Judy Kujawa, age 75, passed away gracefully on Saturday morning, January 18, 2014, following a brief illness. Judy was born in Oshkosh on September 12, 1938, daughter of the late Earl and Gertrude (Maaske) Witzel. She was a graduate of Oshkosh High School, and married Jim Kujawa in Oshkosh on August 22, 1959. Judy worked as the office manager for the Boy Scouts of America in Menasha. All will remember Judy as a very gifted artist, who loved to express her creativity with artistic paintings on furniture, canvas, and stenciling. Judy was also an excellent seamstress. She was gifted in the kitchen as well, and collected many recipes and cookbooks. She loved cooking with family and friends, and gladly shared her new recipes as well as any leftovers! Judy also loved her dogs over the years – her poodles and bichon were her pride and joy. She currently was enjoying the company of her dog Jet.
Judy is survived by her husband: Jim Kujawa of Appleton; two children: Cathy (Chuck) Kiley of Menasha and Greg (Laura) Kujawa of Green Bay; five grandchildren: Cal, Cody, and Connor Kiley, and Bryce and Keegan Kujawa; three sisters: Sue (David) Gerke of New Mexico; Barb Lewis of Berlin; and Wendy LeDioyt of Oshkosh; a sister-in-law: Bev (Marv) Weyenberg of Green Bay; and a brother-in-law: Don (Carol) Kujawa of Oshkosh. She is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews, several cousins, and countless other friends and relatives. Judy was preceded in death by her parents, and a brother-in-law Mike LeDioyt.
The Funeral Liturgy for Judy will be held at 11:30 AM on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at ST. MARY CATHOLIC CHURCH, 528 Second Street in Menasha, with Fr. Paul Paider officiating. Family and friends are invited to gather on Tuesday from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM at the Wichmann Funeral Home, Tri County Chapel at 1592 Oneida Street in Menasha, and again at the church on Wednesday morning from 10:30 AM until the time of the service at 11:30 AM. A memorial fund is being established in Judy's name. Online condolences may be offered at www.wichmannfargo.com.
Please continue to read…..here you will find a beautiful eulogy for Judy, prepared by her loving children, Greg and Cathy…….
It has been a blur the last couple of days as well as being very busy the last couple of weeks as Mom has been undergoing surgery and rehabilitation. Cathy and I wanted to express our feelings and share some insights about Mom and Dad.
As sad as it has been the last couple of days since Mom has passed, today and the days to follow we need to celebrate her life. There will be many more happy and sad days in the future as we think of her and wish she were still with us, we know it will get better with time.
We were blessed in many ways the last couple of weeks when Mom became ill as the prognosis was not very good – initially. Mom was a true fighter and her spirits were unbelievably good considering the severity of her surgery and the pain she must have been enduring. Mom thankfully made it through and fought a courageous battle giving us many weeks to spend time with her so we could express our love for her as well as encouragement, as we wanted so badly for her to come home.
During our planning the last couple of days we have shared stories and combed over countless pictures of Mom and Dad and our family that began just a short time before Mom and Dad got married on August 22, 1959. Mom and Dad beat many odds prior to and during their marriage in an era and time in which things weren't simply given to you, you had to earn them.
Mom and Dad built a Love and a Life together with many sacrifices building their relationship, a life long marriage of 55 years, and a family. Mom took on the role of helping to be a mother when her own mother passed early in her life. We have been blessed to have Mom in our life for 75 years!
Shortly after they married the joy of their daughter came along but required a move across the country to the state of Washington with Dad's assignment in the reserves. With no family support system and structure to fall back on, we admire them for what sacrifices and hardship this must have caused them. A short time later a son was born and they were on their way to having their own family.
From all the different homes we lived in from rental homes to Randall Street to Stead Drive, they made our house a fun place to live and grow up. We recall being one of the first houses in the area that had a swimming pool in the back yard which created many fond memories over the years – all due to Mom and Dads hard work and sacrifices. Their more recent house is a more spacious and beautiful 2 story home they decorated together on Farmstead Drive that was well earned and deserved.
We are also truly blessed and thankful to Mom and Dad that Mom was able to stay home when we were younger so she could raise and teach us their faith, morals, work ethic, and compassion for life. We have the best role models to live by! Even the grandchildren have commented on what great role models they have been for our families.
Mom was an incredible person to be with. We learned over the years how understanding she was with her ability to never pre-judge a situation or people and to look at things objectively. In many ways we helped her along the way as Cathy seemed to help Mom build patience while I on the other hand tested Mom's patience many times over.
Mom was the care giver and the card giver. She was always there for us when we were down, building us back up or giving us confidence and instilling that making mistakes was ok and the best way for us to learn. Her love of cooking and sharing those many delicious meals and leftovers was a treat for all of us. In her kitchen she stenciled inspiring phrases that she lived by including “My Life, My Joy, My Food”. Her bumper sticker on the Cadillac Eldorado also reads, “Love people, Cook them tasty food”. She also became the best card giver anyone has ever seen. I think Mom captured just about every event you could imagine just to send you a card letting you know she was thinking of you. I'm guessing Mom and Dad owned stock in Hallmark cards.
Mom was a petite and beautiful woman. She enjoyed fashion and was always dressed in very attractive clothes whether she made them herself or purchased at one of the many boutiques she frequented. She also show cased an array of jewelry with great taste – Dad was a large contributor, great job you knew her tastes well. She passed this same sense of style and tastes onto the rest of our family and we couldn't be more appreciative. I remember as a young boy Mom taking us to a shoe store on College Avenue where we had to navigate down this rickety, old, narrow set of stairs into the basement so Mom could look at all the small / petite shoes they stocked. It was like a hidden world down there but I never saw so many small shoes in my life with a huge array of colors and different styles. Mom was the Imelda Marcos of shoes and she enjoyed a good, comfortable fitting pair on her feet!
We are not sure that many of you know but Mom also accumulated numerous magazines from mail order companies that she enjoyed searching and buying from. It is not uncommon for 3-4 or more magazines to arrive daily. She found some very unique places to shop along the years but was an old school girl and never embraced the whole on line shopping experience. Matter of fact, I doubt anyone of us ever received an E-mail sent by Mom. She was a “pick up the phone and talk to someone kind of person”. Again old school but real school, the way it should be. We liked those personal calls and visits.
Mom has a beautiful smile and slightly tilted her head when she was enjoying herself. She has a great sense of humor and ever so silent laugh that everyone enjoyed. We will greatly miss that and her ability to get the conversation rolling.
We are very grateful for the numerous vacations we took with Mom and Dad over the years in Long boat Key, Florida. What a great time we had with each other, with all the grand children living together on the beach for a week. Those memories will be forever in our minds.
It has been said before; you pick your mate based on some of the values and characteristics that you see in your Mom. I'm truly grateful I found someone in my life that will carry on some of Mom's spirit as well as Laura's own, for the rest of our lives. I love you both for that.
Cathy stated, “My mom has been and forever will be my role model”. The words beautiful, elegant and gracious come to mind. Her taste in fashion, artwork, and decorating we're exquisite.
Mom loved beautiful and unique things…cars, jewelry, clothing and furniture. But she also loved the small things too! I will never forget our trips to the Princeton flea market where we would stroll the park on a sunny day. She loved pencils that have pretty designs printed on them. Dad would laugh and shake his head when we would be gone a whole day and come back with nothing more than some produce and a handful of pencils. But I came back with so much more…shopping, lunch, and time spent with the woman I loved most in this world.
Everything I learned about love was from observing our parents. Their love for each other is something you rarely see. The greatest gift was how they extended that love to each of us. When we got married, they opened their arms to our spouses. And when the grandchildren arrived, each one was treated as the most precious child on earth. Thank you, Mom, for that love will live on in our hearts forever and be passed down through the generations”.
So, we celebrate Mom's life today with all these great memories and stories of a lady that can never be replaced nor forgotten. She will always be remembered, loved, and her presence will always be with us. We love you Mom, God rest you.
Greg and Cathy Kujawa