Joana C. Eckert

Joana C. Eckert was known throughout the area for many things.

She worked as a bailiff for the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office for 23 years, retiring in 2002.

She didn’t fit the mold of an intimidating  court officer, her son Bill said.

“She was this little, short, severely crippled lady,” he said, noting his mother suffered from rheumatoid arthritis from the age of 6.

“She didn’t know a day without pain.”        But that didn’t stop Mrs. Eckert from living her life or from helping others, he said.

“She tried to help people whenever she could,” her son said.

She worked for the Census Bureau during three counts, and provided free tax assistance for people of modest means for about 30 years through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and for senior citizens at the Niederkorn Library and Port Washington Senior Center.

“She became known as the tax lady. Everyone knew my mom wasn’t going anywhere from February through April 15. That was tax time,” her son said.

She kept the books at the Grafton Ben Franklin Crafts store for five years, and for more than 50 years was an Avon lady, delivering cosmetics to women throughout the area.

She was a powerhouse, her son Bill said.

“My word for my mom is tenacious,” he said. “She would figure out a way to get things done.”

Mrs. Eckert, who lived on West Washington Street in Port Washington until two years ago, died Thursday, Jan. 10, at Lasata Care Center in Cedarburg. She was 82.

Mrs. Eckert was born in West Allis on Jan. 8, 1937, the daughter of John and Mary Lisiecki Borowski.

She was raised on the family farm and met Jack Eckert on a blind date in 1954, and on July 13, the couple married in Dubuque, Iowa.

“They got married after six weeks, and they were married for 50 years,” her son said.

Mr. Eckert was a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Coast Guard, and the couple traveled throughout the country, moving every two years.

“We lived all over the place,” her son said. And because his father was often gone for long stretches, his mother had to set up the household each time.

She found a family through her faith, he said.

“The first question she would ask my dad whenever they moved was, ‘Where’s my church?’” her son said. “She was a church lady.”

When Mr. Eckert retired, the couple moved to Port Washington.

“Port Washington was truly her home,” her son said, noting his mother picked the family’s home when she walked into the house and discovered she could see the lake from its windows.

Mrs. Eckert was an active member of the Port Washington Senior Center and an avid bridge player who played with the same group of people for years, her son said.

She was a good cook and baker who was known for her cookies and caramel corn, he said, noting many people sought her recipes.

Mrs. Eckert loved to spend time with her family and once she had grandchildren made a concerted effort to create family memories, her son said.

Every grandchild who stayed with her had to learn how to swim and how to use the library, he said, and every summer the entire family would rent a cottage at the Rawley Point lighthouse in Two Rivers where there was no telephone, Internet or television reception.

“It was just great memories,” her son said. “It was like taking a step back in time. The grandkids loved going there. They would read books, play games and just have fun.”

Mrs. Eckert is survived by her sons William of Milwaukee and Daniel (Mary Beth) of San Antonio; grandchildren Danielle, Zachary, Julie, Dylan, Dacota, Natalie, Sam, Rachel, Cyndi and Elizabeth; and five great-grandchildren.            

She is further survived by her brothers Florian (Glenda) Borowski of Texas, Jerry Borowski and Mark Borwoski of Wisconsin; brothers-in-law Jerry (Ann) Eckert of Florida and Lynn Pope of Wisconsin; and daughter-in-law JoAnne Eckert of Pennsylvania.

In addition to her husband Jack, who died on March 24, 2005, Mrs. Eckert was preceded in death by her son Randy, grandson Chris, sister Theresa Pomaranski, sisters-in-law Kathy Borowski, Sheryl Borowski and Judy Pope and brother-in-law John Pomaranski.

A funeral service for Mrs. Eckert will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at St. James Episcopal Church in West Bend. Mother Mindy Valentine Davis will officiate.

Visitation will be at the church Friday from 9 a.m. until the service.

Interment will be in Union Cemetery, Port Washington.

Memorials to St. James Church Foundation or the Arthritis Foundation are suggested.

Funeral arrangements are being handled through Poole Funeral Home/Crematory in Port Washington.



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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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