Skip Navigation

Associate Obituaries


Associate Vera Olson

Vera L. Olson, 85, of Union Grove, WI, passed away peacefully surrounded by the warmth and love of her family on November 16, 2023, at her home in Union Grove. Vera was a beacon of love and devotion as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Born on February 12, 1938, in Riverside, CA, to parents William A. Allman and Vera M. Penrod. In her earlier years after moving to Wisconsin, Vera worked as a transcriptionist at the State Capitol in Madison. Later, she worked at Southern Wisconsin Center in Union Grove, starting as a receptionist and eventually rising to the role of an aide. Simultaneously, Vera extended her caring nature to the community, volunteering as an EMT on the Union Grove Fire Squad. Her days were filled with helping people, and her nights were dedicated to saving lives—a testament to her unwavering dedication to helping others.  She ministered at one of the Racine Dominican Mission Partners, the Senior Companion Program (Racine) as a senior visitor.  She also volunteered at the Veterans Home in Elm Gove, and at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. 

Upon retiring, Vera embarked on a journey to explore the world, visiting various countries and embracing her passion for life. She continued to dedicate her time to various volunteer initiatives, with one of her most cherished commitments spanning an impressive 23 years as a Racine Dominican Associate. Vera was a very talented seamstress, making beautiful clothes for her children and grandchildren. Her kitchen, always crowded with food and family, brought joy and laughter to the holidays, with Christmas holding a very special place in her heart.

Vera's legacy is one of love, warmth, and selflessness. She leaves behind a family and community touched by her caring spirit and a lifetime of cherished memories.


Associate Janet Payne (1938-2022)

Janet L. Payne passed away surrounded by her loving family on Monday, July 4, 2022.

Janet was a child advocate who strongly believed in the importance of volunteerism, something that she modeled her life after, and had the ability to see the good in everyone. Janet devoted her life to social services and retired from Racine County Human Services as the Coordinator of Services to Children, Youth and Families after nearly 30 years of service. Other notable career work include her roles as the Juvenile Detention Center Director, United Way grant-writer and Bethany Apartments Interim Director.

Janet co-created the Community Intervention Program in conjunction with the Racine Police Department providing mediation services to the community for nearly 10 years. Throughout her life, she enjoyed volunteering as a teacher/mentor for many organizations, including St. Mary’s School, Wayman Church and Fine Arts School. She loved working with children and youth. Recently, the Racine Dominicans at Siena Center acknowledged Janet for her 15 years as an Associate. She was very proud of her Associate role and truly enjoyed her work and her many friends at Siena Center. Janet was also a long-standing member of the Siena Center Choir.

She enjoyed music, reading, nature, attending her grandchildren’s activities and caring for all. Above all, she was a loving and devoted wife, mom, grandma and great-grandma.


Associate Colleen Catherine Gavahan (1937-2022)

Colleen Gavahan, a 16-year Racine Dominican Associate, was born on February 11, 1937 in Racine, WI. She passed away on February 2, 2022 in Little Rock, Arkansas.  She made her Initial Commitment as a Racine Dominican Associate on 6/26/2004 and Enduring Commitment on 6/24/2006.  Her sponsors were Therese Van Thull, OP and Regina Williams, OP+.  Because of her great love for Jesus and other people, Colleen was passionate about matters of social justice. She advocated for civil rights and racial integration and volunteered with Prolifers for Survival Peace Movement, Pax Christi, ABBA House, and the Catholic Prison Ministry. She lived these passions sacrificially by opening her home to single mothers, missionaries and people of all races and nationalities. 

She is survived by her sons: Mike, Patrick and Paul, and daughters: Anne, Amy and Jody, 8 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.  Colleen was preceded in death by her parents, brother, sister, former husband and son.




Janice Burroughs, a 15 year Dominican Associate, died peacefully on August 25, 2021 with her husband by her side after a courageous battle with strokes sustained over the past two and a half years.

Janice was born on May 17, 1950 in Nashville, Tennessee to Russell and Annie Smith. She graduated from Goodlettsville High School and attended Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), where she met her husband, Michael K. Burroughs. Later in life, Janice returned to school and earned two master’s degrees and a PhD in theology. She was a beloved teacher in the Parkway School District from which she retired in 2010 after 20 years. She was passionate about her family, her faith and education.

When she wasn’t spending time with her family, especially her beloved grandchildren, and many friends, Janice loved reminiscing about her time as an Army wife living in Nuremburg, Germany or her studies at Oxford University. She loved traveling to Europe with her husband, Michael, and spending time on the Florida coast and in Door County, Wisconsin. Her favorite pastime was simply being with her husband to whom she was married for 51 years.

Janice is survived by her husband, Michael, her sons, Michael Jr. and John, her grandchildren, Nicholas, Madeleine and Bryce, and her brother, Steven Smith.



Janet A. “Jan” Jedlicka, a 30-year Racine Dominican Associate, was born February 6, 1947 in Elgin, IL, and died November 17, 2020 at Horizon Lawlis Family Hospice in Mequon, WI.  Jan is survived by Jim - her husband of 49 years, their two sons, and four grandchildren.

Degreed in Education from Western Illinois University, Jan was a lifelong learner, educator, organizer and justice promoter.  She made her commitment as a Racine Dominican associate on March 3, 1990.  She was an avid volunteer in Racine Dominican sponsored ministries, a gifted preacher, a generous and passionate seeker of truth and justice for the marginalized.  Just a few of her ministries included Janes School ESL teacher, HOPES Center of Racine, Racine Hospitality Center, Siena Retreat Center, and Preacher at Siena Center and at Sacred Journeys Spiritual Community.  A Remembering Service in her honor was held virtually by the Racine Dominican Associates & Sisters on November 30, 2020.