To Andrew “Andy” Jaszewski, the best things in life weren’t things at all, but rather the relationships and good times he shared with his family and friends. Andy’s life spanned times of war and times of peace, times of ease and times of adversity – experiences that shaped the extraordinary man who was loved and treasured by so many. Andy was a creative artist who shared his gifts with others, but it will be his fun-loving spirit and tender heart that will be most dearly missed.
During the year 1915, our nation was deeply entrenched in WWI, and America was struggling to find her way. Issues such as immigration and poverty, work safety and child labor laws were items that were in the forefront of much needed reform. It was also during this year that Andrew and Mary (Rebarchek) Jaszewski, of Trempealeau, Wisconsin, were pleased to announce the birth of their third child, their son Andrew, on April 2nd. Andrew was raised in the family home in Trempealeau, located in the western portion of the state on the Mississippi River, where he was joined in his family by four brothers and one sister. Tragedy struck early in Andy’s life when his father drowned in the Mississippi River during a family picnic. This left Andy’s mother to raise her family alone during the Great Depression of the thirties, although their extended family came alongside offering help in many ways. Sadly, tragedy struck again when Andy’s oldest brother Edmund died as the victim of an accident while he was still young.
Although many of Andy’s formative years were enveloped in hardship, there were plenty of good times too, due in a large part to the love in their family that fully encompassed the difficult times. Andy always broke into fits of laughter when he would tell of the pranks that were pulled while he was growing up, especially those on his younger brother Joe. On one such occasion, Andy coaxed Joe into using an umbrella as a parachute while jumping from the hayloft! Andy had a large extended family with numerous cousins and gatherings among them were common. Andy often played his concertina, an instrument a bit like an accordion, while his brother played the banjo. Good times and laughter always abounded. Andy attended school in nearby Independence, located northwest of Trempealeau.
After he graduated from high school, Andy became part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.), a public work relief program instituted to aid with soaring unemployment rates. Once he completed this program, Andy came to Milwaukee looking for work. As the Great Depression still gripped our nation, jobs were scarce and Andy was down to his last dime. He was asked to play his concertina in a tavern, providing him with a small amount of money and potatoes that sustained him enough to stay in Milwaukee. When America became involved in WWII, Andy entered the Army and although he rarely spoke of this experience, he was proud of his service.
Life turned in an exciting direction when he met a young gal named Florence Graczyk whom he married on November 8, 1947. The children vividly recall memories of the duplex that was shared by their parents, Uncle Ed and Aunt Ceil Kwiecien, and their grandpa and grandma, especially when they moved next door and slid the boxes from window to window. Andy and Florence raised seven children on Bartlett Avenue on Milwaukee’s east side near Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church where they attended church as a family and the children attended school as well. Andy supported his family repairing commercial refrigeration equipment for Perlick Corporation for 27 years before he retired in 1977.
There were so many memories created in the Jaszewski family that have become priceless treasures. The children loved meeting their father at the North Avenue bus stop as he came home from work and getting ice cream from Dairy Lane. They also vacationed each August in Independence, Wisconsin, and often shared ghost stories – especially on stormy nights. Andy loved sharing his passion for fishing with his children, although he spent more time baiting hooks than he did actually fishing! The Bartlett Avenue neighborhood barbeques were the greatest fun of all in which all of the 72 neighborhood kids and their parents would get together. At the center was Andy on his concertina, Eddie Kwiecien on his harmonica, and Dick Fisher singing. The combination of food, fun, and friends was truly a formula for fun! Andy was also known for his woodworking skills, especially for his replications of animals. He was so precise in the creation of life-like details and could carve just about any animal. Andy also made sets for numerous school plays, as well as liquor cabinets for all of his children created from wood barrels.
After Florence died in March of 1979, Andy found companionship in a neighbor who also lost her husband. Her name was Clara Bader, and they married in November of 1979. They both moved from their homes on Bartlett Avenue to nearby Grafton where they enjoyed the community they lived in. Andy continued with his arts until he drew his last breath.
Andy Jaszewski was a fun-loving man who lived his life with vibrancy and zest, laced with just the right amount of compassion and kindness. He attributed his long life to his brandy and 50/50 every day for medicinal purposes, as well as his heaping spoonful of raisins soaked in wine. Andy knew what it meant to work hard, yet he knew how to have a good time as well – his favorite times spent with family and friends. If Andy was around, one could always be assured of having a good time as the diverse facets of his personality always made him such a joy to be around. He leaves behind a rich legacy that will surely withstand the test of time.
Andrew J. Jaszewski died on August 6, 2009. Andy’s family includes his children, Michael (Myrtle) Jaszewski, Patricia Jaszewski, Janice (Dave) Hallett, Sue Jaszewski, Bobby Jaszewski, and Mary (Gary) Gorman; his grandchildren, Brian (Sarah), Todd, Jeremy, Jennifer, Carly, Nick and Samantha; his sister, Sister Mary Angeline Jaszewski, Sisters of St. Francis; and numerous relatives and friends. Andy was preceded in death by his wives, Florence of 32 years, and Clara of 23 years, his daughter Joan Jaszewski, his four brothers: Edmund Jaszewski, Roman Jaszewski, Joe Jaszewski, and Bart Jaszewski. Family and friends will gather Saturday, August 22 at St. Joseph Catholic Church 1619 Washington Street Grafton, WI, 53024 from 10:00 a.m. until time of the Memorial Mass at 11:00 a.m. Inurnment Holy Cross Cemetery, Milwaukee, WI. Arrangements handled by Suminski Family Funeral Homes. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com, where you can leave a favorite memory or photo.