Ethel Brockman (Rooyakkers), 92, died peacefully on November 15, 2019. She was born in the Town of Lebanon, Waupaca County, on October 19, 1927 to Matthew and Catherine Gorman. After graduating high school, she worked as a medical technician at the Janesville Clinic, and later moved to Appleton where she worked as a secretary at the Boy Scout Office. She joined the Don Bosco Guild, which was an organization that provided social activities for young single Catholic adults in the area, and that is where she met Francis Rooyakkers. They were married on November 13, 1954. Ethel and Fran moved to Darboy and had three children, Ann, Steve and Ellen together. While Fran was a successful insurance agent for Northwestern Mutual Life, Ethel was the steadfast homemaker, and together they taught their children what it meant to be family. Ethel was also very involved in the Holy Angels/Spirit Parish serving many years on the St. Anne Society, the Parish Council, and the Building Committee. Even with the loss of Ann in 1974 and Fran in 1978, she held onto her faith and her joy for life.
After many years of courtship, she remarried Maurice (Maury) Brockman in May 1990. In 2000 she suffered another blow to her spirit when she lost her son Steve.
Ethel was the matriarch of her family while growing up, with her own family, and with her extended families throughout her entire life. Ethel was the first person anyone called when a message needed to be passed on to family and friends. She was also known to be the last person to leave a party. You could always find Ethel staying busy with household jobs, and her children dubbed her “The Irish Washer Woman.” Her ability to iron clothing rivaled the best dry cleaning service anywhere. She loved being outside, and especially enjoyed raking leaves in the fall.
Ethel is survived by her daughter Ellen (Tom) Walsh, grandsons Bill Walsh and Jack Walsh. She is further survived by her sister Irene Lowney, and her brother Mark (Loritta) Gorman, sisters-in-law Joan Gunther, Ceil McCormick, and Mary Jo Rooyakkers, along with many nieces and nephews. Her marriage to Maury also provided her with step children and grandchildren: Jeff (Pat) Brockman and their children Amy (Dave) Verstegen, Jenny (Kurt) Peeters, Tom (Angie) Brockman; Jon (Julie) Brockman and their children Sara (Pete) Litersky, Matt (Kayla) Brockman, Luke (Holly) Brockman; Jean (Kim) Hetherington and their children Craig (Corey) Hetherington, Laura (Dave) McGuire; and Julie (Mike) Peerenboom and their children Paige Peerenboom, Chet Peerenboom. Ethel is also survived by 25 step great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents Matthew and Catherine Gorman, first husband Fran, daughter Ann, son Steve, brother Clair, father and mother-in-law George and Cecilia Rooyakkers, second husband Maury, brothers-in-law Warren Lowney, Peter Rooyakkers, Henry Rooyakkers, Anthony Rooyakkers, Everett Rooyakkers, Paul Rooyakkers, George Rooyakkers, Leo Rooyakkers, Richard Van Lanen, Carl Ulmen, Ray Bongers, and Ray McCormick ; sisters-in-law JoAnn Rooyakkers, Helen Rooyakkers, Mary VanLanen, Cora Ulmen, Therese Bongers, Marge Rooyakkers, Audrey Rooyakkers, and Bernadette Rooyakkers.
Funeral Services will be held at 12:00 noon on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at Holy Spirt Church – DARBOY LOCATION, W2806 Cty Rd KK. Visitation will be at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass. For online condolences, please visit www.verkuilenfh.com.
The family would like to express their sincere gratitude to the entire staff at Willow Lane Assisted Living not only for the outstanding care and compassion they gave to Ethel, but for loving her like family.
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