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.Grace L. Exferd Hardtke-Milchner.

Collected and contributed by:  Bill Fonferek

. July 27 to July 31, 2013  .
.Green Bay Press-Gazette. 

Matie Belle Crawford, 94, of Town of Little River, passed away Friday, July 5, 2013 at Sharpe Care LTD, Oconto Falls. Matie was born March 2, 1919 in DePere to the late Patrick and Mary (Davis) FitzGerald.

She married Kenneth Crawford Sr. on May 25, 1945. Matie owned and operated Evergreen Farms with her husband Kenneth for over 50 years. Matie served her church as treasurer for over 40 years and was a long time Children's Sabbath School teacher. She was a foster parent for four children over the years. Matie was a member of Christ's Community Church of Seventh Day-Adventist, Lena.

Matie is survived by her husband Kenneth Crawford Sr., Little River; daughter, Vickie Guyette, Oconto; son, Ken (Jewell) Crawford Jr., Brookville, OH; sister-in-law, Florence FitzGerald, Chicago, IL; six grandchildren: Kelly (Jerry) Hill, Dr. Kerry (Lourdes) Crawford, Jessica Marshall, Jacob Marshall, Steven Aubry, Dan Aubry; seven great-grandchildren: Cameron, Celeste, Sienna, Soleil, Summer, Kayleigh and Sophia.

She was preceded in death by two brothers, Stephen and Raymond FitzGerald, two sisters, Jane Mucerino, Hazel Herwick and a great-grandson Jonathon Marshall.

The family will receive relatives and friends at the Christ's Community Church of Seventh-Day Adventist, 538 Harley St., Lena from 1 to 4 p.m., Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Funeral services will be conducted 4 p.m. Tuesday at the church with Pastor Rick Binford officiating.

The Gallagher Funeral Home, Oconto, is assisting the family. Online condolences may be expressed at

In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to the Christ's Community Church of Seventh-Day Adventist building fund.

Published in Oconto County Reporter on July 17, 2013
Funeral Home
Gallagher Funeral Home
217 Congress St Oconto, WI 54153
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Grace L. Hardtke-Milchner, 88, Oconto Falls, went home to be with her Lord and Saviour Thursday morning, July 25, 2013 with her family present. She was born January 11, 1925 in Oconto to Harry and Edna (Whiting) Exferd. Grace grew up in Oconto where she attended high school, graduating with honors with the class of 1943.

On June 26, 1943 she married Harold L. Hardtke at Grace Lutheran Church in Oconto Falls. Together the couple owned and operated the Hardtke family farm for many years where they raised their eight children and taught them Christian values of honesty, hard work and the importance of family. Grace was a long time member of Grace Lutheran Church in Oconto Falls where she served as treasurer for 34 years, was involved in all the Women of the Church activities including serving as president for three years. She also served on the church council, taught Sunday school, was active in stewardship efforts and volunteered her time on the funeral dinner committee. She also was a 4-H leader, Home Respite Care volunteer and practiced the gift of hospitality to all. "Nana", as she was lovingly known by all her grandchildren, will be fondly remembered for her strong Christian faith, unending devotion to her family and always being available to help anyone. After 55 years of married life, her husband Harold preceded her in death on August 25, 1998. On June 3, 2000 she married Carl Milchner and together they enjoyed nine years together until Carl's death on February 14, 2009.

Survivors are her eight children, Gloria (Lloyd) Barth, East Peoria, IL; Ken (Mary Tisch) Hardtke, Rhinelander; Judy (Norman "Bud") Block, Jackson, WI; Joyce Smies, Oostburg; Connie (Mark) Hohne, Oconto; Phyllis (Gary) Logan, Carol Hardtke and Joanne Hardtke, all of Milwaukee; 16 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Olga and Chris Deckert, Erich and Belva Milchner, all of Oconto Falls; Viola Hardtke, Green Bay; Ray Wentland, FL; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and many dear friends.

Besides her parents and husbands she was also preceded in death by two brothers, Norm (Lois) and Milton (Virginia) Exferd, one sister, Elizabeth "Liz" (Bill) Kane, one grandson, Ronald Block, son-in-law, Ronald Smies, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.

Visitation will be held 4-8pm Monday, July 29, 2013 at Jones Funeral Service in Oconto Falls. Visitation will continue at St. John's Lutheran Church in Gillett after 9am Tuesday, July 30, 2013 until time of service. Funeral services will be held 10:30am Tuesday at the church with Dr. W. H. Winkler officiating. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery, Oconto Falls.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, memorials may be made to Kingdom Come food pantry in Oconto Falls or the charity of one's choice .

Grace's family would like to thank Unity Hospice and all the home caregivers, especially Kim Holmes for the fine care they gave her during their time together.