Sister Joanne Patricia Gwizdala was born on March 8, 1927, in Bay City, Michigan. She was the fourth of five children born to Ann (Wazbinski) and Joseph Gwizdala. Both of her parents were born in a Bay County rural township: her mother in Linwood area and her father in the Fisherville area.
In her autobiography, Sister Joanne shared the following about her family.
Dad was orphaned at the age of nine and lived with his uncle on the farm. When he was older he moved to Bay City, Michigan, to live with his oldest brother [until at] the age of seventeen when he enlisted in the army and was sent to Europe in the First World War. Mother helped on Grandpa’s farm and later moved to Bay City and did housework for some of the lumber barons who had large estates.
They both enjoyed music and dancing and met during the “Big Band Era.” They were married in 1920 in Bay City. When they were getting married, my mother said to my father, “Joe, I don’t care where we live, but don’t buy a farm!’” My dad worked at Pete’s Packing Company and delivered meat to stores in the “Thumb” area.
I have two brothers and two sisters. My brother Marion was a Navy pilot in the Second World War. He was killed at the age of 33 while testing one of the planes used for teaching cadets in Pensacola, Florida. My brother Leonard was in the Army division. My older sister Eugenia was better known as Gene and my older sister Edna was about six years younger.
Read more about Sister Joanne (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Anderson Funeral Home, Adrian.
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