Obituary: Joy Vancos
Joy Michele (Karlson) Vancos passed away peacefully at Aspirus Hospice House in Wausau on November 6, 2015. She fought a courageous battle after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer in March of 2010. She was born May 9, 1948 in Ft. Sheridan, IL to Lars and Madeleine (Laborde) Karlson. Joy lived in Virginia and Germany before her family finally moved to Ripon. She was a graduate of Ripon High School and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Joy is survived by Bill, her husband of 43 years and a native of Rhinelander, as well as her son Jonathan, daughter-in-law Marisa and grandson Daniel, of Wauwatosa. She is further survived by her mother Madeleine Karlson of Ripon, and brothers Robert of Oshkosh and Mark of Spring Green. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Marge (Vancos) Stoxen, brother-in-law Corky Stoxen, nephews Matthew (Sarah) and Jeffrey (Eve), as well as grand-nephew Bryan and grand-niece Anna, along with special friends and loved ones, who she considered extended family.
Joy was preceded in death by her father Lars, her father- and mother-in-laws Matt and Katherine Vancos, her grandparents and other especially close friends.
Family was very important to Joy, and that explained her passion for genealogy and history. She had been president of the Rhinelander Genealogy Society for many years and enjoyed helping others on their journey to research their family roots. Though Joy did not move to Rhinelander until 1972, she embraced it as her hometown and became very interested in Rhinelander’s early history. She was a charter board member of the Rhinelander Historical Society and for over ten years, provided ‘Post Cards from the Past’ for the local paper, and for a number of years provided monthly longer articles for their ‘Best Years’ section. She was considered a local Historian, and contacted often for information. Among her many projects were research papers, walking tours and databases related to the early years in Rhinelander.
In the early 70’s Joy was the photographer for Nicolet College and postcards of the original buildings, with ‘Photo by Joy M. Vancos’ on the backside, can still be found on eBay. Later she delivered Rhinelander Potato Chips to local stores and restaurants. She enjoyed visiting with the people on her stops and learned baking tips from the ladies at Onson’s Inn and how to select good cuts of meats from Meat Cutters at some of the last remaining neighborhood grocery stores. She and Bill owned and operated Sunrise Miniature Golf in the mid 70’s and Eagle Street Storage for the past six years.
Joy was one of the original Soccer Moms and her tan van was a fixture for years at Jonathan’s soccer practices and games. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, Joy and some friends had a dance studio in the former Elks Club and then VFW Club on Davenport Street. While they practiced mostly middle-eastern dancing, other groups and organizations also utilized the studio.
In most recent years Joy spent time expanding on her passion for wild horses, focusing primarily on the Pryor Mountain Reserve in Montana and Wyoming. While she was able to visit the area only four times, she met numerous good friends across the country and beyond, and using her genealogy knowledge, was able to help develop detailed databases on the horses. She also rekindled her interest in photography preferring wildlife out west and locally on the Wisconsin River.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the staffs at Aspirus Cancer Center, Hospital and Hospice House in Wausau for the professional and compassionate care Joy received.
The visitation for Joy will be held on Friday, November 13, 2015 from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Hildebrand Russ Funeral Home. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church (St. Joseph Site). Please meet at the church. Interment will take place at Nativity Catholic Cemetery.
Hildebrand Russ Funeral Home & Cremation Specialists, 24 E. Davenport Street, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, 54501, 715-365-4343. Celebrating lives and healing hearts. All are invited to light a candle, sign the guestbook, leave a photo or an online condolence at www.hildebrandrussfh.com