Obit: Zais, Janet A. (1935 – 2020)


Surnames: Zais, Pralguske, Mikolainis, Kalmon, Passi, Matzinger, Polivka, Webber, Swim, Gunnufson, Walijewski, Hogar

----Source: THORP COURIER 12 Aug 2020

Zais, Janet A. (6 FEB 1935 – 14 JUL 2020)

Janet A. Zais found eternal peace on July 14, 2020, at the home of her daughter.

She was born in Chicago on February 6, 1935, to Gedmon and Genevieve (Pralguske) Mikolainis. She was raised on the family farm northwest of Thorp. Her time on the farm included hard work but afforded her and her extended family the happiest memories. She attended Sunny Lawn Grade School, and graduated from Thorp High in 1952. She married Wenzel M. Zais of Boyd on August 9, 1955, at St. Hedwig's Church at Thorp. They lived in Stanley until 1965 when they moved to Eau Claire.

She is survived by her children: Michael (Sandra) of Lakeville, MN, Jeffrey (Patricia) of Cumberland/New Zealand, and Amy (Cam) Kalmon of Eau Claire; grandchildren: Jason Zais, Kevin Patrick Zais, Adam Zais, Martin Zais, Kevin Matthew Kalmon, Jeffrey Kalmon (fiancé Alyse Passi) and Katherine Kalmon. She is also survived by her sisters: Sue Matzinger of Delano, MN, and Kathleen (Merle) Polivka of Cedarburg; and a brother, Douglas (Linda) Mikolainis of Richfield. She is also survived by her sisters-in-law: Linda (Robert) Webber of Chippewa, Shirley (Gene) Swim of Stanley, Carol Zais of Wauwatosa, Alberta Zais of Minneapolis; and a brother-in- law, Roger Gunnufson of Colfax. Other survivors include nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Wenzel, in 1973; a son, Patrick, in 1985; a special aunt, Bertha Mikolainis; her parents; her in-laws, Matt and Regina Zais; a sister-in-law, Mary (Zais) Gunnufson; and a nephew, Aaron Matzinger.

Janet retired in 2002, after 22 years of service in the Federal Court System. She was a member of Chapter 371, National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE). Even while working full-time, she enjoyed trips to visit her children and grandchildren in Florida, Idaho, Washington, and California. She also enjoyed vacations to the New England area; Victoria, BC; and San Antonio. Janet grew and maintained lovely perennial flowerbeds at all of her residences. She enjoyed sharing her plants and providing tours of her garden. Cutting and arranging bouquets of flowers to share was a mainstay of Janet's.

In 1962-63, she and her three sons joined Wenzel for 11 months when he was activated with the 32nd National Guard Reserve to Fort Lewis in WA State.

Janet's strong belief in higher education helped influence her three surviving children to become first generation college graduates and her seven grandchildren have all earned undergraduate degrees.

Janet's last 17 months of life were bravely faced in partnership with her Mayo Clinic Hospice team. In her last days, Kaitlyn and Rochelle from Visiting Angels provided excellent assistance to Janet and much needed support to the family.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 29 at 1 p.m. at 102 West Grand Ave., Eau Claire, WI 54703. Visitation will be from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Facemasks will be required. Burial will be private at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Eau Claire.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in memory of Janet A. Zais to the Story Builder Campaign for the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library Expansion Fund to ECCF, 306 S. Barstow St. Suite 104, Eau Claire, WI 54701 or donate online at

Or donations may be made to: Father Joseph Walijewski Legacy Guild, Attn: Casa Hogar, PO Box 4004, La Crosse WI 54601.



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