Died: Saturday, September 01, 2012
As a lifelong resident of Ortonville, Gwenn was well-known and made many friends, with a positive attitude and her winning smile. The Ortonville Community Emergency Fund food pantry director also played a vital role in helping those in need in the area.
She died peacefully at her home, surrounded by her family. Gwen Louise Koss was born Sept. 27, 1955 in Pontiac to Richard and Shirley (nee: Lange) Koss.
“She had an infectious smile, a trademark smile,” said Loraine Travis, volunteer coordinator for Genesys Hospice, where Koss was a volunteer. “The thing I loved most about her is she found good in every single person she met. Even people difficult to get along with, she would find something positive and that is rare these days. There will be a huge hole in the community and in the hearts of everyone who knew her.”
Koss became a volunteer at Genesys Hospice in 2008, and used her computer skills to assist the organization, which Travis recalls was almost a punishment, as Koss loved to talk with people.
In June 2010, Koss was hired as the Christian Services Coordinator at St. Anne Catholic Church and the OCEF food pantry director, “her true calling,” said Travis.
“She was so dedicated to helping others,” said Margaret Lee, OCEF treasurer. “She just went at it with more energy than you would think. We knew early on she had a health issue and she still found ways to help others. She put energy and dedication into making sure the client base was well-served.”
Koss battled cancer, but remained committed to putting others first, most recently directing her efforts to the OCEF school supplies drive, collecting backpacks and other items for children in the community. Her efforts helped result in OCEF getting everything the kids needed to get back to school.
Terry Gebauer, a good friend, noted that Gwen went above and beyond helping those in the community in need in any way she could, be it a hug, comforting word, or just the fact that she offered to listen.
“She always had the right thing to say, she just had a gift,” Gebauer said. “Beyond work, she was a genuine, giving person inside and out. She made me want to be a better person.”
Besides her parents, Gwen Koss is survived by three sisters, Teresa (Rick) DeWitt, Shirley (Patrick) Matthews and Carrie (John) Pilarski; one brother, Greg (Anne) Koss; 16 nieces and nephews, Ann, Cole, Rita, Robert, Lynndsy, Camelle, Matt, Brent, Tim, Mary, Bridget, Margaret, Jake, Kelly, Claire and Kate; one great-niece, Evelynn; and her beloved dog, Bailey. Preceded in death by one brother, Fred (Suzy) Koss.
She enjoyed bicycling, walking her dog and spending time with her nieces and nephews who adored her.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Sept. 5 at St. Anne Catholic Church, Ortonville. Fr. James Swiat and Fr. Masih Shafique officiated. Memorial donations may be made to the Care and Share Fund or Genesys Hospice. To send a private condolence, go to www.CoatsFuneralHome.com/Obituaries.