Mary Wawrzyniak, age 90 of Winsted, formerly of Silver Lake, Minn., died Sunday, July 5, 1998 at Hutchinson Community Hospital.
Mary was born April 27, 1908 at Hale Township, north of Silver Lake, the daughter of Stanley and Ann (Waldoch) Grzeskowiak. She received her education in District 80 and St. Adalbert's Catholic School, Silver Lake.
On May 7, 1923 she was married to Peter Wawrzyniak at St. Adalbert's Catholic Church by the Rev. A. Zalewski.
She and her husband farmed four miles east of Silver Lake until 1964, when they moved to town. During her married years, Mary was a 'real' farm woman, milking cows, shocking grain, hauling hay, husking corn, raising chickens, ducks, pigs, every heifer calf, and maintaining large vegetable and flower gardens.
After the death of her husband in 1967, Mary took driver's training and obtained her driver's license. She would then act as a chauffeur for her friends, taking them to church, meetings, doctor, or shopping and eating out.
Her hobbies included sewing quilts, pillows, Barbie, Ken, and other doll clothes, gardening, flowers, and weeding the church cemetery. She enjoyed any work gatherings, such as butchering ducks and chickens, making kraut and canning, and also enjoyed hosting feather stripping bees.
Mary cooked for many weddings and banquets, peeling the potatoes, cooking fresh chicken and beef, and making the dressing by the washtubs.
Mary enjoyed going weekly to the hairdresser and twice daily to the local eating places, where her usual, "Mary's Special" was known to all. She also enjoyed talking Polish, believing the last few years that everyone in the world would understand it.
Her second home was the '64 Chev, that made daily trips to the compost site with all the weeds she had gathered that day. Mary believed in saving everything saying, "Don't throw it away - someone might need it." She also spent time cleaning the litter from the streets.
Mary was a life-long member of St. Adalbert's Church, belonging to the Holy Family Rosary Society for 75 years, and collecting dues as a member of the Ladies Aid/CCW for 36 years.
After moving to town in 1964, Mary attended all church funerals, daily Mass, and meetings as long as she was able. She also volunteered to help serve funeral lunches, clean the church, etc.
Mary was also a member of American Legion Auxiliary 141 for 33 years. She was rehabilitation chairman from 1969-1985, sewing many items such as lap robes and laundry bags for V.A. hospitals.
In August, 1997 Mary moved to St. Mary's Care Center in Winsted. She especially enjoyed her 90th birthday party in April, with dancing and many family and friends attending.
Mary had many nicknames, including "Taxi," "Weed," and "Little Grandma." Her favorite saying was "Hard work didn't hurt me. I don't have a pain in my body. I sure thank the Lord for that."
Mary is survived by her son Louis and wife Agnes of Belle Plaine/Rush City; her daughter Alice and husband Harold Nowak of Silver Lake; brother Joseph Grzeskowiak and friend Sue of South St. Paul; sisters-in-law Martha Grzeskowiak, Minneapolis, Rose Wawrzyniak, Buffalo, and Anna Grzeskowiak, South St. Paul.
She is further survived by 11 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and 12 great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Peter, son Anthony in 1923, twins Peter and Mary in 1934, daughter Cecelia in 1985, brother James, sisters Helen Lhotka and Clara Cuhel, and her son-in-law Ervin Haekenkamp.
Funeral services were held on Tuesday, July 8, 1998, 10:30 a.m., at Church of the Holy Family, Silver Lake, with Father Martin Rath, O.S.B. officiating. Sister Elizabeth was the pianist, read the Psalms, and was eucharistic minister; Margaret Benz was the lector.
Music was by Val Shamla, organist, and the Holy Family choir. Music was "Here I Am, Lord," "Mary's Song," "I Am the Bread of Life," "Song of Farewell," "How Great Thou Art," and "Serdeczna Matko", a Polish/English solo sung by her daughter, Alice Nowak.
Servers were great-grandson Benjamin (Prieve) Stifter, Jamie Rannow and Emily Nowak. Gift-bearers were great-grandchildren, Jennifer and Mitchell Nowak
Pallbearers were Gerald, Rick and Randy Wawrzyniak, and Russell, Dale and Terry Nowak. Honorary pallbearers were her grandchildren: Sherrie Edberg, Marlyce Kosek, Virginia Syvertson, Mary Stifter and Scott Wawrzyniak.
Interment was in St. Adalbert's Cemetery, Silver Lake.
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