Joan K. Schmidt



Joan K. Schmidt, age 86, of Thorp, peacefully passed away at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, on June 20, 2024, leaving behind a legacy filled with love, laughter, and an impressive number of hand-written letters.  Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3, 2024 at St. Bernard-St. Hedwig Catholic Church in Thorp, with Rev. Emmanuel Famiyeh officiating. Visitation will be held at the church on Wednesday from 9 a.m. until time of service.

Joan Kathleen Gutowski was born on April 21, 1938 in Stanley, to Charlie J. and  Bernice E. (Szczech) Gutowski.  Joan, who married her sweetheart Clifford “Cliffy” Schmidt on June 1, 1957 at Old St. Hedwig Catholic Church in Thorp, knew how to balance a full life. Together, they raised four wonderful children: Jim, Kay, Dennis, and Roger, and became the doting grandparents to numerous grandkids who will always remember her fondly.

Joan started high school in Thorp, and then transferred to and graduated from Stanley High School. After getting married and having children, she attended school in Stevens Point for a full year to fulfill her dream of becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Joan’s nursing career at Stanley Hospital spanned longer than most doctors’ tenures, and she was a familiar, comforting face for countless patients. When she wasn’t in the hospital, she was on the family farm, where she and Cliffy worked side by side, proving that love and teamwork make the dream work.

She had a creative side, too. Her pottery and ceramics were as much a staple in her home as her famous Rice Krispies treats, chocolate chip cookies, and fresh strawberry jam. Joan’s quilting skills produced blankets that wrapped many in warmth and love, much like her generous spirit.

A woman of many talents, Joan had an uncanny ability to always have pocket Aces when playing cards, a skill she often showcased during family game nights. Her passion for kids shone through in her volunteer work at local schools, the city of Thorp, and her church, where her kindness touched many lives.

Joan’s friends and family were never far from her thoughts, and she was known for her extensive card-sending list, bringing smiles and warmth to many who needed it. Her letters, always signed “Just Us,” were a cherished part of her legacy.

Her children and grandchildren have a treasure trove of memories: summer swimming and ice cream cone trips to Rock Dam, catching fireflies, winter sledding adventures, and spontaneous bridge-fishing trips at local creeks with Disney-themed mini-fishing poles. These outings often culminated in a delicious fish-fry prepared by Joan, demonstrating her knack for turning simple moments into cherished traditions.

Joan lived a life rich in love, laughter, and an unwavering commitment to those she cared about. Her thoughtful nature, culinary delights, and heartwarming blankets will be remembered and cherished by all who were lucky enough to know her. As we say goodbye, we find comfort in knowing that she’s now holding pocket Aces at the great card table in the sky.

She is survived by her spouse, Cliffy Schmidt; children: Jim (Kathy) Schmidt, Kay Schmidt, Dennis Schmidt; 10 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; 3 great-great-grandchildren; nieces, nephews, godchildren, other relatives, and friends.

Joan was preceded in death by her parents, one brother, her daughter Karen Schmidt, and son Roger Schmidt.

In lieu of gifts or flowers you may have a tree planted in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.

Condolences may be mailed directly to Cliffy Schmidt or be expressed online at

Thorp Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.