Obit: Tomczak, Steven (1930 - 2012)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Tomczak, Sienkiewicz, Behrendt, Kestner, Galenski, Czarnecki, Muchowicz, Waszak, Fretty, Tasker, Branz, Kliauga, Olejniczak, Larek, Janowski, Talaga

----Source: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark Co., WI) 8/22/2012

Tomczak, Steven (26 October 1930 - 11 August 2012)

Steven Tomczak, age 81, our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, foster father, father-in-law, and friend to many died peacefully, while Larry Olejniczak played “Amazing Grace” softly on the concertina in the Critical Care Ward at Sacred Heart Hospital on Saturday, August 11, 2012, at 4:30 p.m.

Steven was born on October 26, 1930, in the log home of his paternal grandfather, Albert Tomczak. He was raised on the family farm and received his education at the Field School in the Town of Thorp. At the age of 14, Steve worked as a farm hand and later at the age of 16, drove milk truck for Wild Cherry Dairy of Thorp.

In 1949, Steven moved to Chicago and began working at Phoenix Dye Works. He later met the Waszak family and his bride-to-be, Elsie (Sienkiewicz) Behrendt, and they were married on August 15, 1950. Elsie died on April 18, 1971, leaving Carol, age 16, and Robert, age 29, with their dad.

Steven then took a job with the Chicago Transit Authority, driving bus at night on the north side of Chicago. In addition, he also drove school bus, for handicapped children, for the Suburban Park District on the weekends. On October 23, 1967, Steven began working for United Parcel Service driving an 18-wheeler throughout the city of Chicago and its suburbs. Steven received many awards for his safe driving and was elected to head the Safety Committee at UPS.

Also while in Chicago, Steven made a “45” record with Steve Larek and John Janowski of the Chicago Concertina Club at KIJ Records. The songs were “Windy City Polish” and “Mother’s Daughter.”

Steven later met Wanetta Lillian Kestner and they were married on March 18, 1972. Steven retired from UPS in May 1989 and they returned to the family farm in Wisconsin in August of 1989.

In 1992, Marlene Galenski came to live with Steven and Wanetta at the age of 17 as a foster child. She later married Joseph Czarnecki of Stanley, WI, and later blessed Steven and Wanetta with two grandchildren.

Steven played concertina with the Polka Friends at various parades where they won many awards. He also sat-in with the Whirl Winds, Boy Cynor and others until health problems stood in the way.

In his spare time, Steven was Vice Chairman of St. Mary’s Polish Nat ional Catholic Church in Lublin and also served as Chairman of the Cemetery Committee. He loved his church, his family, and his many friends.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years: Wanetta Tomczak of Thorp; one daughter, Carol Ann Muchowicz of Rockford, IL; one sister, Florence Waszak of Withee; one brother, Donald (Deb) Tomczak, Sr. of Withee; one nephew, Donald Tomczak, Jr. of Marshfield; one foster daughter, Marlene (Joseph) Czarnecki of Gilman; two grandchildren: Joe and Melissa Czarnecki of Gilman; two sisters-in-law: Beverly Fretty and Sharon (David) Tasker; three brothers-in-law: Gerald (Lena) Kestner, George (Becky) Kestner, and Ronald (Phyllis) Kestner, all of Illinois; and father-in-law; Merton Branz, also of Illinois; many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

Steven was preceded in death by his parents: John and Julia Tomczak; his wife, Elsie; one brother, Clarence Tomczak; one brother-in-law, Ted Waszak; one sister-in-law, Charlene Tomczak; his step-father, Raymond Kliauga; and one step-son, Robert Behrendt.

Funeral services will be held on Friday August 24, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Polish National Catholic Church in Lublin. Rev. Marion Talaga will officiate and burial will follow in the parish cemetery. Visitation will be held on Friday, August 24, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. at the church.

Online condolences may be directed to  Thorp Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.



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