EAU CLAIRE — Patricia “Patti” E. Knowlton-Gehrking, 92, of Eau Claire passed away Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, at Grace Woodlands in Eau Claire, under the care of St. Croix Hospice. Patti was born in Cadott June 5, 1926, to George and Anna (Steinmetz) Paulus and grew up on the family farm with her nine siblings and beloved farm animals and pet turkey, Oscar.
Patti married Walter Knowlton Feb. 11, 1943, and they had eight children together. Patti and Walter were involved in a car accident in 1965 which resulted in Walter’s death. She later married Norman Gehrking and they were divorced after many years together.
Patti will be deeply missed by her family, daughters, Maxine (Larry) Van de Walker, Ann (Jim Buchan) Nelsen, Beverly (Vince) Haizel, Mary (Charlie) Steinke; and sons, Tom (Barb) Knowlton, and John (Cathie) Knowlton.
She adored her grandchildren, Kim (Kevin Ball) Flodin, Kari Kulseth, Kris Flodin, Jenny (Bill) Gardner, Erin (Van) Beach, Matt Van de Walker, Skye (Tom) Dunn, Wayne Nelsen, DeAnn Abel, Lisa (Giovanni) Grecco, Kristie Schwoerer, Tracy (Brad) Feck, Jill (Jon) Zielieke, Scott Haizel, Darin Haizel, Kelly (Shawn) Oresnik, Jamey (Angie) Knowlton, Gene (Deanna) Schleusner, Chris (Kate) Knowlton, Adam (Carrie) Knowlton, and Heather (Mike) Vaudreuil.
She also leaves behind 44 great-grandchildren, three great-great grandchildren (with two more on the way), as well as several nieces, nephews and a very special friend, Kathi Bowen.
Patti was preceded in death by her husband, Walter; daughter, Katie; son, David; granddaughter, Shannon; parents; nine siblings, Florence, Bertram, Richard, Geverna, Edmund, Geraldine, Cornelius, Genevieve and James; and her special pets.
Patti had a very outgoing personality and worked at several jobs throughout her life, from hotel management to bartending, where her skill at telling jokes was well-known. But her favorite job was caring for children, which she did for years from the time they were infants to their high school years. Bob and Cathie Lea and their children Matt, Marty, and Marion were her second family, and she dearly loved them. She also had a special affection for all animals and she took her beagles Bootsie and Roger, and her special dachshund Walter, everywhere with her.
Patti was an avid reader and loved music. She could easily manage playing the accordion and the harmonica at the same time during every family gathering. She taught everyone “her own words” to several songs that we will never forget. She was full of fun and ready to party until the end.
“We all love you and will miss you forever.”
A special thank you to Grace Woodlands and St. Croix Hospice for their gentle care and comfort during this time.
Visitation will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Lenmark-Gomsrud-Linn Funeral Home, 814 First Ave. in Eau Claire. A celebration of life will follow the visitation at 3 p.m. Saturday, at the funeral home. Burial will be at the Lutheran Church Cemetery, in Eau Claire. For online condolences, please visit www.lenmarkfh.com.