Erma E. Schroeder

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Erma Elaine (Braunsdorf) Schroeder passed away on Oct. 11, 2018, at home. Erma was born Jan. 3, 1932, on a farm on the shores of Lake Michigan, just south of Sturgeon Bay, to Adeline and Ernest Braunsdorf. The oldest of three children, Erma was both a caretaker and very independent.

At age 13, Erma moved alone to Sturgeon Bay to attend high school, as there was no bus service to where she lived. After high school, Erma worked in Green Bay at Cohen’s Department Store and, later, at Naph-Sol Refining – a period in her life which provided many fond memories. It was during this time she met her future husband, James Schroeder. After Jim was drafted, he and Erma moved to El Paso, Texas, and were married in April 1954. They were married for 61 years. Jim and Erma planned on making their home in El Paso, but plans changed when Jim was called to Korea. Erma returned to Green Bay and continued her career at Standard Oil.

When Jim returned from Korea, he and Erma began a family in the upstairs apartment of a small house next to Jim’s family’s cheese factory in Frazer Corners, just south of Pulaski. In 1959, Erma and Jim moved their small family, now including two small boys, Jerry and Denny, to a farm just east of Gillett. The family grew here including three more children: Dawn, Diane and Randy. Erma’s independence presented itself again, raising five children while Jim worked seven days a week, hauling milk. As many women did in the 1970s, Erma returned to work, employed as a legal secretary in Gillett, first for attorney Leon Reimer, and later for attorneys Brown and Everson. Erma became known as the fastest typist in Gillett. Erma also became an active member of the Gillett community, teaching Sunday school at St. John’s Lutheran Church, joining Gillett Homemakers and later Gillett Woman’s Club, and bowling competitively with her team at the local American Legion bowling alley. Erma also enjoyed crossword puzzles and a good game of Scrabble, able to outscore almost any opponent.

Jim preceded Erma in death in 2015. Like Jim, Erma will be missed immensely by her family. Also preceding Erma in death were her parents, her mother- and father-in-law, Weimer and Marie Schroeder, sister Marlene Rabideau, in-laws Joan and Bob Krause and Joanne Schroeder and a baby daughter. Erma is survived by her brother Darrell (Sandy) Braunsdorf and brother-in-law Howard (Dawn) Schroeder. She is further survived by her children and grandchildren: Jerry (Gail) Schroeder; Denny (Mary) Schroeder – Kim, Eric and Alissa; Dawn (Ed) Giamarino – Ben and Matt; Diane (Jamie) Hubbard – Nick; and Randy Schroeder. Erma also is survived by several great-grandchildren: Grant and Cole Gruetzmacher; and Gwendalyn, Geanie and Lennon Schroeder and her step-great-grandson, Hendrix.

Friends and family may gather to honor Erma at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Main Street, Gillett. Visitation began Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 4-8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m., with Pastor Bill Kamke officiating. Visitation continues on Wednesday, Oct. 17, from noon until the funeral service at 2 p.m., with pastors Kent Wallace and William Kamke officiating. Erma will be laid to rest next to her husband in Wanderer’s Rest Cemetery in Gillett. Gruetzmacher Funeral Home, Suring, is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences can be expressed at

Erma’s family would like to thank those who provided her comfort: Ruby Hinkfuss from St. John’s Lutheran Church, Dr. James Jerzak and his staff at Bellin Family Medicine, and nurses Erin and Kristen from SouthernCare Hospice Services.