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Gertrude Matilda (Padavich) Sylvester, 95, passed tranquilly with loved ones at her side at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg, WI on Monday, June 27, 2022.
Born September 12, 1926 in Aliquippa, PA to John and Susan (Sehee) Padavich, Gertrude was the youngest of four after Toni, Mitzie, and Joe. Gertie loved growing up with sisters and lifelong best friend, Anka. Self-described as “spoiled rotten,” Gertie fondly remembers being the favorite. She received her sacraments at St. Titus Catholic Church and graduated from Aliquippa High School in 1944. A natural jitterbug, Gertie and her sisters loved to go dancing, where on one occasion, she met her soulmate, Paul William Sylvester. Unimpressed by the hype over some Italian back from WWII, Gertie questioned with her trademark sass, “Who is this Paul Sylvester, anyway?” A voice behind her replied, and over five years of dating, Paul won his Duchess’s heart with poetry and song. They married on June 3, 1950 and welcomed their first, William John “Bill”, a year later. In 1954, they were blessed with twins, first Susan Lynn, then Paul William, Jr. Despite the double-trouble, Mom kept a clean house and loved raising her children, who she felt were her greatest achievement. All three graduated college and found success in their careers. Susan and Paul Jr. became leaders in their fields of environmental protection and medical research, while Bill excelled at sales, taking after his father. Paul Sr.’s sales career took the family all over the Midwest. They lived in four states, their favorite being West Bloomfield, MI, before settling in Fond du Lac, WI.
For 40 years, the Sylvesters were pillars in the Fond du Lac community. Gert volunteered at the St. Agnes Hospital gift shop for two decades and was active at St. Patrick’s (later Holy Family). Always dressed to the nines, Gert was a regular at Options Salon and fashionable hats her signature accessory. She was also a devoted supporter of Paul’s ventures, Sterling Custom Homes and the Maturity Times. They enjoyed concerts at Buttermilk Creek Park near their home on Ellen Lane, as well as visits with dear neighbors, the Yeagers. Best known for her baking, especially Christmas cookies like the family pizzelle, Gert’s lemon bar recipe was once published in the FdL Reporter. Christmas also brought dinner and presents before midnight mass, but all visits to Granny and Grampy’s featured Uno marathons, backscratches, and handwashing dishes. An active grandparent, Granny was so proud of her grandchildren’s accomplishments: all with advanced degrees, three married, and the oldest bringing great-grandchildren. She was also a beloved step-grandparent.
After Paul’s passing, Gert relocated to Stoughton, WI in 2014 to live with her daughter, son-in-law, and their dogs. There, she dazzled at Country Club Bridge and St. Ann’s. Recent highlights were her surprise 90th and 95th birthday parties. In 2019, she became a founding resident of Skaalen Heights and starred in their commercial. Gert will always be remembered for her saucy personality, timeless beauty, and fierce love of family. A blessing to so many, her legacy persists in all of us.
Gertrude was preceded by in death by her husband; son, Bill and his wife, Mary; parents; siblings: Antionette “Toni” (Fred) Ringer, Mary “Mitzie” (Pete) Snyder, Joseph (Eva) Padavich; nephews: Freddie Jr. and Bob.; and best friend, Ann (Marovich) Rossi. She lives on through her children: Susan (Lee Nobiensky) and Dr. Paul (Dr. Karen Briski) Sylvester; grandchildren: Bill (Lisa Martin) and Angela (Chris Smith) Sylvester, Michelle “Mikki” Heckman, and Kaitlin (Timmy Mohr) and Margrethe “Maggie” Sylvester; step-grandsons: Sam (Kilee) and Max Nobiensky; three great-grandchildren and one step-great-grandchild; beloved nieces, Mary Jo and Carolyn; and many more special friends and extended family.
We would like to thank Dr. Nilam Raval, Skaalen Heights, and Agrace Hospice for their incredible care, as well as Father Randy and Rita Walker for their spiritual support. Special thanks to Dale Nobiensky, Marla Frey, and all of Susan’s Ya-Yas, who have become Gert’s honorary daughters.
Services will be held at St. Ann’s Catholic Church on Friday, July 1, 2022: 9:30am Visitation, 10:30am Program, 11am Mass. Please send flowers and memorials to St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Stoughton, WI.
Please share your memories of Gert by posting on her Tribute Wall.
Cress Funeral Service
206 W. Prospect Street, PO Box 231, Stoughton
Friday, July 1, 2022
9:30 - 10:30am (Central time)
Friday, July 1, 2022
Starts at 10:30am (Central time)
Friday, July 1, 2022
Starts at 11:00am (Central time)
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