A man of strong character and unwavering conviction, Arthur Murawski was a true blessing in the lives of many. He believed in working hard and he lived by his mantra “Do it right the first time” and expected that of everyone regardless of the task. He even gave his doctor a bumper sticker with the phrase. With the love of his life by his side for more than 63 years, Art fully devoted his life to nurturing his daughter and doting over his grandchildren as there was nothing that Dziadzia wouldn’t do for his grandchildren. Art has been described by his family as intelligent, independent, and stubborn – – Murawski traits he inherited from his father and passed on to his daughter and grandchildren. However, it was his heart of gold for which he will be remembered most.
It was during the decade that brought us soaring in the clouds with Charles Lindbergh, under the lights on Broadway, and out to the ballgame to see Babe Ruth that Art’s story begins. Born to Michael and Anna (Kowalski) Murawski on January 8, 1924 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was the second of five children in his family including his older sister, Florence, and his younger brothers, Eugene, Raymond, and Michael. Art and his siblings were raised in a home on the south side of Milwaukee. Countless American families felt the strain of the Great Depression throughout the thirties and the Murawski family was no exception.
Art’s mother Anna was a founding member of St. Alexander Parish and Art began his formal education at St. Alexander School. One day Art changed the name on his paper to Arthur Murray, when the nun asked “Who was the famous talented dancer in her class?” Art admitted it and he got in trouble. Art begged his parents to enroll him in the public school, where it would be easier. He lasted only one day because he didn’t know anyone, all of his friends were at St. Alexander. Art was in junior high when his spirit of adventure led him to accompany a friend to Chicago, by hopping a train. He returned home after one night because he missed his mother. He completed his eighth grade year back at St. Alexander and went on to Pulaski High School, but he left after only one semester as he was needed in the workforce to help make ends meet at home.
Art developed a strong work ethic at a young age. His first job found him selling the Wisconsin News, having to walk about 2 miles from his home on 14th and Ohio to Wisconsin Avenue to sell them. When he was 16 he went to work clearing trees with dynamite and planting new trees at a CCC Camp in the Mercer / Manitowish Waters area of Wisconsin. He had to turn over the garden and plant 75 tomato plants with his father yearly. This helped him to develop into the best at bringing dying plants to life throughout the rest of his life’s journey.
When he was just 19, Art was drafted into the Army Air Corps as the last of his friends to be drafted. During his time in the military Art was a truck driver, serving in India. He shared that he frequently saw a mongoose fighting a cobra, the story became animated when he would pretend his hand was a cobra to play games with his daughter and grandchildren. He was proud to have served his country during a time of great need.
Soon after he was discharged Art returned home and met the young girl with whom he would share a lifetime of love. Her name was Evelyn Pietras. They met on July 19,1947 at The Canteen on 13th and Lincoln, while attending a dance. They were introduced by Gibbers, a former grade school classmate of Evelyn’s sister Angie. Art’s famous line was “How come a good looking broad like you isn’t married yet?” They began dating and were married the following spring on April 14, 1948 at St. Hedwig Catholic Church. Art and Evelyn had an abiding love for each other that serves as an example of what marriage is truly intended to be. Not able to find a place to rent they lived with Art’s parents for the first nine months of their marriage. They later moved to a flat on Warren Avenue before moving to a home on Humboldt Avenue a few years later where they lived until 1983. Art and Evelyn moved to an upper flat on Chase Avenue where they would enjoy the rest of their days.
In the fall of 1949 the couple were overjoyed when they found out Evelyn was expecting, but their joy soon turned to sorrow when Evelyn miscarried. Art would always recall that day as the worst day of his life, prior to the death of his wife. Imagine their overwhelming happiness when they welcomed their daughter, Nadine, in 1951, her birth was a true blessing as they were informed that they could not have any more children. She was the light of her parents’ lives and as a father, Art was second to none. Art often said that he wouldn’t trade his one daughter for 12 sons. Art supported Nadine in everything she did, like driving her and a friend to C.Y.O./high school dances at over 50 parishes. He valued education especially a Catholic one, and shared he wanted to be an attorney if he had been given the opportunity. He became an avid fan of law shows such as Perry Mason, Matlock and Law and Order, sparking his granddaughter’s interest in the law. Art was also a student of life who immersed himself in reading including the daily newspaper from front to back and always following legal stories. Nadine always saw her father as the most intelligent man she ever knew and throughout her life she as well as other family and friends turned to him for guidance and advice. While he gave advice he always required individuals to “make your own decision.” When grandchildren came along, Art couldn’t have been happier, for he was not just a grandpa to them but also like a father. Dziadzia taught them how to ride bikes, drive, play checkers, play baseball, feed the ducks and watch the planes at the airport. He was always there for his grandchildren whether it was driving or picking them up from school, giving driving pointers to even the most experienced drivers, making his special silver dollar pancakes or made-to-order eggs, or bailing his grandson out of hot water from time to time.
In order to support his family, Art worked at Pittsburgh Paint and Glass, later known as PPG Industries. He started out as paint filler, then became a labeler, and finally retired as a supervisor in the shipping department. Art enjoyed his time at “The Pitt” and could usually be heard whistling “Some Enchanted Evening.” After he retired he helped plan and regularly attended retiree meetings until his health no longer allowed.
There were so many things Art enjoyed throughout his life. He was a sports fan who cheered on the Green Bay Packers, the Milwaukee Brewers and his grandchildren’s teams. His love for baseball started in his youth; Art was an extremely talented baseball player and could have played professionally in the minor leagues. His green thumb covered all aspects of gardening whether it was indoors or outdoors, and he even had contests with his grandchildren to see who grew the first tomato of the season.. Of course, Art was always the winner.
A man who lived his life based on moral principles and sound moral convictions, Arthur Murawski was an extraordinary man who greatly enriched the lives of those around him. He was punctual, hard-working, and meticulous. He was financially generous and never expected repayment, providing the tuition for Nadine’s final year of college even though she was married. He provided tuition payments for his grandchildren’s tuition when Tom was laid off and helped them with their college education. He helped pay for health insurance for Nadine and Tom’s family when Tom was laid off. He also helped Nadine and Tom with a down payment for their home. Art cherished his “Sweetie” Evelyn , who died June 1, 2011, and although we will miss him deeply, we find comfort in knowing that his time without his true companion was brief. The memories Art leaves behind will remain forever near and dear to the hearts of many.
Arthur S. Murawski died on June 23, 2011. Art’s family includes his daughter, Nadine (Thomas) Flemming, grandchildren, Devon, Denna, Creston, and Darla; siblings, Florence Erdtmann and Michael (Bonnie) Murawski; and other relatives and friends. Art was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Evelyn. Visitation on Friday, July 1 at the Funeral Home from 4-7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. Funeral Mass 10:00 a.m. Saturday, July 2 at St. Alphonsus Church – Chapel 5960 W. Loomis Rd. (MEET At CHURCH) Entombment Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Arrangements provided by Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes, Niemann / Suminski, 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Ave, (414) 744-5156.
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