Joan Ann Kirschling, 69, of Stevens Point, passed away peacefully on Sunday, September 10, 2023, following years of mental health challenges and cancer.
Joan was born in Stevens Point on January 9, 1954, the second of four children of John and Bennina “Bonnie” Szymanski. She grew up on the family’s farm in Mill Creek, working alongside her parents and siblings. Her love of animals began as a young girl, as she enjoyed riding horses and cows, and even protecting baby mice. She attended school in the Stevens Point area, graduating from Stevens Point Area Senior High in 1972.
Joan met Donald “Butch” Kirschling in 1975, while dancing at Merryland Ballroom. They were married on February 7, 1976 at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church. She was a member of Sacred Heart Polonia Catholic Parish, where she volunteered to work church picnics, regularly attended mass, and could be heard singing hymns.
She enjoyed bowling, snowmobiling, boating, camping, fishing, and taking lots of pictures to capture the special moments of life. She was an excellent baker and cook, always having delicious homemade meals and desserts on the table. She was very crafty when it came to knitting, crocheting, and sewing. She would be the first to offer a hand to help paint a room, happily humming as she painted. She was a natural caretaker and lovingly cared for many children of family and friends, hosting sleepovers and outings full of activities and fun. She always had dogs that she treated like children as well.
After years of trying, Joan and Butch welcomed with their miracle son, Cody, in 1991 and were blessed yet again with a surprise son, Owen, in 1996. She devoted her life to caring for her family as a homemaker. She was as involved in her sons’ lives as she could possibly be, even if it embarrassed them at times. Her door was always open to any of their friends, as she loved having the house full of kids and laughter. She volunteered at Bannach Elementary whenever the opportunity presented itself, chaperoning many field trips.
She was an assistant den leader for the Cub Scouts and an aid for CCD classes. She loved spending time with her mother and making elderly friends and family feel special. She could put a smile on anyone’s face and strike up a friendly conversation with a stranger as if they were old friends. She was so full of kindness and love.
Joan is survived by her husband of 47 years, Donald “Butch” Kirschling, their two children; Cody (Alycia) Kirschling and Owen (Kaiden McDonald) Kirschling, two grandchildren; Lyanna (2) and Kyra (1) Kirschling, siblings; Sandra “Sandi” Danczyk, Lynne (Mark) Mehis-Buchholz, and Tony Szymanski.
Joan was preceded in death by her parents, John and Bennina “Bonnie” (Hintz) Szymanski; in-laws Frank and Irene (Slagowski) Kirschling, and brother-in-law Robert Danczyk.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, at Immaculate Conception (St. Mary) Catholic Church, 7176 Esker Road, Custer. Father Miller will officiate. Visitation at the church on Tuesday September 19 from 9:30 a.m. until time of service.