, William; a son, Merwin; two brothers, James and David Biermeier; and a sister, Helen (Robert) Longnecker.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Joan M. Sands will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 4, 2022 at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in Wonewoc with Father Donald Bauer officiating. Burial will follow in Pine Eden Cemetery, followed by refreshments at the Parish Hall. Friends may call on Friday, June 3, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Picha Funeral Home in Wonewoc.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to St. Jerome’s Catholic Church, Wonewoc, WI 53968
The Picha Funeral Home in Wonewoc is assisting with arrangements.