Janice Lorraine Winklbauer
Janice Lorraine Winklbauer, Forest City, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 with family members close by. She had been hospitalized at MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City for a period of time, but had only been at the Lake Mills Care Center for about one week before passing. She was 75 years old. A private graveside service will be held at a later date not yet determined. It will be for immediate family only. In lieu of flowers the family asks that any donations be made to MercyOne Hospice of North Iowa, or to the American Cancer Society.
Janice Brackey, born Sept. 12, 1945, was the daughter of Mrs. Frances Brackey. She was one of seven siblings in the Brackey family. There were a total of four girls and three boys in her immediate family. Janice was baptized and confirmed at the Synod Lutheran Church, Lake Mills.
In 1962, she graduated from the Lake Mills Community School. Shortly after her graduation, she and her best friend adventurously traveled west to Oregon to seek employment and to visit her sister Ferne.
Six months later, she became homesick for Iowa and would return to Lake Mills. In 1964, Janice married Mr. Joseph Winklbauer from Manly. The two wed at the Little Brown Church in the Vale, located to this day in Nashua. The couple performed all the traditions of the church’s 100-year history, including tolling the bell after the ceremony was completed.
Janice and Joseph raised two wonderful children; first a boy, John Edward, named after his Grandpa Ed Kamish, and three years later, a girl, Lisa Marie. She was of course named after Elvis Presley’s daughter, as both Jan and Joe were huge Elvis fans. They both loved his music throughout their lives.
As a very close knit family they all enjoyed camping in their pull behind travel trailer and would go as often as they could get away. All summer long, that trailer along with Mom and Dad, and the kids headed for their favorite spot near Austin, Minn., where the campground was nice and the fishing was even better.
When the seasons changed in Iowa, Janice would then pack for the family’s snowmobile trips. Joe and John Edward tuned up the Sno-Jet sno machines, while Janice and Lisa Marie prepared and packed the food. “Off to the Ponderosa they would go,” Janice would say. The whole family just loved the great outdoors. The men would start the campfire for everyone to huddle around; sometimes it would be below zero but Janice would say, “When you’re with family, its 72 degrees.” Out would come the hot dogs for dinner, and marshmallows and chocolate for s’mores.
In July 1975, the Winklbauer family endured a tragedy that no family should ever have to go through. In a split second all of their lives were shattered and turned upside down. Lisa Marie, who was seven at the time, was on her bicycle and was killed instantly in a one vehicle accident in Lake Mills.
Their family was never the same after the loss of Lisa Marie. A few years went by and Janice and Joe eventually divorced, and within the next few years, Jan moved to Forest City, where she resided until her death. She retired from a long career working at Winnebago Industries. Her duties were mainly on the assembly line as both a masker and a painter.
When asked recently if she had any regrets in life, she carefully replied, “No, not really.” When asked what might she miss most in life? She replied, “Oh, several things such as having an occasional afternoon tea with my brother Leroy in Lake Mills.” They always complimented each other on who made the best tea.
“Talking to my sister Ferne in Oregon every few days . . . I’ll miss that; she will be all alone now. No more sisters, just her. And I’ll miss visiting with my niece, Cheryl; she has always been so special to me. My sister, Bernice, who’s been deceased for several years; she used to take me to Las Vegas to gamble. I really miss that; we went several times. I never wanted to go alone, it’s no fun.
“Most of all I’m going to miss my son, John. The times we went the Diamond Jo Casino, sometimes to gamble or maybe just to enjoy the buffet. It was always fun, he made me laugh even if I was down, he could make me smile, it didn’t matter if we won money or not, it was our time, it was our family time. And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?”
Janice’s survivors include her son, John, Scarville; sister, Ferne Jones, Gresham, Ore.; two brothers: Leroy W. Brackey, Lake Mills; and Steven (Bev) Brackey, Forest City; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Mrs. Winklbauer was preceded in death by her mother, Frances Brackey; her daughter, Lisa Marie Winklbauer; and three siblings: Bernice Palmer, Elaine Sevley, and Roger D. Brackey.