Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Merrie Gabrielle (Bergquist) Giannunzio

OSHKOSH, Wis. - Our beloved mother, Merrie Gabrielle (Bergquist) Giannunzio, 78, passed away after a 13-year battle with salivary cancer. She went with the Lord on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, at home, surrounded by her children, Jamie, Bree and Ian; son-in-law, Beau .; and grandchildren, Isabella, Mckenzie, Jordan and Kolten. Also present were Nancy Lanctoe and Gout Deng. She was held, comforted, cared for until the very end. Loved into eternity by her family.

Merrie was born in Ironwood, Michigan, on Feb. 26, 1945, to the late George Wilhelm and Gertrude F. (Trier) Bergquist. She was their only daughter, and seventh of eight children.

Merrie is survived by her children, Jamie Giannunzio (Nancy Lanctoe) Stacy Giannunzio, Bree Hodgen (Beau Hodgen) and Ian Giannunzio; her grandchildren, Jasmyn (son, Jarrett), Jayde, James (Allie), Jordan Giannunzio. Mckenzie Lang, and Isabella and Kolten Hodgen; brothers, Nick, Jodi, and John; sisters-in-law, Sonia, Judy, Carole and Judy; plus many wonderful nieces and nephews.

Besides her parents, Merrie was preceded in death by four brothers, G.I., Chris, Robert and Karl; sisters-in-law, Joanne and Roberta; plus, her nephews, J.R and A. Chris Bergquist.

Merrie, loved spending time with family and friends. She was outgoing and lit the room up when she walked in with her bright smile, positive energy, and unique style. She was endless fun, with her witty comments and hilarious actions. She was charming and easy to be drawn to, a friend to everyone.

Her career started after high school, at 19, when she hopped on a bus, alone, and headed to Milwaukee to earn her cosmetology degree. She loved the city, and worked in Milwaukee for the first part of her early 20s. But life called her back home, and she returned to Ironwood to open her own shop, The County Clipper.

She was a part of the Area Affiliate 95 of Michigan Hairdressers and Cosmetology Association. Her main role was publicity chairman. They held demonstration and training seminars. At Gogebic Community College, they held a Cut-a-Thon benefit for local charities, such as the Gogebic County Community Mental Health Center. Their group also joined a national association in sponsoring a "Stylathon" which proceeds went to Saint Jude Children's Home and St. Jude Children's Hospital.

She loved her craft, and she was an exceptional hair stylist. Throughout her career, she continued to keep up to date on the latest hair trends by attending hair shows.

Truly a talented beautician, she had many regular clients, that became familiar friends. She was an excellent boss and lead by example. Merrie was an extremely hard worker and took great pride in her work.

While in Ironwood, she was involved in the Jaycettes, a community-based club, in which she was an active member of the community, helping alongside some her brothers and sisters-in-law. As a business owner, she enjoyed mingling at Business After 5 events. She loved talking and sharing time with her fellow business owners and co-workers.

Later in her 60s she started a new adventure and moved to Oshkosh to be by her two daughters, son, son-in-law, and other grandchildren.

She continued to be a hairstylist at her and Stacy's salon, Jacindas, where even though she knew no one, built a clientele. Sadly, as the business was thriving, Merrie got cancer and was unable to work during treatment.

She retired from salon ownership, but continued, when she was well enough, to do family and friends hair out of her home, all the way up to 78 years old.

Her children, grandchildren, and son-in-law, were the loves of her life. She did anything and everything for her family, sacrificing to care for her four children as a single mother to helping care for her grandchildren. Plus, she loved her three cats, Gabby, George and Greyson.

Throughout her children's lives, she made every birthday and Christmas incredibly special. She loved Halloween, making homemade costumes, dressing up, going out, a tradition her and her daughter Bree continued for many years. At various times, she did do wood burning work and sewing projects, knitting beautiful sweaters. She was always an active swimmer. She enjoyed music, dancing, playing tennis, trying new things like karate and yoga. She was a lifelong learner.

Her other passions included playing in dart leagues on various teams, a few teams included playing with her daughter, Bree. They also played in cribbage tournaments together.

In her later years, she learned to antique paint furniture she gifted. She also antique painted her daughter's kitchen cabinets. She was a master craftsman around her home, putting in her own flooring, painting almost every room, fixing whatever she could, and she started painting the outside of her house as well. When she felt OK or was in remission, she was a worker bee, still helping her children with their house projects or doing their hair.

She enjoyed reading, doing crossword puzzles, going to the movies with her son, Ian. She loved watching the Green Bay Packers play, with the whole family, especially her son-in-law, Beau, who got as excited as she did on game day.

She still cooked for her family, even though she could no longer eat solid foods. She could sit, listen and talk to her grandchildren for hours, they all made her so proud.

Merrie, our mother had an amazing personality, an optimistic view on life, an open heart, and open door. She helped whenever she could. She was an independent spirit, who loved life, even though it gave her many difficult hurdles. She was a fighter in her battle with cancer, and did it with a positive attitude and with hope.

She wanted to live forever, to be with her family, but her body said no more. We feel she was cheated by this disease, deprived of a proper retirement, and suffered unimaginable pain during her cancer treatments. However, we are eternally grateful for the length of time she lived, for the lessons she taught us, for being the absolute greatest of the greats, when it comes to being a mother. We were beyond blessed to have had her as our family's leader and for loving us so much, as we loved and continue to love her.

She was strong, the most beautiful soul, inside and out. God took our angel, sooner than we wanted, but he gained a one-of-a-kind spirit in heaven. Our mother is always home to us, no matter where she is, we are with her, always. She will be missed every second of every day. The world is less bright, and our hearts are forever changed.

Funeral services will be held at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 9 a.m., with visitation before beginning at 8 a.m. Burial to follow the service at Riverside Cemetery in Ironwood.

There will be a celebration of life that afternoon starting at 2 p.m., with food and beverages, at the Iron County Memorial Building in Hurley. Please join us for any parts of this day, as we honor our cherished mother, Merrie.

All of the church flowers have been generously gifted, by Merrie's wonderful niece, Jodi - thank you. She has picked out beautiful arrangements. Please no other flowers needed - thank you.

Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, Michigan, is assisting the family with arrangements. To send online condolences or to share a memory, please go to