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Joyce C. Gorres

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December 25, 1925 • February 2, 2024

Joyce Catherine (Wenisch) Gorres, 98, of Willmar, Minnesota, died Friday, February 2, 2024, at Bethesda Grand in Willmar. A Rosary and sharing of memories will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Thursday, February 8, 2024, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Murdock, followed by visitation from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 a.m. Burial will be in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Cemetery in Murdock.

Joyce was born December 25, 1925, to Peter and Bertha (Wurmstein) Wenisch on the family farm north of Springfield. She was baptized and later confirmed at St. Raphael’s Catholic Church in Springfield. Joyce grew up on the family farm where at an early age she learned how to care for her family and helped with the chores on the farm. She attended country school until the 8th grade, as was normal at that time. At 13, Joyce started working in the summer for her board and room at $1/week for her aunt, Angie Wurmstein. She married Clifford June 23, 1943, and farmed near Springfield and Sanborn before moving north of Murdock in 1962. They had six sons: Richard, Ronald, Roger, Charles, Loren, and Randy.  After 49 years of farming, they retired and moved into Murdock 1992.

Her “off-the-farm” career included: head cook at a night club near Sanborn (seven years), Simmonds Produce as an egg candler in Kerkhoven (seven years), Molenaars Plastics (two years) and Northern States Supply (21 years) in Willmar (while also the head cook for the American Legion (11 years); a total of 38 continuous years. During this timeframe she raised chickens (one year being 1,400) on the Murdock farm for her family and many local families. She also successfully purchased and sold three houses, with the fourth house being the one they moved into in Murdock for their retirement years.

She spent her retirement years staying busy by making rugs from recycled materials for sale at craft shows (13 years) with some years totaling 100. She demonstrated her knitting skills by making hand-stitched quilts, baby blankets, aprons, and Christmas decorations; for gifts to her constantly expanding family and charities; with the last one sewn for a great-great grandchild in 2022 at the age of 96.

Her Catholic faith was a fundamental part of her life, and her practice of that faith was a constant reminder to her six  sons (all altar servers) and extended family, that the Catholic life was the only way to live. She went to Europe to the Shrine at Lourdes and the Vatican in 1983 (when the Holy Doors were opened). She introduced the Murdock Parish to the Catholic Aid Program, heading it for 16 years. She served on the Quilting and Mission group for 16 years, the Treasurer of the Sacred Heart Council of Catholic Women (four years each), and introducing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy after the Rosary in the early 2000’s. She received the Bishop’s Medal of Service in 1996, in appreciation for her commitment to the parish and community, active membership on the centennial planning committee, work on the mission group, commitment to the council of catholic women (CCW), generosity in taking care of parish needs, and service to the homebound as a eucharistic minister.

She is survived by five of her children: Ronald (and Joan) of Murdock, Roger (and Mary) of Overgaard, AZ, Charles (and Anne) of Cold Spring, Loren (and Linda) of Willmar, and Randy (and Paula) of New Hampton, IA; 18 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren. She was the last survivor of both the Gorres’ and Wenisch’ families of that (commonly called “the Greatest”) generation.

Joyce was preceded in death by her parents, husband Clifford, oldest son Richard, and siblings: Irvin and sister-in-law, Elizabeth, Vincent and sister-in-law, Irene, Clarence and sister-in-law Loretta, Helen Johnson, and brother-in-law Marvin, Eileen Sell and brother-in-law, Eugene.

Zniewski Funeral Home of Benson is assisting the family with the arrangements.

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