Josephine Gombar, age 89, passed away at Hospice House, Pleasant Prairie, WI, on August 14, due to complications from kidney cancer.
She was born September 15, 1930 in Somers, WI, daughter of the late Andrew P. and Anna (Sarinec) Gombar. Fondly known to friends and family as Jo, Vivian, AJ and Aunt Josie, she was the youngest of eight children. Josephine grew up on the family farm, planting, hoeing, weeding, picking apples, pears and plums, harvesting, and many other chores. She attended Hillcrest School and Washington Junior High, graduating from Mary D. Bradford High School in 1948. While a senior at Bradford, she worked part-time as an aide at St. Catherine’s Hospital. She subsequently worked in Chicago at St. Anne’s Hospital to earn money for nursing school.
Josephine attended St. Francis School of Nursing in LaCrosse, WI and she became class president. Her studies included work at Winnebago State Hospital. Upon completing the three-year program, she graduated with her RN on June 8, 1952, and embarked on a 55-year career in nursing. She was the second of three nurses in the family. Her first job as an RN was on the nursing staff at Kenosha Memorial Hospital from September 1952 to April 1954.
She moved to California in May 1954, and was hired by San Diego County General Hospital in June. She was assigned to the Orthopedic Ward as a staff nurse, and in 1956, was promoted to Head Nurse on Orthopedics. In July 1957, Josephine was appointed Supervising Nurse in the Emergency Department. She recalled her favorite work being a nine-year stint in ER.
Beginning in 1959, she had one year tour of duty as an Exchange Nurse at the Roskilde County Hospital near Copenhagen, Denmark, which included three months traveling and visiting relatives in Czechoslovakia.
Returning to California, she earned a Bachelors degree from San Diego State College—Nursing and was Director of Nursing for 13 years at Edgemoor Geriatric Hospital in Santee. A dedicated worker, at one point she attained an uninterrupted 16-year stretch without a sick day.
Josephine retired March 30, 1983 with nearly 29 years of nursing service for San Diego County, but retirement did not last long. After moving to Mountain Home, AR in 1985, she was back at work that October as an RN, now at Baxter County Regional Hospital.
Her Catholic faith was an integral part of her life and she belonged to St. Peter The Fisherman Catholic Church in Mountain Home. She served as Sacristan, was a lector, an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, sang in the choir and was part of the Morning Rosary group.
Upon returning to the Kenosha, WI area in 2010, she joined St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. She continued to utilize her angelic voice in the choir, while also participating in bake sales, serving as a Lector and as Pastoral Chairman, and belonging to the Rosary Society.
She had an excellent reputation for her cooking skills, including traditional Slovak baked goods such as kolach and kolachky, and had several closely guarded secret recipes, including apple pie and meatloaf.
She belonged to the Oblates of St. Benedict, and was a member of the Wisconsin Slovak Historical Society and the Slovak Catholic Sokol.
Josephine is survived by her sister, Helen Benuska (Kenosha) and brother, Jacob Gombar (Kenosha) as well as many beloved nieces, nephews and other family members.
In addition to her parents, Josephine was preceded in death by a son, David, and siblings Anna Kalnicky, Mary Gombar, John Gombar, Margaret Desris and Rose Norris; along with brothers-in-law, Sam Kalnicky, John Benuska, John Desris and Stan Norris; as well as sisters-in-law, Louise Gombar and Virginia Gombar.
Funeral services will be held at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, 5100 22nd Avenue, Kenosha, on August 22, 2020. Visitation will begin at 9:30am, with a rosary at 10:30am, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11am. Interment will be at St. George Cemetery, Kenosha.
In lieu of flowers, masses would be appreciated by the family.
Piasecki Funeral Home & Cremation Services
3720 39th Avenue 262-658-4101
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