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Obituary for Joan T. (McKee) Burge

Joan Therese Burge, 86, of Onalaska, passed away peacefully on May 3rd at her home while surrounded by family. She relied on her relationship with God and her selfless character to courageously battle dementia until God called her home. Joan was born October 5, 1934 to Chester and Theresa (Kirschner) McKee. She graduated from Aquinas High School in 1952. After high school she attended Western Wisconsin Technical College and then worked for the La Crosse Telephone Company. She also met the love of her life, Robert A. Burge, and on October 12, 1957 they were married at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in La Crosse. They raised 6 children and had a beautiful life together until Bob passed away on April 9, 1981. Not long before Bob’s passing, Joan went to work as the office manager for the Canteen Vending Company in La Crosse, where she worked until her retirement in 2000. Joan was the embodiment of faith and family as priorities in life. Attending church and appreciating the gifts of the Lord were just a regular part of her life. She was incredibly modest, and her belief that everyone is special in some way was sensed by all her children, grandchildren, and extended family members. The grandchildren could always count on grandma being there for them as they participated in events throughout their childhood years. Joan also treasured the gift of being an identical twin with her sister JoAnne. A day would rarely pass without communication between them. Joan is survived by her 6 children: Larry (Lisa) of Brice Prairie, Lori (Jim Paulson) Potaracke of Houston, MN, Doug (Cathy) of Holmen, Sharon (Scott Wondrow) of Ramsey, MN, Chris (Greg) Potaracke of Rochester, MN, and Steve of Onalaska; 9 grandchildren: Nicole, Chelsey (Garrett), Isaac, Jacob (Ryan), Kyle (Alicia), Matthew, Mikaela, Robby (Kari), and Joe (Callie); and 3 great grandchildren: Jamie, Haley, and Arina. Joan was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Robert; siblings: JoAnne Boisvert, Joe McKee; and son-in-law: Tim Potaracke. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at San Damiano Chapel-Viterbo University at 11:00 AM on Saturday, May 15th. Father Conrad Targonski will be the celebrant. Visitation will be held from 10:00 AM until the time of service. The family is asking all guests to honor a face mask requirement while in the Chapel. A luncheon in the Chapel building will follow the service. There will be a Christian burial service at 11:00 AM on Monday, May 17th at the Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or San Damiano Chapel. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Jostad Chapel, West Salem is assisting the family. To share a condolence with the family, please visit