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

Jean Serene

With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of exciting peaks and challenging valleys, Jean Olejnik made a significant impact in the lives of everyone she met. She was a humble and gracious woman who worked hard in everything she did while savoring the moments she had to spend with the ones she loved most. Jean was a devoted and loving mother who was filled with unspeakable joy to witness her family tree blossom to include three grandchildren and one great-grandchild who were her greatest source of pride and joy. A woman who was content in all things, Jean was a longtime resident of the community she loved. Truly beautiful on the inside and out, she will be deeply missed but never forgotten.

The first half of the 1940s was defined by our nation’s involvement in WWII. Although we had hopes of remaining neutral, those hopes were dashed with the attack on our naval base in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The years that followed were filled with countless young servicemen and women being sent overseas to serve in the fight for the preservation of our freedoms while those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on common goods and manufacturing that was focused on supporting the war effort. The year 1945 was a year to remember as America and our allies were victorious, bringing an end to the war bringing great celebration in the streets. This same year was filled with unspeakable joy for a young couple from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for a much different reason as they were pleased to announce the birth of their healthy baby girl on June 12th. Jean Serene was the older of two daughters born to her parents, Emil and Lorraine (Brassington) Zittman, and she was raised in the family home in the Bay View area alongside her sister, Joanne.

Jean was a young girl of her generation and enjoyed many of the things that young girls so often do, including dance and batons. She enjoyed parades with marching bands. She was a student at local schools and went on to graduate from Bay View High School.

Throughout her life there was nothing more precious to Jean than her family. She was thrilled to become a mother to four amazing children including Janet, Terry, Nancy, and Cindy, and for the past 40 years she was blessed by the companionship of Leroy Olejnik. Together Jean and Leroy watched their family expand to include more people to love when their children grew older and established families of their own. It was easy to see that Jean’s four children, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild put the joy in her heart. Her love for her family was second only to her faith as Jean’s faith was a cornerstone in her life, and it kept her grounded when the storms of life came her way.

As her family and friends can attest, Jean had a strong work ethic. Jean worked several jobs, at a printing company, Chrysler auto plant and as an assembler for over 18 years at W.B. Bottle Company in Bay View. Jean’s retirement years looked different from most as she continued working part-time in the deli department at the Pick & Save Store in Bay View. She enjoyed vacationing in Wisconsin Dells, or camping with family.

For as long as she was able, Jean maintained an active lifestyle, but as her health began to decline her physical needs limited her more and more. When needed, Jean moved into an assisted living facility, Franciscan Gardens in South Milwaukee, where she spent the majority of her sunset years. When she needed more hands-on care, she entered Zilber Family Hospice in Wauwatosa. It was there that she drew her last breath.

With unending love for her family, Jean Olejnik filled her days with the people and things she loved. She was never one to worry about the little things, and she remained focused on what really matters in everything she faced. Jean worked hard in everything she did both inside and outside of her home, and she loved nothing more than being surrounded by her family and friends. She leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever cherish.

Jean S. Olejnik died on February 7, 2015. Jean’s family includes her children, Janet (Andy) Liebsch, Terry (Candy) Molkentin, Nancy (John) Heinowski, and Cindy Olejnik; companion, Leroy Olejnik; 3 grandsons, Robert, Jonathan and Tayvius, 1 great-grandson Ayden Alan as well as other relatives and friends. Visitation at the Funeral Home on Thursday, February 12th from 10 a.m. until the time of service at 11 a.m. Interment Woodlawn Cemetery. Arrangements provided by Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes, Niemann / Suminski, 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Ave 414-744-5156. Please visit where you can leave a memory or sign the online guestbook.

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