Pictured in the photo are, left to right: Kathy Burghardt, Care Manager, Lakeland Care District; Bob Pflum and Lois Pflum (Joanie's sister and brother-in-law); John Schmitt and Jan Schmitt (Joanie's brother and sister-in-law); and Jenna Pauly, Nurse Care Manager, Lakeland Care District.
Joanie Schmitt was born on May 1st, 1946 in Fond du Lac and lived in the community. Despite numerous challenges in her later years, she lived independently for most of her adult life.
During the last ten years of her life, she was faced with numerous challenges. It was about that time that Lakeland Care District became involved with Joanie. Through their Family Care program, she was able to remain in her apartment for several years, which was extremely important to her.
The Lakeland Care District, which operates Family Care in Fond du Lac County, provided care management and supportive services that helped Joanie achieve her life goals, which included staying in her own apartment as long as she was able. Over the years, as a Lakeland Care District member, Joanie became a fixture in the complex where she lived.
In addition to the companionship of her sister, brothers, nieces, nephews and friends,she had four parakeets: Chatty, Champ, Mikey and Sweetie Pie. Her contagious zest for living could bring a smile to anyone's face.
According to her care managers, Joanie exemplified why the Family Care program exists: she was determined to live her life in the community and on her own terms, despite the obstacles life presented in her later years. She challenged those around her and forced everyone to think creatively to achieve results. Often when her caregivers and others visited, Joanie would ask them to record inspirational and encouraging messages of support on her tape recorder, so she could listen to them when times got rough, especially when she tried to give up smoking.
Joanie passed away on September 23, 2011, but her memory and spirit endure, thanks to the generosity of her family. Her brothers and sister so appreciated the support and asistance provided by Lakeland Care District, they purchased a bench, and donated it to the LCD in her memory.
In late November, Joanie's sister, Lois and brother-in-law Bob Pflum and Joanie's twin brother, John and sister-in-law, Jan Schmitt, joined Joanie's care managers Kathy Burghardt and Jenna Pauly and the Lakeland Care District Board of Directors to celebrate Joanie's life and dedicate the memorial bench, placed in the LCD lobby, for all to share. Joanie's brother, Jerry and sister-in-law Colleen Schmitt live out of state and were unable to attend.
Those who knew Joanie will never forget her. Someday, someone who never knew her will rest there and be confident that no matter what challenges they face, they will be supported in living to the best of their abilty.