Alice Golec was a woman whose worth and character shone through in the little things – she always left a good tip, she was a good listener, and she could often be heard to express a heartfelt “thank you” to anyone who helped her. Although she did these things without thought of reward, her kindness and generosity were indeed rewarded, many times over: she was blessed with a loving family and many, many friends who filled her ninety years of life with joy and happiness.
Alice was born on May 8, 1921, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her proud parents, Isidore and Pearl (Szutta) Kozik, shared a Polish heritage. Alice was one of the younger members of a large family, with three older siblings, Jerome, George, and Genevieve, and two younger, Edmund and Matthew. Isidore earned a living tending horses for the City of Milwaukee, while Pearl stayed at home to raise the children. As Alice was growing up, America was plunged into the depths of the Great Depression. Times were tough for the Kozik family, as they were for countless Americans. Fortunately, however, Isidore always had a job, since he worked for the city, and the family always had meat, since another family member was a butcher.
When the time came for Alice to go to school, she attended St. Hedwig Catholic Grade School and later on Lincoln High School. Alice’s best subjects were math and writing, and she enjoyed playing softball. Alice and her family friends were able to enjoy activities on the Milwaukee River such as boating, swimming and ice skating. She also participated in various activities at St. Hedwig Parish, where she would be a lifelong member. Despite her many activities, some of her happiest teenage memories were simply of pleasant evenings spent on the front porch, chatting with friends.
After Alice’s graduation from high school, she found a job at Milwaukee Flush Valve. By this time, almost without knowing it Alice had grown into a beautiful young woman. One evening, while attending a wedding at the Eagles Ballroom, Alice caught the eye of a young Navy sailor named Frank Golec. Frank asked Alice to dance, and the rest, as they say, is history. That evening in the Eagles Ballroom marked the beginning of a romance that would last for the next sixty years. Since Frank was serving in the U.S. Navy at the time, it wasn’t long before he had to return to duty. Although the young couple was separated by distance, they kept in contact with frequent letters. In November of 1946, Alice and Frank were married at St. Hedwig.
Since the influx of returning serviceman made housing scarce, Alice and Frank started their married life living with Alice’s mother on Pulaski Street. Frank worked for the City of Milwaukee, Department of Public Works Sanitation Department and Alice worked at Globe Union. Alice quit her job to stay at home, however, when the first new member of the Golec family arrived. Richard was born in 1949, followed by Joan, Patricia and Ronald. Since Alice’s mother still lived with them and was able to help out with the children and housekeeping, Alice decided to return to work about a year after Joan was born. She found a job at A.C. Spark Plug, a subsidiary of General Motors. She worked on the assembly line, making parts which were used in the space program. Alice enjoyed the job and the friendships she formed with the “girls at work”.
Alice made her family a priority. She was one of the first women in her family to get a driver’s license and encouraged others to get one also. Her family remembers her taking them to parks, for ice cream, to little league baseball and basketball games, shopping to Arlan’s, parades and visiting “Southside Grandma” (Frank’s Mom) or Alice’s brothers and sister. Alice and Frank were able to purchase a duplex on North Humboldt Boulevard which they rented for several years. They later remodeled the upstairs and moved with their children and Grandma into it. Grandma (Alice’s mother) was now living just down the street from her sister.
Summer vacations were often spent at a cottage they rented with Alice’s sister, Genevieve and her family in Hancock, Wisconsin on Fish Lake. Other vacation days were used to have picnics at various parks and little lakes near Milwaukee.
As their children grew up and left the nest one by one, Alice and Frank had more free time to spend on hobbies and travel. This was especially the case after Alice’s retirement from General Motors, where she had worked for over thirty years. Alice and Frank enjoyed traveling and took several bus tours to the Western United States. They also took trips to the cottage they purchased in 1982 in Mt. Morris, Wisconsin – a place that Frank enjoyed much more than Alice! The cottage became a place where their children and grandchildren spent many happy vacations together with Frank and Alice.
Back at home, Alice loved playing Bingo, family celebrations, or going to the neighborhood tavern with Frank to socialize with friends. Alice had a great sense of humor and was fun to be with.
Sadly, Frank passed away on November 16, 2004. Frank had been Alice’s companion and friend for nearly fifty-five years, and she was lost without him. She soon found that the house on Humboldt Boulevard was too big and lonely to live in by herself, and she moved to the Milwaukee Catholic Home. Alice enjoyed the community at the home, and was an active participant in many activities such as Bingo, exercise classes, using the library and church.
Generous, honest, and kind, Alice Golec was a devoted wife, a loving mother, and a loyal friend. She taught her children to be organized, diligent, compassionate and appreciative. She loved the traditions of the Catholic Church. It gave her joy and comfort to see these traditions embraced in the next generations that followed her. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by her many friends and family members.
Alice was born to eternal life on March 15, 2012, at the age of 90. She was welcomed into the arms of her Lord at her apartment in the Milwaukee Catholic Home to join “her only Sunshine” husband, Frank and firstborn son Richard. She is the cherished mother of the late Richard (Christine) Golec, Joan (Robert) Gozdziewski, Patricia (Daniel) Thaney- Schramm and Ronald (Ann) Golec; and the dear sister of the late Jerome (the late Pauline) Kozik, the late Genevieve (the late Edward) Kroll, the late George (the late Harriet) Kozik, the late Edmund (Jean) Kozik and Matthew (the late Jean) Kozik. She is further survived by 14 grandchildren: Kimberly, Kelly, Jason (Kristin) Golec, Ryan (Alisha) Golec, Andrew (Amanda) Gozdziewski, Allison (Adam) D’Amato, Jennifer (Randy) Bretza, Christopher Gozdziewski, Eric Thaney, Robyn Thaney, April Thaney, Aaron Golec, Joel Golec and Allyssa Golec, great-grandchildren Zachary, Jason “JJ”, Hailey, Emily, Jessica, Ethan, Hunter, Bria and other relatives and friends.
A celebration and thanksgiving of her abundant life will be held on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at Three Holy Women Parish – St. Hedwig Church 1702 N. Humboldt Avenue, from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the Funeral Mass at 11:30 a.m. Entombment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery. The family has been served by Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes. Please visit Alice’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can learn more about Alice’s life, share a favorite memory or photo, and sign the online guestbook.
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