Cover photo for Katherine (Katie) Carol Gingrass's Obituary
Katherine (Katie) Carol Gingrass Profile Photo

Katherine (Katie) Carol Gingrass

May 16, 1933 — November 6, 2023

Nashville, Tennessee

Katherine (Katie) Carol Gingrass

Katie was born on May 16, 1933, to Carl and Margaret Sundberg, in
Galesburg, Illinois and grew up in Mishawaka, IN with her younger
brother John. As a child Katie showed an early interest in reading and
books and always loved school. After graduation from Mishawaka High
School, Katie attended college at Michigan State University from 1951-
1955, where she was an active member and chapter president of her
beloved Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, where she met many of her life-long
friends. Following college, Katie went on to earn a master’s degree in
Speech Pathology and Language Development at the University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she met her first husband Ruedi Peter
Gingrass, MD. Katie began her career as an elementary school teacher
where she lovingly taught 2nd and 3rd grade and had a particular interest
in hearing and language impaired children. Katie and Ruedi began their
family in 1961 and ultimately adopted 5 children through Catholic
Charities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Katie remained a life-long advocate
for adoption and foster care. They raised their 5 children, David Carl,
Mary Katherine, Charles Peter, Sarah Margaret and Amy Colette Gingrass
in Wauwatosa Wisconsin. Katie was a devoted full-time mother in the
60’s and 70’s, while also staying engaged in local cultural, community
and political activities. She was active in the early city planning and
renovation of the Village of Wauwatosa and later served as an
Alderman in the city of Wauwatosa.


Katie was an early advocate for the Milwaukee Art Museum, starting
out in the 70s as a Docent and eventually serving as president of the
Friends of Art fundraising arm of the museum. She became familiar
with many local Wisconsin artists through her many years
volunteering and eventually chairing the Channel 10 Art Auction,
which was a major fundraising event for Wisconsin Public Television.
After meeting and interacting with so many local and regional artists,
Katie opened Gingrass Gallery in 1980, with her first storefront in
downtown Milwaukee, on North Milwaukee Street. The gallery later
moved to 241 North Broadway in the heart of the Third Ward. Katie
was one of the early pioneers who helped transform the former
warehouse district into the vibrant cultural and artistic place it is
today. Also, during the 1980’s and early 1990’s, Katie owned and
operated 2 additional Gingrass Gallery storefronts in Walnut Creek,
CA and Santa Fe, NM. Later in her career, Katie’s daughter Sarah
worked closely with her, especially in the corporate art side of the
gallery, helping grow the business into a major player in the local and
regional art world. Gingrass Gallery was a prominent and well-loved
fixture in the Milwaukee art scene for some 30 years, quietly closing
its doors in 2017. Katie was a staunch advocate and held a special
place in her heart for local Wisconsin artists and fine craftspeople.
She loved and promoted many different artists during her career and
appreciated many different art mediums.


Katie had many talents outside the art world as well. She was an avid
reader and a master gardener. She always had a beautiful garden
wherever she lived and found some of her greatest relaxation digging
in the dirt and dead-heading flowers. Katie generously loved her
family and friends and was loved and respected by many. She was
quick to share anything she had, particularly with those in need, often
putting others’ needs above her own. She had so many friends and
will be lovingly remembered for her kindness and generosity by
many! We will remember her love for art, music, flowers, sunsets,
lakes, the New York Times and CNN, Amaranth Bakery, butter, salt,
white wine (with ice) or a good old fashioned, but more than anything
in the world Katie loved her children and her grandchildren.
Katie was preceded in death by her second husband Charles W. Bray.
She and Charlie were married on February 14, 1999, and lived
happily on Milwaukee’s East Side for many years until his untimely
death in 2006. They spent many years together enjoying Milwaukee’s
vibrant cultural, culinary and art scene, also supporting many local
non-profits including the Johnson Foundation and Ten Chimneys
Foundation.


Katie is survived by her sons David Carl Gingrass (Napa, CA) and
Charles Peter Gingrass (Nashville, TN), and her daughters Mary
Katherine Gingrass (Nashville, TN) and Sarah Margaret Gingrass
(Wauwatosa, WI). Katie will be remembered as a devoted mother of
5, grandmother of 11: Rebecca Gingrass (St. Helena, CA), Vinessa
Gingrass (Fort Collins, CO), Tony Walls (St Louis, MO), Cameron
Gingrass (Wauwatosa, WI), Cara Walls (Milwaukee, WI), Alayah Walls
(Chicago, IL), Lt Colton Gingrass (Groton, CT), Katie Stark (NY, NY),
Daniel Stark (Nashville, TN), Eli Stark (Nashville, TN), Steven
Gingrass (Napa, CA), and great-grand-mother of 2: Mateo Moreno (St.
Helena, CA) and Zuri Blackburn (Ft Collins, CO). Katie leaves behind
many wonderful friends who will remember her quick wit and her
generous friendship. She passed away in her sleep on Monday
November 6. We can all rest peacefully knowing she is now reunited
with her youngest daughter Amy Colette for all of eternity. A formal
Celebration of Life will be held in Milwaukee in the May, celebrating
her 91st Birthday.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Katherine (Katie) Carol Gingrass, please visit our flower store.

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