Fond du Lac -- Sr. Joan Wirz, CSA, died on August 24, 2014.
Born in Monroe, Wis., on October 6, 1923, she was the first child of Otto and Ida Wirz, who named her Josephine Anna. A brother, George Otto, was born six years later. The Wirz family lived humbly in peace and security on the second floor of the cheese factories that employed her father, a Swiss immigrant.
Upon completing high school, she worked as a nurse aide at St. Clare Hospital in Monroe until old enough to enter St. Agnes School of Nursing in Fond du Lac. During that time, she sensed her call to religious life and entered the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes in 1943. Following her first profession of vows on August 15, 1945, she was a nurse for 13 years until asked to get a degree in hospital administration. From 1960 to 1963, she was administrator of St. Thomas Hospital in Colby, Kan., while attending summer school at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. After receiving her MBA in 1963, she became CEO of St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac, a position she held until 1980. From 1981 to 1987, she served in administration at Nazareth Heights Infirmary, then spent six years as Special Assistant to the President of St. Agnes Hospital and Waupun Memorial Hospital.
Sister Joan was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Bishop George Wirz of the Diocese of Madison. She is survived by her step-nephews Ronald, David, and Steven Buholzer; several cousins, including William Emmenegger, Barbara Lamm, and Judith Ash; and the Sisters of St. Agnes with whom she lived, prayed, and ministered. Burial followed at St. Joseph Springs Cemetery.
Memorials can be directed to the Sisters of St. Agnes Development Office, 320 County Road K, Fond du Lac, WI 54937.