Joanne Marie Christensen

Joanne Marie Christensen

Joanne Marie Christensen, age 77, of Tomahawk, (formerly of Wildwood, IL) passed away Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Aspirus Hospital in Wausau.

She was born on June 22, 1942, to Stanley and Julia Pyktel (née Pencak) of North Chicago, IL.

Joanne married Emil “Mike” Christensen in Nov. 1963. They were married for 46 years prior to his passing in 2011. She was preceded in death by her daughter Tami Marie Christensen in 2006.

Joanne is survived by her son Michael; two grandchildren, Rick Thornburgh and Christen Thornburgh; and one great-grandson, Jace Thornburgh. Joanne is also survived by her two sisters, Darlene Boegan (Larry) and Karen Wamboldt (Gary).

Joanne graduated from Holy Child Catholic High School in Waukegan, IL, and attended Northern Illinois University in Dekalb for one year prior to beginning her family.

Joanne worked for Abbott Laboratories in North Chicago and retired at age 55 in June 1997. In addition, she and her husband Mike bought and operated the Fogcutter, a friendly supper-club style restaurant in Lake Villa, IL, for 20 years, while she was also employed at Abbott. Mike and Joanne sold the business in 1997 and moved to Tomahawk to enjoy their retirement. Joanne loved living on the Spirit River; she enjoyed gardening, fishing (sometimes in the dark), going to the casino and golf cart rides throughout the yard with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. She was a generous host, always working behind the scenes to prepare meals and make sure everybody was happy and well fed. Growing up, her home was known as one of the places neighborhood kids could go to and there would regularly be oven-fresh chocolate chip cookies or warm cocoa to enjoy.

In her later years, Joanne fought cancer (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) and won on three separate occasions, enduring chemo as well as radiation therapy. Her quiet strength, fortitude, and selflessness were perhaps her most defining characteristics.

Visitation was from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at Gurnee Salata Funeral Home, 4190 Old Grand Ave, Gurnee, IL 60031. Service begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6, also at Gurnee Salata Funeral Home. Interment follows service at Ascension Cemetery in Libertyville, IL.

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