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

Marcella "Marcy"
Orlowski

Marcella “Marcy” Orlowski

Marcella passed away peacefully on Tuesday April 4, 2017,two months shy of her 94th birthday. Marcy was born to John and Catherine Laskowski on June 18, 1923. She is preceded in death by her parents and her brother, John Laskowski, her first husband, Joseph “Johnny” Vitas, her second husband, Sylvester “Syl” Orlowski Sr., and her dearest daughter and best friend Christine Vitas. Beloved mother of John (Kathi) Vitas and Sylvester “Sly” Orlowski Jr. Beloved grandmother to Joseph Nelis, Jonathan (Jenniffer) Vitas and Jennifer (Thomas) Labanowski. Great-grandmother to Chloe Nelis, Lucy Labanowski, Jack Vitas and Ellie Vitas. Fondly remembered by many friends and family members.

Marcy was a true “depression child”. She lived by the tenets of working hard and saving your money. She dropped out of high school at 16 to work full time in the butcher shop owned by her parents. She married Johnny Vitas, who lived in the neighborhood, after WWII when he was discharged from the Army. Christine came along in 1947 and John four years after that. Tragically, Johnny passed away from complications of surgery in 1954. Marcy worked at her parents store during the day and cleaned for MPS at night. She also cleaned the tavern owned by her friends and in-laws Mike and Helen Amidzich. She did whatever was necessary to provide for her two young children.

Marcy loved to watch baseball. When the Milwaukee Braves won the National League pennant in 1957, Marcy and Helen decided to drive to New York to go to some games accompanied by Helen’s son Michael (later to be known as Pizza Man). They had a great time and helped the Braves win the World Series.

In 1959 Marcy met Sylvester and they married in 1960. “Sly” was born a year later. They bought a small house near the airport in 1963 and the family of five of moved in. Marcy worked for National Foods and Kohl’s as their delicatessen expert. They would assign her to various stores to increase the profitability of the deli. Her work ethic and butcher shop experience paid off.

Marcy always put family first. She would do without so there was always a safety net. She would drive the old car for a few more years. The kitchen cabinets were good enough. The TV still worked even if the color was a little off. The kids all knew that if we needed help “Ma” would be there, no matter what. But you would have to sign a promissory note. That was the rule.

After the kids moved out, Marcy switched careers and became an inspector for Astronautics. Her job was to make sure that every circuit board used on aircraft instrumentation was manufactured correctly. Think about that the next time you fly.

Joe was born in 1977 and Marcy became a grandma. She babysat for Joe whenever she could. Jonathan came along in 1984 and Jenni in 1987. Marcy decided to retire and try to enjoy life. She ramped up her time in the garden and enlisted Syl Sr., John and Syl Jr. to do the heavy work. Marcy decided she needed to get more exercise and joined a water aerobics class. She went religiously for years.

In 1995 when retirement was going pretty well, Syl Sr. was diagnosed with cancer and died a few days later. Marcy found herself a widow for a second time. She took it hard but again became the rock she always was. She and Chris became much closer and the two even took a cruise to Alaska.

Three years later, tragedy struck again when Chris was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was a two-year battle and Marcy and Chris became even closer. They talked several times a day and Marcy went there almost every day. In 2000 Chris passed away. Marcy took it very hard. She had accepted being a widow (twice) but burying her daughter was almost more that she could handle. But Marcy did what she had done all her life. She pulled herself back together and went back to living life. She had two sons and three grandchildren to pass on her work ethic to. She was successful.

In 2009, fate came knocking and Marcy’s world changed again. Marcy always said she was only leaving her house feet first. She got her wish. She fell and broke her hip and was taken to the hospital on a stretcher. Her hip was repaired and she worked hard in rehab, but she would never walk again. This was the beginning of the end.

She lived in several assisted living facilities but ultimately needed more care and was ultimately able to move into St John’s on the Lake. St. John’s has a beautiful facility and provides excellent care to its residents. The staff, especially Rose, treated Marcy as if she was their own mother.

She thought about her grandchildren until the very end and always asked the same questions, “How’s our Jenni doing? How’s our Jonathan doing? Did you talk to Joe lately?” Her short term memory was failing so you had to be prepared to hear the questions several times during the same visit.

The great grandbabies always made her smile whenever they visited. Due to location, some were able to come more often than others. She understood the reasons they couldn’t visit but still got great joy from all of them.

In February of 2017 Marcy was admitted to a hospice program due to internal bleeding. She declined rapidly and ultimately succumbed to the condition. She died peacefully, in the presence of staff, before the family could get there.

Marcy had a rough life, but with courage, love and hard work, almost made it to 94. She will be remembered for her strength, her love, and her laugh. She was one of a kind. We will all miss “Marcella”, “Marcy”, “Ma”, “Gramma” and “Great Gramma”.

We all love you.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. John’s on the Lake would be appreciated.

Private family services will be held.

Past Comments

Lois Roszak

That was a beautiful tribute. She sounded like a fascinating woman, and I am sorry I never had the chance to meet her. Tom and I send our deepest condolences. Lois (and Tom) Roszak

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