obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00

Gregory V.
Konz-Krzyminski

Gregory Valentine Konz-Krzyminski

 

Gregory was the loving husband of Raymond Paul Konz-Krzyminski (né Konz), cherished father of Jill (Charles) Stanton and Jeffrey Krzyminski and precious Baba to Eleanor Rose Stanton.  He will remain forever in their minds and hearts.

He was born on July 7, 1946, to +Stanley and +Loretta Krzyminski.  He passed away of an Aortic Dissection while in his husbands arms and entered into the Holiness of God on Sunday, November 7, 2021.

 

A most beloved brother in a tight-knit, Catholic, Polish, South Chicago family, his siblings were James (Patricia) Krzyminski, Paulette (Les) Gonzalez, Claudette (Patrick) McShane, Marylynn (Richard) Collentine, David Krzyminski (Robert Malandrino) and Thomas Krzyminski (Holly Brajcich).  Greg was a very special brother-in-law to Mary El Kastelic, Michael Konz, Eugenia (William) Grant and Patricia Konz.  He is also survived by dear Cathleen Bourdon and other cherished family and friends around the world.

 

Raymond and family are most grateful to K. Robert Shen, MD and Charles Clayton, NP of Mayo Clinic and John Sanidas, MD, Chad Stepke, MD, Mark Leitschuh, MD, Varsha Shah, MD, Dima Adl, MD and Columbia/St Mary’s—Milwaukee Van Dyke Cancer Center, Pulmonary Rehab, Wound Clinic, Emergency Department, Inpatient and other Outpatient staff and Staff at the Center for Advanced Care at Froedtert.  Also many thanks to Bernadette Demuri, MD and Bernie Miller, MSW.   Very special thanks to the to the Intensive Care and Management Staff at Columbia/St. Mary’s—Milwaukee for superlative care and compassion allowing opportunities for some to say a final goodbye to Gregory. 

 

Greg came to Milwaukee in the mid 1960s to study at Marquette University and earned a BA.  Along with Cathleen Bourdon for three years they served as educators in Ethiopia with the US Peace Corps.  He later earned a MA in History from UW-Milwaukee.  Daughter, Jill arrived in 1977 and son, Jeffrey in 1982.  Greg had an early interest in and discovered a skill in food preparation based on the unavailability of potato chips in Ethiopia–he decided to make them.  He loved to tell his potato chip story when asked about his start in the culinary arts.   He earned certification from the Chef’s Apprentice Certification program at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC).  After graduation, he joined a fellow Chef Apprentice in opening a restaurant in Milwaukee’s North Shore.  Countless people have been fortunate to experience Greg’s culinary and baking talents. He was incredibly generous and loved to make others happy through his gift of cooking for them.   

 

He met Raymond Paul Konz in the mid-1980s and to their surprise fell quickly and deeply in love, attracted to each other for many reasons to include their good nature, humor, interests in the hospitality industry and mutual spiritual and family values.  They moved into their downtown Milwaukee love nest in 1983 and it was assumed because of it’s attractive “happening” location became the “go-to” spot for many family member and friends.  Greg worked as chef garde manger at Milwaukee’s Hotel Pfister at the same time Raymond was a server in Pfister’s English Room.  His love of education and teaching included a 16 year career at Mid State Technical College (MSTC)–Wisconsin Rapids as a respected Hospitality Instructor and Director of both Culinary Arts Program and Multicultural Services until his retirement in 2003 and then later as an Ad Hoc Instructor/Editor for Lufthansa Airlines in Liverpool.  His love of teaching was inherent.  He treasured experiences as an Academic Advisor at UW-Milwaukee and Ad Hoc Food Service Instructor for MATC. He touched many students lives during his career by emphasizing humane virtues and morals along with the subject matter.  He was sought out to reconnect by grateful former pupils around the globe.

 

Greg was a most enthusiastic actor, director, stage manager and supporter of theater in the Milwaukee area but especially at Wisconsin Rapids Community Theater (WRCT).  Some of his favorite performances were locally in “The Tempest,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Identita,” and “The Butler Did It,” and with Wisconsin Rapids Community Theater (WRCT) in “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” “I Never Sang for My Father,”  “Social Security,” “The Odd Couple,” playing a nun in “Nunsense,” and the award winning “The Gin Game.”   He directed “A Christmas Carol,” “Heaven Can Wait,” and was just preparing to co-direct “Deathtrap” this season with WRCT.  Greg participated in so many wonderful productions over the years at WRCT and this year heard in “Winter Frost,” a virtual production based on the poetry of Robert Frost. Greg provided the voice over talent for all poems between the poems that were acted out: Click on the link for “Winter Frost” and to hear Greg’s voice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJuRJnGJ5W8  He was serving on board of Milwaukee’s Boulevard Theater.   He was a founding Member of Galano Club of Milwaukee, a 12-Step Recovery Club for LGBT persons and allies and was a Board member of former SAGE/Milwaukee—a LGBT senior support organization.

 

He had a lifelong enthusiasm and endurance for travel both in the United States and internationally including Africa, Poland,  most of Europe, Chile, New Zealand, parts of Asia, Trinidad and Tobago.  He inspired travel for Raymond, family, friends and others. His travel bug was contagious. While on staff at MSTC, he partnered with EF Tours in arranging group travel. Many in the Wisconsin Rapids area thanked him for opening the door to their international experiences.  He recently got his passport renewed and told Jill to get hers and Eleanor’s up to date because he was going to take them to Paris soon.  Most recently Eleanor Rose asked him how many countries had he visited and she took a guess of 100.  He said, “No, more like 40!”  She said, “Baba, then I will go to the other countries and think of you when I am there.”

 

Because of a desire to declare their love, Greg and Raymond were strong advocates of marriage equality.  Impatient for the right thing to happen they decided to proclaim their relationship and commitment after 20 years with a Blessing Ceremony in 2003 at The Wisconsin Club which was written up in the New York Times Society Section.  They were photographed and interviewed for “Shall Not Be Recognized” an exhibit of thirty same-sex couples in long-term, committed relationships in response to the November 2006 general election where Wisconsin voters passed a resolution to amend the state constitution to make it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages and civil unions. Also in response he and Raymond hyphenated their surnames to Konz-Krzyminski.  Greg, not having a middle name, chose his grandfather’s name–giving him the name Gregory Valentine Konz-Krzyminski.  He said to suspiciously homophobic folks, “Well, that’s 31 letters, So Recognize This!”  When New York first got marriage equality, niece Roberta and children suggested they come to New York to make it legal and there was no thinking about it.  They married at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church, Upper Westside on November 12, 2011. Several years later, on Friday afternoon, June 6, 2014, (the same date Eleanor Rose was born) marriage equality was born in Wisconsin.

 

You may have been at the table as his shark-like card playing/board game instinct kicked in all the while maintaining his civility.  These games increased most frequently after his successful February Esophageal Cancer surgery and it wasn’t uncommon for Raymond and Greg to be playing 500 Rummy or Rummikub at all hours of the late evening or rather, early morning.  It became some of the best times together in their last months.  They also loved just being alone together in the car for the 1.5 hours weekly drive to and from getting Eleanor Rose from school and to swimming classes.  They would enthusiastically cheer her progression in classes from Jellyfish to Dolphin levels.  Greg had a very special devotion to the Blessed Mother to include making pilgrimages with Raymond to the shrine of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa and praying the rosary by phone weekly with extended family for protection during the current pandemic.

 

Greg was quietly a co-founder of one of the largest online missionary entities in the world with almost 1.3 million followers, most gay friendly of course. It has been said that without him the number would have been unthinkable. He contributed with his ideas in different ways often and decisively.  Everyone involved was grateful for this as his thoughts were always helpful and making the project stronger and loved it when he was present at the meetings via video.  With his commitment, he led many young people in Asia and Africa to a tolerant, accepting and “rainbow” Christian faith.  In 2011, because of friends/former student request to officiate at their wedding, Greg became an on-line ordained minister of American Marriage Ministries.  Since that time he was honored to officiate at memorable weddings including for family in Geneva, IL, Louisville Kentucky and South Milwaukee, WI.  Compassionate caregiving was a huge part of Greg’s later life and never was an occupation for him–it was just simply something you do for family.  He and Raymond and later son, Jeffrey provided hands on caregiving in their own home on Layton Boulevard for numerous family members since 1992.  

 

Did you ever hear Greg laugh…belly LAUGH with guffaws and all?  He gave competition to local church bells surrounding his home.  And he especially loved making others laugh likewise.  No topic was off the table for Greg:  religion, bring it. Race, explore. Best actors, this list changed with the years. His inquisitive mind and open heart made him the ultimate listener and guru.  Broken heart, call Greg.  Recipe not turning out, Greg to the rescue.  Can’t remember the name of a Motown girl group, Greg’s your man (he was always so happy to have a chance to announce that he danced with MARTHA REEVES).  Need an idea for a Halloween costume?  Just look at the array of photos taken over the years….his Franklin Delano Roosevelt (nowadays non-PC impersonation) was one of his best but he certainly stole the show as Queen Elizabeth II for Raymond’s 60th Disco Birthday Party.  He pulled out that costume several times and most famously on the back of a black BMW convertible in a Milwaukee Pride Parade.  

 

Much has been said about Greg’s love and devotion for his family and friends.  If you were fortunate enough to be part of that world you knew it and you will always know it feeling the depth of that love.  His most favorite moments have been with his children and sweet Eleanor Rose.  

 

A COVID considerate Memorial Visitation was held on November 12, 2021 in the atrium of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee followed by Mass of Christian Burial, celebrated by Fr. Mike Hammer.  The mass can be viewed Https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBDqJbeRPFw 

 

Fr. Greg Greiten lead Gregory’s committal service in the Konz Family plot at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, Milwaukee on November 14, 2021. 

 

Funeral arrangements by Heritage Funeral Homes, Milwaukee. https://www.heritagefuneral.com/obituary/gregory-v-konz-krzyminski/   

 

Memorials to the School Sisters of St. Francis—Layton Blvd,  Milwaukee Galano 12-Step Recovery Club, or Autistic Self Advocacy Network, are appreciated.   

 

A COVID considerate Memorial Tribute will be hosted by Wisconsin Rapids Community Theater (WRCT) friends at 3pm,on Saturday,  March 19, 2021 at WRCT, 220 3rd Ave S, Wisconsin Rapids. Please see https://www.wrctheatre.org for time and details. In lieu of flowers, memorials to WRCT are appreciated.

 

An outdoor Celebration of Life (by invitation and RSVP) will be held near his birthday in late June,  2022.

 

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

29 Comments

  1. Christyn M. Nawrot November 8, 2021 at 8:33 pm - Reply

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    I will always remember Greg and his smile while we were at the Barbra Streisand Concert at the United Center. Greg Raymond, Tommy and I went in celebration of Greg’s 70th Birthday. We had great seats thanks to Tommy’s fast action when the tickets went on sale!! What a wonderful night of music and conversation… Many people were shouting out requests for Babs to sing and I kept shouting out: “OH LITTLE TOWN!!!” hoping she would sing “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” which was my favorite version of the hymn- She never sang it but it made us all giggle!!! May peace come to you Greg, and all your family and friends knowing that we will see you again in Heaven… Respectfully, Christyn M. Nawrot

  2. Greg Pyle November 9, 2021 at 6:43 am - Reply

    I will always remember Greg: a great friend, a kind person, warm smile, a “glowing and warm” person… A good friend to Ethiopia…

    • Raymond K-K May 8, 2022 at 11:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks very much Greg. He was. So grateful for the years we had together.

  3. JoAnn M Goodness November 9, 2021 at 9:49 am - Reply

    The world has lost a truly great man. He was so kind and gentle, and what a wonderful sense of humor he had.! He touched so many lives, and we are all better for it. Rest in peace, Sister Gregory. Heaven is brighter with you there.

  4. Lori L. Kleszczynski , RN November 9, 2021 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Raymond—-
    I am so saddened to hear about the passing of your husband Greg. Many of us from the VA are thinking about you and your families(s), wishing you peace and solace in this time of sadness and sorrow.
    He will be watching over you from you Heaven and will continue to love you from above.
    Deepest condolences ….

    Lori L. Kleszczynski , RN

  5. Dino Mantzavrakos November 9, 2021 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Raymond,
    It is heartbreaking to hear of Greg’s passing. I’ll always remember him as “The Queen” and love the memories i have of both of you at Pride Fest and at our LGBTQ+ Committee outing at Hamburger Mary’s when he came as The Queen.
    You are both loved by so many. May the wonderful memories you have of your life together bring you comfort and peace.
    Thinking of you and your family,

    Dino Mantzavrakos, LGBTQ+ Program Manager

  6. Susan Edgren November 9, 2021 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Greg was a wonderful theatrical colleague. Talented, skilled, sure, but so warm, funny, loving and considerate as well. I will miss his bear hugs and greeting of “hello, doll!” , his mischievous grin and eye twinkle when he’s landing a “good one” on me. Little did I know 2 years ago when I gave him a pair of angel wings as an ornament that he’d be wearing them for real so soon. I still have the “Gus” apron he gave to me. I will continue to wear it in loving memory. ❤

  7. Susanne Miers November 9, 2021 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    I will miss Greg tremendously and think of all the different times we had together with tons of laughter he was a fantastic brother-in-law and brought a great sense of humor to all our family get togethers.He will be watching from heaven over the light of his life,his granddaughter Eleanor We lost a great man and a dear friend.Rest in peace Dear Greg💔☹️😢💔

  8. Caitleen Storm Elizabeth Chisolm Brown November 9, 2021 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    My big brother Greg I will never forget when you stayed with my sister Gaby (RIP) and I as your host home when you came for an upgrade at Trinidad & Tobago Hospitality & Tourism Institute in 1998. We would travel to class together but my most memorable moment was when we visited the theatre to see “Mary Could Dance” starring Penelope Spencer and Richard Ragoobarsingh! You loved it so much and we cried together when the star Mary passed away from HIV. You would have been elated to know that play is rated the #1 stage play in Trinidad & Tobago to this day! Also we visited St. James to “Lime” (hangout) and have a few ‘Carib’ beers and we taught you how to wine (dance) to Soca music! LOL!! So many fun memories! Rest in Peace my dear Big Bro!! I will miss you so much!! Gone but never forgotten <3

  9. Bob Stocki November 9, 2021 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    I’ve lost a beautiful neighbor.

    “Do not cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

  10. Bill and Marilyn Unger November 10, 2021 at 2:57 am - Reply

    Greg, you will be so missed. We were lucky to know you for more than 50 years, beginning in the Peace Corps time. We have memories of so many laughs with you and Raymond. We were happy to be part of your wedding in New York City – such an unforgettable weekend.
    The fight you and Raymond mounted against cancer was admirable., a testament to the strength of your character and the depth of your love.
    We are very sad we won’t see you again, but know memories of you will be with us, making us smile..
    Rest in peace and light,
    Bill and Marilyn Unger

    • Raymond K-K May 8, 2022 at 11:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your kind words. They are very comforting. Love you guys.

  11. Anne Finch-Nehring November 10, 2021 at 6:51 am - Reply

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    My Heart and Soul are weeping with Raymond and all of Greg’s beautiful Family. One of my favorite honors in life was being a part of Greg and Raymond’s amazing wedding day!! It was such a beautiful day and I will always treasure the memories and being honored to be their friend.
    All my love and prayers Anne Finch-Nehring

  12. Michele Rasch November 10, 2021 at 7:25 am - Reply

    What a special gift you were given when you became Greg’s friend. Each chance to spend time with him left you with treasure to put in your memory chest. Especially bright in my memory is the wonderful wedding of Greg and Raymond. For a few days, New York city stole the title of “City of Love ” from SF. It seemed as if everything and everyone was wrapped in love that weekend

  13. Thomas W. McGraw November 10, 2021 at 10:00 am - Reply

    From Thomas W. McGraw and Carlos A. Molina
    We first met Greg at a Phantom of the Opera performance in New York under very funny circumstances. Raymond and Tom reconnected after several years and were in the midst of a hug in the middle of the lobby which startled Greg and Carlos. Greg had never met Tom and Carlos.
    After introductions and a good laugh we instantly became good friends.
    We will miss getting together with Greg on our annual Summer trip to Milwaukee.
    Greg will forever be in our prayers as will Raymond and their family.
    With our deepest sympathy,
    Thomas McGraw and Carlos A. Molina

  14. Sharon Dashnier November 10, 2021 at 10:44 am - Reply

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Greg wad a wonderful man. He will live on in the hearts of the many people whose lives he touched.

  15. Scott November 10, 2021 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    I am so sad to learn of Greg’s passing. Raymond, you are in my thoughts. Greg was such a good man. He brightened the lives of many.

  16. Susan Powers November 11, 2021 at 4:43 am - Reply

    Raymond:: my heart & prayers are with you at this very sad time. Susan Powers

  17. Roy Bishop November 11, 2021 at 8:13 am - Reply

    Love and hugs to you Raymond in this time of grief. My heart aches for you. Roy Bishop

  18. Kathleen McCarthy November 11, 2021 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    I was lucky to be Greg’s onstage wife in a couple of plays at WRCT. He was generous, talented, and always so funny. A bright light just went out in this universe, but his memory will burn on. He was so in love with you Raymond, and always looked forward to you coming to see him in the plays. May his memory and love sustain through the dark days. Hugs, Kathy McCarthy

    • Raymond K-K May 8, 2022 at 11:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Kathleen. Many happy memories. It’s so sad missing him.

  19. Carmen Alicia Murguia November 12, 2021 at 6:22 am - Reply

    I Loved Greg from the moment I met him — he welcomed me as if we knew one another for years! I will cherish the moments of Greg at my poetry readings, presentations, seeing him at the Galano Club and at the beautiful and warm home he created with Raymond my dear friend who introduced us. Rest in Heaven Querido Greg…

  20. Sandi Zygarlicki November 12, 2021 at 6:46 am - Reply

    Greg was one of the kindest human beings I have ever encountered. It was easy to love him right from the start. I will always cherish the very special thing he did for me when I had COVID. When I could not taste or smell, those cookies he made were the very first thing I could actually taste. And, I have no doubt, it was because I could taste the love with which they were made. And I am ever grateful I got to share that with him … which made us all cry. Thank you Greg for sharing your life and light with us. You will be truly missed. Watch over Raymond and your beautiful family …. and the rest of us that you so touched.

  21. Paula Niemann November 12, 2021 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    I am so very sorry, Raymond, to hear of the loss of your wonderful husband, Greg.. Paul had praised
    him on many occasions regarding his graciousness and many loves and talents..I so hope you can find
    strength in your long, loving relationship with him to
    find some peace for yourself in all the difficult times
    to come..

  22. Adriane Ignowski Piehl November 12, 2021 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    This is such a lovely tribute. I was able to help my mom and dad watch the funeral this afternoon.
    They were very touched and wished they could have been there.

    • Raymond K-K May 8, 2022 at 11:49 pm - Reply

      Thank you Adriane. Love to your folks. Raymond XOXO

  23. Liz November 18, 2021 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Greg was an honourary Brit! Absolutely – he almost deserved a GB passport. We, who knew him in the UK, recognised someone who shared our sense of humour and our values.. I am blessed to have known Greg and I send my love, thoughts and prayers to Raymond and the family.

    • Raymond K-K May 8, 2022 at 11:54 pm - Reply

      Dearest Liz, You will always live on in our hearts. Thank you for everything. You always have a place to stay with me whenever you might come to the Mainland. XO

      Henry made it back without a scratch. XO

  24. Ted & Helen Wells December 1, 2021 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Dear Raymond,

    That is a most wonderful tribute to Greg; both your words and your images. You have been a wonderful partner to a fried we’ve known for more than 50 years. Thanks in part to your own love, Greg will be remember not mourned, for he lead a fascinating life that touched many, many people, including us in New Zealand.. In peace,

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