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Patricia A. Baganz PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 15:51

     Patricia A. Baganz was a diminutive, vivacious woman who held many roles in her life.
    She was a dedicated wife, mother and grandmother, an energetic volunteer, a faith-filled woman, a committed teacher of special-needs students and an avid gardener.
    “She was extremely energetic, and very self-confident —all 5 feet of her,” her husband Jerry said. “She’s always been the smallest adult in the room, but no one every thought of her as small.”
    Mrs. Baganz, 71, who lived on Woodridge Lane in Grafton, died of ovarian cancer Monday, Oct. 16, at Lawlis Family Hospice in Mequon.
    She was diagnosed with the disease 4-1/2 years ago, her husband said, and fought it with incredible courage.
    “She was just incredibly strong through it all,” he said.
    Mrs. Baganz was born in Chicago on Oct. 5, 1946, the daughter of Donald and Helen O’Brien McGinnis.
    The family moved to Sturgeon Bay, where Mrs. Baganz spent her childhood.
    While a student at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, she took a job as a waitress at the Pioneer Inn. On the day she started her job, she met Jerry Baganz, a bartender at the restaurant, at 5 p.m. on Sept. 10, 1967.
    “She was really, really cute and also just full of life,” he said. “We hit it off from the start.”
    The couple, who would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary next year, instead celebrated the 50th anniversary of their meeting last month, her husband said.
    After the couple married in Fond du Lac on March 3, 1968, they lived in six states and Germany before returning to Wisconsin.
    At age 40, after their children were grown, Mrs. Baganz returned to college, studying at Regis University in Colorado.
    “All three kids and Pat were in college at the same time,” her husband said. “Everybody would sit around the table talking about college.”
    Mrs. Baganz began her teaching career in Denver, and continued it after the couple moved to Port Washington in 1988.
    She earned her master’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University in about 1990, then began working as a special education teacher, primarily at Waukesha North High School.
    She also taught for several years at the Waukesha Juvenile Detention Center.
    “She literally went behind bars with these kids,” her husband said.
    She wasn’t afraid for her safety, he said.
    “She said these kids are so accustomed to being pushed around and bullied. They look at me and know I can’t do it, so they relax,” Mr. Baganz said. “They became very protective of her.”
    She found her niche in working with emotionally and behaviorally disturbed high school students, her husband said.
    “It was very satisfying for her,” he said. “She was very good at it.”
    Mrs. Baganz taught for 21 years, retiring in 2007.
    It was then that she turned her hobby of gardening into a business, running the landscape design firm Petite Gardenscapes until 2011.
    “It was geared toward landscape designs for the weekend gardener — something normal people with a couple of kids could do,” her husband said. “But business got so good, it just wasn’t fun anymore so she closed the business.”
    But, he added, she continued to do landscape work for friends.
    Mrs. Baganz became an avid gardener after the couple moved to their home on Eva Street in Port Washington, her husband said.
    “It had fabulous gardens that really had deteriorated,” he said. “She started restoring the gardens, and just kept going.”
    Mrs. Baganz was active in the Port Washington Garden Club, the Judge Eghart House, Port Washington Historical Society, Focus Christian Ministry, Living Hope Lutheran Church, the Ozaukee Network Enterprise and other organizations.
    She also enjoyed traveling and boating with her husband.
    “Although her energy seemed boundless, she always put her home, husband, children and grandchildren first in her heart,” her family said.
    Mrs. Baganz is survived by her husband Jerry of Grafton, children Michael of Port Washington, David of Denver and Catherine of Davis, Calif.; grandchildren Calvin, Bay and Sylvia.
    She is further survived by her siblings Jim (Debbie) of Denmark, Mike of Madison, Marge (Dan) Polechek of Algoma, Mary (Pete) Bosman of Sturgeon Bay, Steve (Barb) of Ashland, Bob (Rose) of Mims, Fla., and Sara McGinnis of Milwaukee; and her former student Tamara, who was like a daughter to Mrs. Baganz, and her son Kyler.
    Mrs. Baganz was preceded in death by her parents and brother Thomas McGinnis.
    A celebration of Mrs. Baganz’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at Living Hope Lutheran Church in Saukville. The Rev. Kelly Nieman-Anderson will officiate.
    Visitation will be held at the church Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until the service.
    Memorials to the Living Hope Children’s Education Fund or the Milwaukee Rescue Mission are suggested.
    Funeral arrangements are being handled through Poole Funeral Home, Port Washington.

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