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Obituary for Florence Gister

Florence Gister (née: Kochanski), aged 90, passed away in her sleep at Parkview Gardens Senior Living Community on March 10, 2023.

Florence was born in Racine, Wis., on July 27, 1932, to Mason and Anna (née: Oszczepenski) Kochanski. She met her forever love, Martin Gister, during one of her weekly bowling league sessions at Duke’s Club in Racine and they were married on Sept. 9, 1957. Soon after, the two started a family of a daughter, Claudia, and two sons, Martin Jr., and Philip, in the house they built together on Kentucky Street in Racine.

Florence Gister
Florence Gister

Florence graduated from St. Catherine’s High School in 1950 and held many jobs before retiring to enjoy her golden years with her beloved husband and family. She started her professional life at Wick’s Camera Shop in Racine but went on to work for Qualheim Incorporated, O&H Bakery, and the Bank of Elmwood. A woman of faith and great humility, Florence was forever grateful for the community around her and volunteered much of her time, talent, and resources to several local causes and organizations. 

Throughout her life, Florence was most known for her golden voice, which she often shared during mass at St. Lucy Catholic Church. If she wasn’t singing, she was almost assuredly sewing, whether it was pajamas for the grandkids, quilts for newlyweds, or clothing for the local women’s shelter. Community was deeply important to Florence, especially the community she found in Racine. While she loved to travel and visit far-off places, she was always happiest at home.

Florence is survived by her daughter, Claudia McDermott; son, Martin (Beth) Gister, Jr.; grandchildren, James Cameron (Alisha) Macintosh III, Adam, Collin, and Evan Macintosh, Michael, Andrew, and Ryan Gister; great-grandchildren, Rhoda, Lev, and Reveille Macintosh; several nieces and nephews; the St. Lucy’s Parish community, and many beloved friends and neighbors. She is preceded in death by both her parents; her siblings, Rose Janiak and Robert Kochanski; son, Philip Gister; and husband, Martin Gister.

The family of Florence Gister wishes to extend special thanks to Leslie Bacus, Walinda Riley, and the entire staff at Parkview Gardens Memory Care for the comfort, patience and support they provided in Florence’s final months.


A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Lucy Catholic Church (3101 Drexel Avenue) on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at 5 p.m. A reception will follow. Visitation will be in the church from 3 p.m. until the time of Mass. Private burial will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials by check to St. Lucy’s Parish Choir at 3101 Drexel Ave., Racine, WI 53403.

Obituary and photo courtesy of Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home.

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