Geraldine Kortsch

Geraldine L. Kortsch was a compassionate woman who, even as a child, knew her passion was caring for others.

She realized that by becoming a nurse, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

“She always knew what she wanted to be,” her daughter Lucia Kortsch said. “She was very, very proud of nursing.”

She inspired two of her daughters to become nurses, and her younger sister was a nurse as well.

In addition, Mrs. Kortsch endowed a nursing scholarship for Native American students in Aberdeen, S.D.

Mrs. Kortsch, who was best known as Jeri, and her husband traveled in that area for a time, which prompted her to set up the fund more than a decade ago, her daughter said.

“She saw there was an extreme need there, and she tried to answer that need,” she said.

When people weren’t sure what to give Mrs. Kortsch for special occasions, they often donated to the scholarship fund, she added.

Mrs. Kortsch died of heart issues Friday, Nov. 1, at her Port Washington home. She was 79.

Mrs. Kortsch was born on Milwaukee’s east side on Dec. 3, 1939, the daughter of Herman and Marie Schmitt.

She attended Sts. Peter and Paul grade school and graduated from Messmer High School in 1957.

She graduated from St. Agnes School of Nursing in 1960 and worked at St. Joseph and the Veterans Administration hospitals in Milwaukee.

On Aug. 11, 1962, she married Robert Kortsch.

 “They had known each other since childhood,” their daughter said. “They grew up not far away from each other. They went to the same school.

“They were always together.”

The couple moved to Port Washington in 1965 when Mr. Kortsch opened a dental practice in the city.

Mrs. Kortsch worked at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Port, becoming a nursing supervisor there. She and her close friend Joan Anderson were the two supervisors there for many years, her daughter said.

Mrs. Kortsch retired when St. Alphonsus was acquired by St. Mary’s, her daughter said.

Mrs. Kortsch, she said, was funny and devoted to her charitable endeavors.

She loved her dogs — her most recent pet is a golden retriever — and was close not only to her immediate family but also her extended family.

She also loved to travel and meet people.

“She would get to know people wherever she went,” her daughter said, noting her mother didn’t let the language barrier stop her. “She had a way about her — when she went to Germany, she didn’t know much German but she somehow made friends there.”

The family traveled to Jamaica and Puerto Rico numerous times and visited New Mexico a lot. Once their children had grown, the Kortsches traveled to Europe, traversing the Romantic Road through Germany and falling in love with Paris, their daughter said.

Mrs. Kortsch didn’t just travel with family, she added, noting that she also traveled solo throughout Europe.

Mrs. Kortsch was a voracious reader who owned thousands of books and read constantly, her daughter said.

 “She was very intelligent,” she said.

Mrs. Kortsch is survived by her husband Robert of Port Washington; children Karen (Ron Fuchs) Kortsch of Lake Bluff, Ill., Mary (Scott) Thomas of Lakeville, Minn., Joseph (Kara Clayton) of San Antonio, Jenny (Rich) Schmidt of Middleton, Lucia (Paul Poehlman) Kortsch of Brown Deer, Lisa (Rob) Dunford of Fort Atkinson and Jessica Lundquist Kortsch of Winston-Salem, N.C.

 She is further survived by her grandchildren Erica, Bobby, Freddy, Joey, Jackson, Katie, Alex, Nathanial, Meghan, Anderson, Georgianna and Reily; and her sister Mary Jo Schmitt of Fond du Lac.

 She is also survived by her close friends Rhema Bonde and Sue Schoessow, who helped support her through her medical issues.

 A visitation for Mrs. Kortsch will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at Eernisse Funeral Home in Port Washington.

There will also be a visitation at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Milwaukee, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m. Father John Baumgardner will officiate.

During the funeral, the Wisconsin Nurses Honor Guard will offer the final call to duty.

Burial will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Port Washington at 1 p.m. Friday.

 In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the House of Peace, Capuchin Community Services, P.O. Box 05830, Milwaukee 53205-0830.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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