Geraldine C. Watry

Geraldine C. Watry was a warm and loving mother and grandmother who enjoyed shopping for bargains, rooting for local sports teams and following the career of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Mrs. Watry, known as Gerry to family and friends, died of congestive heart failure on Friday, Aug. 17, at Lawlis Family Hospice at Columbia St. Mary’s Ozaukee Hospital in Mequon. She was 92. 

Mrs. Watry was born in Belgium on June 10, 1926, to Eugene “Frenchy” and Susan Antoine. She attended St. Mary’s grade school in Lake Church and graduated from Port Washington High School in 1944.  

She met her future husband, Kenneth Watry of Fredonia, while they were in high school but they did not date until years after they graduated, her daughter, Donna Kolanko said.

By then, Mrs. Watry was working as a bookkeeper at Allen-Edmonds Shoe Co. and Mr. Watry had taken over his father’s business, Watry Inc.

They were married on April 29, 1950, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lake Church.  Mr. Watry died in 1988.  

After marriage, they moved to Fredonia, where she worked as the part-time bookkeeper for Watry’s Inc, which was later renamed 84 Sales & Service.

“My dad was always the one with the ideas and liked to do things on the spur of the moment. Mom was always, ‘Sure I’ll go along.’ There was nothing that she ever refused,” her daughter said.

They were avid sports fans, being Packers season ticket holders since the 1940s.

“I remember she would go two or three times a year and in those days women weren’t supposed to wear pants and I remember she would go out the door wearing nylons and high heels to go to a Packers game in freezing weather,” her daughter said.

She was an avid Brewers and Badgers fan as well, Kolanko said.

“She was so excited when she moved to Harbor Village (in Port Washington) four years ago so she could watch all the Brewers games on cable because she never wanted to spend the money on it when she lived at home,” her daughter said.

Mr. and Mrs. Watry also traveled extensively, sometimes overseas, and often on trips that Mr. Watry was awarded through his business, including trips to London, Paris and the Bahamas.

“They made a trip to Italy for their 25th anniversary and went to the Vatican. That was very special,” their daughter said.

She also always followed Queen Elizabeth because they were born in the same year.

When Prince William and Kate Middleton were married on April 29, 2011, sharing an anniversary day with Mrs. Watry and her husband, she wrote to the royal couple and received a reply from them.

Her mother loved to shop, her daughter said, but only for bargains.

“She was a thrifty buyer. Dollar Tree, Goodwill and rummage sales were her favorite places,” she said. 

There was one exception, however.

“Her favorite store ever was Harrods in London,” Mrs. Kolanko said. “That was special.”

 Mrs. Watry enjoyed the community life of Harbor Village Campus and was very active in many of the activities there. She also enjoyed knitting.

She was a longtime election volunteer in Fredonia and believed strongly in voting as a civic duty.

“She would always ask her children and grandchildren, ‘Did you vote today?’” her daughter said,

Mrs. Watry was a longtime member of Divine Savior Parish, St. Rose of Lima Chapel in Fredonia, where she was a choir member.  

She is survived by her children Donna (Robert) Kolanko, Mary Rae (Robert) Mauch,  Peter (Kathi), and Kenneth (Linda) ; grandchildren Robert and Donald Kolanko, Nicholas and Jeremy Mauch, Benjamin (Rebecca) Mauch, Rebecca (Zachary) Lambo, Noah, Justin and Gabrielle Watry, Alexandria (Jared) Waning, Elizabeth (Brandon) Mikulski, Scott, Brady and Daniel Watry, Amanda (Jimmy) Hepner and Kylie (Nicholas) Lorge; seven great-grandchildren; her sister Bernice (Warren) Haseley; and sister-in-law Pat Watry.

Mrs. Watry was preceded in death by her husband, grandson Dominic Watry, brother Raymond Antoine and brother-in-law Fanny Watry.

Visitation was to be from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Eernisse Funeral Home in Port Washington, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 5 p.m. at Divine Savior Parish St. Rose of Lima Chapel. Father Neil Zinthefer will preside. Burial will be at St. Rose of Lima Parish Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Divine Savior Catholic School in Fredonia or the Discalced Carmelite Friars of Holy Hill Inc.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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