Barbara June Wieczorek, 85, passed away with family by her side on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, at Advent Health Hospital in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Barb was born June 2, 1936, in Winona, Minnesota, to Clarence and Leone (Thrune) Gappa. After graduating from Cotter High School, she went on to achieve her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse, attending St. Mary’s Nursing School in Rochester, Minnesota.
While working as an RN, she met medical student and orderly, Robert Mathison. She said his ego needed adjusting and, as his superior, put him on bedpan duty. Despite that dubious beginning, they ended up dating and were married December 28, 1957. Barb mostly worked the overnight shift, helping put Bob through medical school while simultaneously raising a family of six young children. She loved to tell humorous stories of life with them. An often-told story was how her first three kids, all boys, made each other special “drinks” which subsequently required a trip to the hospital for stomach pumping. This type of mischief was so frequent that when her fourth child was finally a girl, she was so relieved she wouldn’t let her out of her sight in the hospital. When she went on to have another daughter and a son, she felt her family was finally complete.
Having six active kids, Barb enjoyed attending every single sporting event, concert, and school function that she could. Her family was her happiness, which only increased with the births of each grandchild and great-grandchild.
Barb was a lot of fun, had a great sense of humor, and the ability to laugh at herself. She famously made-up words if she couldn’t think of the correct one, a classic example was “mouse-cat” which was a substitution for “dog”. While at a restaurant with her family, mom ordered coffee and the waitress asked if she likes cream with her coffee. Her answer, “sometimes”. After a long pause the waitress needed to ask, “is this one of those times?!” She always had the ability to laugh with those around her and at herself each time these stories were told and retold over the years.
When Bob died suddenly in 1987, Barb was devastated. A few years later, Barb attended a high school reunion in 1989 and reconnected with her high school sweetheart, Robert Wieczorek. They rekindled their relationship and were married in June of 1991. They lived in Minnesota and Wisconsin before finally relocating to Florida. They lived happily there together until Bob passed away in October 2018.
Barb worked for many years as a labor and delivery RN, a job she dearly loved. She was also quite a talented artist, working mostly in watercolor. Her children and grandchildren are the lucky recipients of many of her beautiful paintings.
Barb was preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, Dr. Robert Mathison; her second husband, Robert Wieczorek; her brothers, Allen and Glenn Gappa; her sisters, Dianne DeWitz and Marie Feltz; two sons, Dann and Todd Mathison; and granddaughter Ella Grace Hinzmann. She is survived by her children: Mark (Joni) Mathison of Duluth, MN; Caroline Mathison (Tyler, Marisa, and Gabby) of Hermantown, MN; Kerin (Mark) Hinzmann of Maple Valley, WA; Kiersten (Tom) Ellez of Auburn, WA; Arik (Kristle) Mathison of Ballston Spa, NY. Grandchildren: Abigail (Charles) Wright; Brent (Steph) Mathison; Ryne Metzger; Kailea Mattheis; Jack Mathison; Alice and Samuel Hinzmann; Andie and Harrison Ellez; Kelsey Alois, and Oliver, Simen, and Henrik Mathison. Great Grandchildren: Landon Mathison and Emmett and Amelia Wright and Kinley Metzger . Barb loved her family which also included many beloved nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Mass and reception will be held on Monday, October 4, 2021, at 11:00 am at St. Gerard Catholic Church, 3171 S. Ridgewood Avenue, Edgewater, Florida.