Joyce P. Hildebrand, 73

Joyce P. Hildebrand (nee Ruffing), 73, of West Bend, passed away peacefully at the Kathy Hospice on Thursday, March 3, 2011. She had been residing with her daughter and son-in-law at their residence until a few days before her passing.

Joyce was born to Len and Evelyn (nee Reiter) Ruffing in 1937. She was born and raised in Port Washington. She shared a special closeness with her sister, Carol Noll. In Joyce’s words, "Everyone said we looked alike, even though we didn’t think so. Soon, we started calling ourselves twins born 22 months apart. Even though we weren’t always together when we shopped, we always seemed to make similar purchases." This special bond carries on. She was married at a very early age of 17. She married William Eisentraut on July 4, 1955, at St. Mary’s Church in Port Washington. They had two children, William and Dawn. In June 1963, she married Leonard Hildebrand.

Joyce was a homemaker and loved to embroider, knit, sew, crochet and read mystery novels. In 1962, she was employed as a CNA at St. Alphonsus Hospital. She had volunteered her services at St. Mary’s REP program. Several years ago, she loved to go to see the Country Western Stars in concert.

Joyce moved into the Riverbend Senior Village before her husband’s passing. She made several friendships in the complex including Deb, the manager who always made each and every one of her residence feel special.

Joyce endured many health issues over the years which impacted her lifestyle. She had a final courageous battle with lung cancer and kidney failure. The last couple of years she remained strong with her head held high and a smile on her face.

She is survived by her mother, Evelyn Ruffing of the Harbor Club Assisted Living; sister, Carol (Bob) Noll of Port Washington; sister-in-law, JoAnn Chase of Sheboygan Falls; brother-in-law, Jerry (Janice) Hildebrand of Sheboygan Falls; son, William (Sharon) Hildebrand of Tucson, Ariz.; daughter, Dawn (Mark) Puerling of West Bend; grandchildren, Brian (Emily) Puerling of Chicago and April (Paul) Truttschel of Appleton; and great-grandchildren, Jackson and Jaelyn.

Joyce is preceded in death by her father, Len Ruffing; husband, Leonard Hildebrand; brother-in-law, Don Chase; and grandchild, Adam Michael Puerling.

Joyce will always be remembered for the smiles she put on your face, the laughter she added to your life and her love for family and friends.

The funeral service will be held on Monday, March 7, at 2 p.m. at The Phillip Funeral Home Chapel, 1420 W. Paradise Drive, with the Rev. Cheryl Matusiak presiding. The visitation will be at the funeral home from noon until the time of the service. Entombment will take place at Washington County Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to American Cancer Society and Kathy Hospice are appreciated.

The Phillip Funeral Home of West Bend is assisting the family.

A special thank you to Dr. Larry and Darcy Gill, Cedar Community Hospice (especially Liz and Kathy), Dr. Omar Afzal, the staff at Kathy Hospice and dear friends Pam and Judy Rau.