Earlene Ellen (Jornt) Girman was born to Eternal Life surrounded by her children in her home on March 26th at the age of 88. Her life-long commitment to improving the experience of young children and civic leadership have earned her the respect and admiration of many. She was often recognized throughout the community by former students by her bright hats and joyful smile.
Earlene was born August 28, 1934 at St. Catherine’s Hospital, where she shared that infant nursery with future husband, Mark Girman.
Earlene graduated from Bradford High School in 1952 where she was active in band and choir. In 2018, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Bradford Alumni Association. Earlene later returned to school as an adult student, earning her Bachelor’s degree from Carthage College and a Master’s degree from UW Whitewater.
She married her beloved Mark in 1956 at St. George Catholic Church where she was a member at the time of her passing. They chose to stay in Kenosha to raise three children surrounded by extended family and dear friends. For the past 30 years, Mark and Earlene split their time between Kenosha and their historical home in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, where they were close to their daughter Judith.
After high school, Earlene worked briefly as a kindergarten teacher. Her talent for working with children re-surfaced when she produced popular front-yard plays with the neighborhood children. In 1969, she started Merry Morning Nursery School with her son as her first student. With the help of dedicated teachers, she grew her business into one of Wisconsin’s most successful private educational childcare businesses, Children’s Land of Learning, Inc. In 1984, her husband, Mark, and eventually son, Stephen, joined her to help expand to 6 locations throughout Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee Counties. As a childcare administrator, Earlene maintained high expectations for her employees to provide quality care and education.
Earlene was proud to be only the second woman member of the Kenosha Rotary Club. She also served on the Kenosha Advisory Board at Carthage College and a member of the Catholic Woman’s Club, Kenosha Jr. Woman’s Club, Kenosha Literacy Council and Kenosha Symphony Board. In 2014, she was the proud recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award for her civic leadership and promotion of early literacy throughout the community. Earlene also volunteered her talents as a pianist at Brookside Care Center and the Anderson Arts Center.
Earlene is survived by her sisters; Juanita Becker (Robert, Deceased) and Rachel Zahn (William); daughter, Judith Kordus (Thomas); son, Stephen Girman (Susan); son-in-law, Steve Duffy; and five grandchildren, Paul Duffy, Neil Duffy and Glen Duffy, Lindsey Girman and Joseph Girman.
Earlene was preceded in death by her mother, Virginia (Wade) Jornt; father, Earl Jornt; sister Patricia Canfield; daughter, Ruth Duffy and husband Mark.
Service Date April 3, 2023
SERVICE LOCATION St. Elizabeth Catholic Church
Memorial services honoring Earlene’s life will be held on Monday, April 3, 2023.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church 4816-7th Avenue, Kenosha, WI.
Inurnment will be held privately.
A gathering of relatives and friends will be held on Sunday, April 2, 2023 from 12:30 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the Piasecki Funeral Home, 3720 39th Ave, Kenosha, WI.
In honor of her memory, memorials can be made to the Kenosha Literacy Council, https://www.kenoshalit.org/, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, https://www.stjude.org/, or Carthage College, https://www.carthage.edu/.