Lois Anne Surlak, born Oct. 23, 1936, in Thayer, Ill., to Oscar and Ione Johnson, the youngest of three children, passed away on Sunday, May 17, 2020, in New Auburn, Wis. Lois was 83 years young.
Going to Webber’s Dairy in Joliet, Ill., to get ice cream after school was one of her favorite activities. She took tap dancing and ballet lessons. She would walk to school with her two brothers and spent many hours in her maternal grandparents’ (James and Effie Mellish) general store. Lois graduated from a class of over 200 students in 1955 from Joliet Township High School.
Lois met Steve Surlak on Feb. 14, 1955, on a blind date. They were married Sept. 29, 1956. Lois and Steve had three girls: Lynne in 1960, Mary in 1963 and Stephanie in 1965.
She loved to travel and took several trips with her daughter, Lynn, and her children. She and Mary went to Chicago to see a Whitney Houston concert in 1999. She was an avid Minnesota Vikings fan and wore her tattoo on her arm proudly. Lois loved Elvis Presley almost as much and had a wide range of memorabilia displayed throughout her home.
After Lois was married, she worked at APSA (Ammunition Procurement Supply Agency) as a clerk typist for the federal government. She worked many jobs through the years; she retired from Phillips Plastics, in Eau Claire, Wis., in 2003. Before that, she worked at Cenex, in Colfax, Wis., and Tester Forage King, in Ridgeland, Wis. She was a school bus driver for the school district of Colfax and she worked at Sandy Lee Coat Factory in Menomonie, Wis.
Even though Lois was confined to a wheelchair for the last 18 years, she never lost her sense of humor and always had a great outlook on life. She always had a smile for a new friend or someone she knew a long time.
Her great grandkids called her Gigi and loved her very much. Lois was a kindhearted woman and gave generously to others. She always put others’ needs in front of her own. She is sadly missed.
Lois is survived by her children, Lynn and Jake Schroeder, of New Auburn (granddaughter Rochelle and Eric Swanson, of New Richmond, Wis., and granddaughter Vanessa and Justin Edinger, of Milwaukee, Wis.), Mary and DuWayne Young, of Butternut, Wis., and Stephanie Lee, of New Auburn (grandson Cody and Brittany Lee, great-granddaughter Evelyn and great-grandson Camden, of Flower Mound, Texas; granddaughter Jessica Lee, of Barron, Wis.; and grandson Michael and Carly Lee and great-grandsons Oliver and Tucker, of Cameron, Wis.). She loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren very much.
We invite family and friends to join us at a celebration of life for Lois at the New Auburn Park Pavilion on Saturday, July 18, from 1–3 p.m. A light lunch will be served.