Iris L. Guelker, age 87, of Janesville died on Monday, December 16, 2019 at her home. She was born on November 22, 1932 in Green Bay, WI to Raymond C. and Irene (Hill) Breth.
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She graduated from Green Bay West High School and attended UW-Green Bay. She worked for the Green Bay and Madison libraries before the births of her sons. She served as the Pastor/Convener of the Rock County Jail Chaplaincy for over 45 years and was gratefully transitioning leadership to her fellow chaplains who will continue this work. Later in life, Iris was a licensed Pastor of the Assemblies of God International Fellowship. She was very active in the ecumenical religious world. She was Past President of Mt. Zion United Methodist Women, Past President of Janesville Church Women United, member of the Ruth Circle of Mt. Zion United Methodist Women, past board member of Community Action Program, supportive member of the Salvation Army and past member of the former Janesville NAACP chapter. She enjoyed leading the Forum Discussion class at Mt. Zion U.M. Church and chairing the “White Breakfast of Lent” annually.
Iris enjoyed sharing the faith and good fellowship with all the people she met. She received the Martin Luther King YWCA Peace Award, the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in 1989 and the Sheriff’s Citizen’s Award. In 1989, Iris also received the YWCA Humanitarian and Religious Award. She said, “I am humbled in receiving this Award for my labor of love. On this April day, we think about planting our gardens. I think of planting the Word of God to those I meet in the jail and in the community. How great God’s gardens grow.”
She is survived by her sons Jay (Stacey) Guelker of Waunakee, WI and Eric (Theresa) Guelker and grandchildren Rachel Marie, Jonah Marshall and Martha Anne of Sun Prairie, WI. She is also survived by special children Benjamin and Naomi Allen, sisters-in-law Fuji Kay Breth of Irving, TX and Florence (Jim) McMahon of Monona, WI. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, Marty, her parents, her brothers Richard and Herbert, and her sisters Gloria, Aileen, Ramona and Helen. Memorials may be made to the Rock County Jail Chaplaincy Committee, UWW Rock County Foundation, the American Bible Society or any charity of your choice. Her family especially thanks Tracy, the home health nurse whose skillful and loving care allowed Marty and Iris to stay at home. We are forever grateful.
The celebration of the completed life of Iris L. Guelker will be held at 11:30 am on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at the Whitcomb-Lynch Funeral Home. A visitation will be held on Saturday from 10:00am until 11:30am at the funeral home with a luncheon following the service.
Iris donated her body to the University of Wisconsin for medical study. She believed that education was a special gift. Shalom my friends!