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Obituary: Florence E. DeDecker

March 17, 1924 – Nov. 27, 2023

Florence Emma DeDecker, 99, of Sturgeon Bay died Nov. 27, 2023, at Door County Memorial Hospital’s Skilled Nursing Facility. She was born March 17, 1924, in Namur to Harvey and Palmy (Chaudoir) Jeanquart. Her responsibilities on the family farm included feeding the chickens and tending to the Belgian work horses, King and Beaut.

On Oct. 10, 1944, she married Elmer J. DeDecker at St. Mary of the Snow Catholic Church in Namur (now known as the Belgian Heritage Center, a National Historical Landmark). Florence was a popular and admired server at Leathem Smith Lodge for many seasons. She and Elmer enjoyed many Saturday nights square dancing and polka dancing in the ballroom. She and Elmer were members of the Peninsula-Belgian American Club for 25 years. They organized several international travel exchanges to and from Belgium and other areas of Europe. 

As a saintly, devout Catholic, Florence lived with humility, selflessness, and love – always thinking of and doing for others. She was a member of the St. Anne’s Society, the Door County Historical Society, and volunteered often at Crossroads at Big Creek. She enjoyed baking, especially homemade bread, prune centers, and Belgian pies. Florence loved gardening (lining her garden with zinnias from sowed seed), sewing, needlework, quilting, and handmade crafts. 

Florence’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren loved spending time in her large vegetable garden, cutting flowers, baking sweets with her, and doing various crafts like sewing, crocheting, and embroidery. Grandma Florence (G.G.) taught her grandchildren how to play Solitaire, King’s Corners, and Rummy Royal. She made the best Christmas cookies, brandy balls, homemade bread for grilled cheese (her great grandchildren’s most favorite), pickles from her garden, rice pudding, Belgian waffles, donuts, and more.

Grandma Florence always demonstrated her love and care in so many ways, like bringing out a glass of lemonade to whoever was mowing her lawn, offering a treat when you were watching TV, and attending sporting events and musical performances. She was the Confirmation sponsor for four of her grandchildren and was a strong role model of the Catholic faith. She was the sweetest, gentlest soul and will be dearly missed by all who were blessed to know and love her. After a long and wonderful life, the Lord has welcomed Florence home.

Survivors include her daughter Kay (James) Abetya, Sturgeon Bay; daughter-in-law Paulette DeDecker, Mt. Horeb; 5 grandchildren, Bobette (Tim) Cross, Dylan Abeyta, Marielle (Eric) Solis, Gracee and Abram Abetya; 2 great-grandchildren, Ryann and Declan; a brother Dennis (Sharon) Jeanquart, Brillion; a brother-in-law Al Moore, Sturgeon Bay.

She was preceded in death by her husband, 2 sons, Ralph and Michael, 2 sisters, Dorraine (Ervin) Jadin, Bernadette Moore; other in-laws.

Funeral services will be 11 am Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, at Corpus Christi Church with burial at St. Joseph Cemetery. Friends may call at the Forbes Funeral Home on Friday, Dec. 1, from 3 to 6 pm and at the church on Saturday from 10 am until the time of service. A luncheon at Stone Harbor will immediately follow the mass.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Peninsula Belgian American Club or the Alzheimer’s Association.