Patricia Ann “Pat” Kwallek, age 88, of Lancaster passed away Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at Orchard Manor Nursing Home, rural Lancaster. She was born June 30, 1933, at home in Potosi to Melvin and Dorothy (Gurney) Gillen. Pat often joked that she met her husband Albert “Al” in jail, as she lived in the Sheriff’s family quarters when her father was Sheriff, and where Al had his office. She married Albert J. Kwallek, Jr. on June 15, 1951, in Lancaster. Together they had 7 children: Jeffrey, Ellen (Richard) Sanson, Randal (Jennifer), Julie (Les) Vondra, David (Mary Jean), Kathleen and Daniel. They were blessed with 20 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. At a time when many women didn’t have careers while raising 6 children, she had a 20-plus year career with the Grant County Herald Independent starting as a journalist and photographer, eventually serving as editor. She also spent several years as a freelance journalist for the Associated Press, Wisconsin State Journal, Capital Times, and the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. She was perhaps best known as the author of the Woods and Water column sharing stories of everyday life in the Driftless Area as the wife of the Grant County Conservation Warden. Pat was a great philanthropist in the Lancaster community and was one of the 100 women donors for the Schreiner Memorial Library Expansion. She served for decades as a Sunday school teacher, church bazaar coordinator, and a church dinner volunteer. As a deacon for the Lancaster Congregational Church, she was instrumental in the formation of a prayer team. She also served all the churches on the Association of Churches, and as a volunteer for the Lancaster Food Pantry. Countless days were spent as a community coordinator for the Red Cross blood drives and with the Grant Regional Health Center Auxiliary. She enjoyed many years leading Lancaster Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors on coffee visits to businesses in the community. She also shared experiences of the nature around her through her writings. Pat was an avid gardener, a spelunker, a photographer, a reader, a writer, and an amazing baker and cook. She enjoyed genealogy and spent many hours making connections with the past. Her curiosity led her to live an extremely interesting life. Always ready and willing to learn, Pat was especially interested in the misunderstood creatures of the world and had a special affinity for bats. She had a heart for strays, whether it was an animal or a person. Pat was well read, well written, and well spoken. She was of strong mind, strong will, and strong opinion.
Pat was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Beverly and Ruth, husband Al, infant son Daniel, and daughter-in-law Harla.
A celebration of Pat’s life will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 11:30 a.m. at the Lancaster Congregational Church, 225 South Madison St, Lancaster, WI. Family and friends may call from 10:00 a.m. until time of services at the church. Memorials in her memory can be made to Schreiner Memorial Library in Lancaster, WI. Cards may also be sent to 6239 Kerr Rd, Lancaster, WI 53813. Martin Schwartz Funeral Home & Crematory in Lancaster is assisting the family.