Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Frances M. Fischbach

BROOKFIELD, Wis. - Frances M. Fischbach (nee Talaska) of Brookfield, passed away peacefully on July 11, 2021, at the age of 90, in the company of her loving family.

Fran is lovingly remembered and survived by her son, Michael, daughter-in-law, Ann, and grandsons, Christopher and Joseph; her daughter, Mary, son-in-law, Dick Johnson, and grandsons, Matthew and Bennett; her son, Paul, daughter-in-law, Teri, grandson, Michael, and granddaughter, Samantha; and her daughter, Margaret. She is further survived by her brother, Donald Talaska, and sister-in-law, Eva; by her cherished cousins, Kathleen Nezworski and Henry "Hank" Nezworski; dear friends, Helen Hintz and Bettie Braman; and by many special nephews, nieces, cousins, relatives and dear friends, too numerous to mention here.

Fran was preceded in death by the love of her life, husband, John E. "Jack" Fischbach; her parents, August J. and Frances J. (Nezworski) Talaska; best friends and nursing buddies, Gloria Marolt and Jeanne Pfeiffer-Ewens; beloved aunt, Mary Lindquist; and dear cousins, Barbara (Kenny) Russ and Mary Lou (Gene) Walding.

Born Aug. 30, 1930, in Ironwood, Michigan, Frances was quickly given the nickname "Babe," and those nearest and dearest to her called her "Babe" throughout her life.

Frances graduated from Luther L. Wright High School, in Ironwood, in 1948, where she developed an interest in nursing. She received her nursing diploma from Saint Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1951, and continued her nursing education at Loyola University, in Chicago (1952-1954); and at Marquette University, in Milwaukee (BSN 1956, MSN 1971).

Babe and Jack were married on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, 1956, in Ironwood. The day before her wedding, the bride was unfazed by reports of a record-breaking snowstorm on its way, as her mother paced the floors wondering if the groom and guests would arrive safely. Her father and uncles cleared the snow, and as she left for the church, she was smiling and laughing in her wedding dress and galoshes, warmly wrapped in a new coat, a gift from her groom. The 46 inches of snow that fell that weekend were but a minor inconvenience to the newlyweds as they started their married life together.

Fran worked as a nurse in Milwaukee and began her teaching career at Milwaukee Area Technical College, while raising her children. As an associate professor of nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Fran guided student nurses through their clinical rotations, teaching them to apply the foundations of nursing practice in a landscape of new and rapidly-changing technologies. She saw a need for a resource to help her students, so in her "spare time" at the dining room table, she authored the first nursing reference guide for diagnostic tests and procedures. "A Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests," in its 10 editions and translations into Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese, has been used by nursing students and health professionals for more than 40 years throughout the world to help patients in need.

Fran loved hosting holiday celebrations and dancing at weddings. She enjoyed family picnics in Milwaukee's county parks and hiking, camping and exploring many state and national parks. Her favorite travels included experiencing Hawaii's natural beauty and rich culture; showing her grandchildren the wonders of Alaska by cruise ship; taking in the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip and loud bells of a winning slot machine; touring the Romantic Road through Germany with Jack; and visiting Mary, Dick and Bennett in the Netherlands. She perfected the art of getting lost in a good book and had a natural talent for gardening and arranging flowers to brighten any space.

Frances had a lifelong relationship with Jesus and believed in the power of prayer always. She was compassionate, a great listener, with a sunny disposition and a smile for everyone she encountered. She also was known to enjoy a Coca Cola or Southern Comfort "on the rocks" from time to time.

A special thank you to Dr. Michael VonRueden, all the staff of Aurora Zilber Family Hospice and special caregivers Nancy Johnson, Donna Hart and Angie Martin. You made a difference in Fran's life.

Visitation will be held Saturday, July 24, at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church, 734 Glenview Avenue, in Wauwatosa, from 11 a.m. until a Mass of Christian Burial at 1 p.m.

Memorial donations are welcome to the Frances Talaska Fischbach Scholarship (by check made to North Central Technical Foundation, 1000 W. Campus Drive, Wausau, WI 54401 or at by indicating the scholarship name in the comment section) or to the American Cancer Society at