Just as gracious as she was kind, Dolores Stroika was a sweet, gentle soul who had a spunky sense of humor. Although often times soft spoken, Dolores enjoyed a good, hearty laugh with those who shared her company. Through her welcoming spirit and open arms, many found their way into Dolores’ heart and home. Deeply missed, she will be forever remembered by those who knew and loved her.
Marked by a time of prosperity in America, the Roaring Twenties emerged as a decade of economic prosperity rich with optimism and innovation. The stock market soared and people everywhere were brimming with hope. By 1927, tunes such as Gershwin’s “Strike Up the Band” and “Old Man River” brought excitement to the air. Yet in the bustling city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, John and Veronica (Kuffel) Kozminski had some exciting news of their own on February 18, 1927 when they welcomed the birth of their little girl, Dolores into their arms.
Raised in a family devout to their Catholic faith, Dolores enjoyed a childhood typical of her generation despite hard times. Although she had an older sister and baby brother, both sadly died when Dolores was young. These times were most certainly a struggle for Dolores and her parents coupled with the onset and difficulties of the Great Depression.
Dolores grew up in a close knit, Polish community within the city of Milwaukee. As a child she enjoyed time spent with her beloved dog, “Queenie”, and playing with neighborhood friends. She also participated in the Young Ladies Society, a local Catholic youth group. Dolores attended the area schools and through her outgoing and fun-loving ways, was a friend to many. During her youth and as a young woman, Dolores served as a bridesmaid for many friends and family members, but her days as a bridesmaid soon changed when she met and married a handsome young man named, Edward John Stroika, Jr.
Following World War II, opportunity was plentiful as America saw an increase in manufacturing and the need for consumer goods. The newlyweds settled into married life, and before long began a family of their own. Having been raised an only child, Dolores soon became not only a devoted wife, but a dedicated and loving mother of six children. She made a good home for Eddie and the kids, which came to include Allan, David, Judith, Mary, Donna and Anne. To support his thriving household, Eddie worked as a loan officer for the Veteran’s Administration while Dolores looked after the home front. Typical of her nature, Dolores often allowed the kids to get away with things that Eddie often wouldn’t. Her home was also a gathering place for her children’s friends, and for many years they were welcomed with Dolores’ open arms, food from her table, and many overnight sleepovers.
Dolores didn’t care for cats, but strays always found their way to Dolores’ house, most likely because her children often fed them! They had a dog named Candy who kept Dolores company while the kids were in school and when Eddie was at camp for two weeks each year. While living in Shorewood, numerous memories can be recalled of the many haircuts Dolores was in charge of giving her children. Even though her talent in this area was acceptable for the boys, her daughters remember a time or two when they were not exactly pleased with the outcome!
When the children were young, Dolores and Eddie would squeeze the whole family, all eight of them, into the car and drive four hours for memorable times and fun-filled days spent in St. Germain. Through the years, endless memories were also made enjoying the holidays together, especially Christmas Day where as a family they always gathered to celebrate. Dolores also hosted annual “Girls Getaway” weekends for 24 years where great times were enjoyed by all. In addition, she was also involved as part of the family that made the famous home movie, “14 Pollacks and a Stranger” in Eagle River at Uncle Hank’s cottage.
Besides being with family, nothing brought Dolores greater joy than spending time tending to her beautiful flowers and plentiful tomato gardens. She loved working with the soil and watching them thrive. In later years, Dolores enjoyed attending activities at the Shorewood Senior Center and special events offered at St. Robert’s Catholic Church and their annual parish festival. For many years, Dolores could be found watching Lawrence Welk on TV on Saturday nights while Eddie played his albums. She was always listening to the radio during the day, and liked the sounds of Glenn Miller, Herb Albert, and Bert Kempfort. Some of her favorite TV shows included The Golden Girls, Two and a Half Men, and Friends. When it came to her favorite food, she was fond of frog legs, cashews, chocolate, and her homegrown tomatoes.
Dolores’ heart was filled with kindness. She was not only a devoted mother of six children, but she had quite a heart for others, too. She held cousins, Irene and Vicki, godchildren, Sister Jane Mary and Sue Wanta, and friend Yolanda close to her heart, and they each meant so much to her. Dolores put a lot of thought into buying gifts and cards. In her desire to find the most perfect one, she often agonized over finding that something special that would truly convey her feelings.
Ever caring, gracious, and kind, Dolores filled the lives around her with joy. She had a way all her own in making others feel special, and her compassionate and trusting demeanor was beloved by all. Even though she was a soft spoken woman, Dolores could be quite spunky when she needed to be. For these things and so much more, Dolores will be dearly missed as her memory lives on with remembered joy.
Dolores T. Stroika, (nee Kozminski), reunited with her husband, parents and other loved ones on July 15, 2015 at the age of 88. Cherished mother of Allan and David Stroika, Judith (Michael) Jansen, Mary (Joe) Busalacchi, Donna (Jim) Blonien and Anne (Daryl) Skaradzinski. Loving Grandma of Mario Busalacchi, Vincent Busalacchi, Amanda (John) Eggan, Allyson Blonien, Samantha Blonien, John Blonien and Geoffrey Jansen. Great-Grandma of Eleanor Eggan, and dear sister-in-law of Geraldine Formella. She is further survived by other relatives and friends.
Visitation: Monday, July 20, 2015 at Three Holy Women Parish – Holy Rosary Church 2011 N. Oakland Avenue from 9:00 AM until time of the Funeral Mass at 11:00 AM. Entombment: Holy Cross Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association, American Diabetes Association or to the American Cancer Society are appreciated. To share a favorite memory or photo of Dolores and to sign her online guest book, please visit www.SuminskiFuneralHome.com. Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes-Suminski/Weiss (414) 276-5122.
Leave a condolence or share a memory