OREGON—Josephine Marie Gregory was born on Feb. 24, 1923, in Phillips, Wis., and died on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, at home in Oregon, Wis., surrounded by her family.
Josephine was the daughter of Judge Felix August Kremer and Alice Marie (Lowe) Kremer. She graduated early from Phillips High School with the class of 1940 (second in her class at age 17, behind the superintendent’s son, a gentle rival), where she made her early lifelong friends, returning for and organizing class reunions for over 60 years. She followed her brother, John, to UW-Madison to study English literature and pursue her passion for books, poetry, and politics. She was active in the young Progressives, following in her father’s footsteps after he served as a Progressive in the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1937. Unable to continue her studies due to World War II, Jo completed secretarial school and worked for John Teeporten, Wisconsin Director of the Department of Vocational, Technical, and Adult Education. Jo made another set of lifelong friends during those years, including Betty Klusmann. Together they formed the Chat Club, a group that continued to meet for over 45 years. In 1953, along with Betty, Mary, and Margaret Klusmann, Jo moved to Lake Monona where they enjoyed boating, hosting social and political parties, and her dreamy pink Pontiac convertible.
Through her brother, Felix, Jo met Ivan Gregory, and they married in 1958. Jo then left state employment and moved to Oregon to raise her children. She volunteered and was active in many pursuits, including First Presbyterian Church, Eastern Star, the Madison Saddle Club, the Madison Charity Horse Show, 4-H, and as a Brownie leader. In 1972, Ivan designed and built the Stable Supper Club which he and Jo operated for five years. Jo did the bookkeeping during the day and the hostessing during the evening. There, they demonstrated the principles of hard work for their three growing children, who all had their first jobs at the Stable. Deep family bonds and friendships with employees and customers were created during the Stable years, serving Friday fish fry, Sunday brunch, and wedding parties for 350 guests.
In 1977, Jo went to work for Dane County. She was arraignment clerk for George Northrup, and when he became a judge, they were the first to work in the newly created Branch 14. Jo wrote the daily Looking Backward column for the Capital Times for over 20 years. She enjoyed researching Madison area people and events from microfiche newspaper editions from 10, 25, and 50 years past and got great pleasure from hearing how much those who were featured appreciated her efforts.
Retiring at age 72, Jo was able to devote more time to her church and community, serving as a Session Elder, secretary of Sienna Crest, president of Town and Country Women’s Club, and supporting the Friends of the Oregon Library, among many other interests. Jo delighted in the joy of gardening, the companionship of her dog, Duchess, watching the birds, nurturing her beloved grandchildren, coaching the Packers from her living room, and taking multiple trips to England and France. In retirement, every night was Friday night, and every day was Saturday. Annual trips to Lake Namakagon, east of Cable, Wis., began in the 1930’s at Jo’s family’s cottage where Lakewoods Resort is now located. They continued through this summer at Four Seasons Resort where Jo and her family maintained their tradition for the past 43 years. Jo loved fishing, first rowing, then operating runabouts, and finally piloting her own powder blue Lund to the same Namakagon hot spots in search of that next walleye.
Jo is survived by her children, Gail (Karen Ludvigsen) Gregory of Oregon, Dale Gregory of Monona and Jill (Terry) Arndt of Brooklyn; her grandchildren, Lindsay (Travis) Engelhart of Oregon and Ryan Arndt of Brooklyn; special niece, Diane (Robert) Jenkins; nieces, Kay Smith, Donna Rae Riley and Betty Minor; nephews, John M. Kremer III, Scott Kremer, Mark Kremer, Greg Gochnour, Mark Gochnour, David Gregory, Paul Gregory and Bill Gregory; and sisters-in-law, Dorothy Kremer, Ruth Gochnour and Roseann Gregory.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Ivan D. Gregory; and her brothers, John M. Kremer and Felix A. Kremer.
Funeral services will be held at FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 408 N. Bergamont Blvd., Oregon, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. Burial will be at Prairie Mound Cemetery. Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON OREGON FUNERAL AND CRMATION CARE, 1150 Park St., Oregon, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, and at the church from 9 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday.
Memorials may be directed to First Presbyterian Church, Oregon, Agrace HospiceCare, or to a charity of your choice in Jo’s name. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.