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

Rae H

As many would agree, Rae Soczka was truly one of a kind. Whether for family, extended family and even strangers, Rae made herself available to all with her loving and giving heart. In the lives of those she touched, there is now a void where her love once embraced, but with loving remembrance, she will live on in their hearts forever.

Rae entered the world in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 25, 1953. The daughter of Raymond and Agnes (Johnston) Slope, she joined her older brother of ten years, Michael, whose father had been lost while serving in the Navy during WWII. Growing up, Rae held treasured memories of times spent at her mother’s family farm in North Carolina, and learned the art of hospitality and being a true southern girl. She loved visiting with her relatives and often reminisced about the happy times she enjoyed each summer there.

Times for Rae growing up were difficult, after her mother divorced, Agnes was a single mother again, and very protective of her only daughter. Agnes held down a full time job and Rae became very self- sufficient. As a teen, Rae had the daily responsibility of putting dinner on the table and cleaning the house. She often joked that she met her mother at the door, after work, with slippers in hand and then would ask very sweetly if she could go to a friends house for a while. It was absolutely mandatory that Rae had to be in before dark.

When Rae was 8 years old, she and Agnes met the love of their lives. Clarence Ahlers was working construction on a church down the street from their apartment. He started out just greeting them with a “Hello” and finally got up the nerve to talk to Agnes.

All of their dates included little Rae. If he brought a corsage for Agnes, he brought a miniature one for Rae. Every Sunday she looked forward to a special outing at a favorite family restaurant and a nice drive in the country. It wasn’t long before they got married and their lives were complete. Rae adored Clary for being a wonderful father and loved him for bringing out the best in Agnes.

Rae attended West Milwaukee High School. With her outgoing, fun loving ways and her great sense of humor, she formed many friendships. But the first day of her junior year changed her life forever when she met Glenn Soczka. He was a fellow student in her 7th hour. After class, she went right up to him and asked to speak with him. Both 16 years old, it was only the beginning of many memorable years together. Rae graduated in 1971 and continued her education at Sacred Heart School of Nursing where she went on to receive her nursing degree as an LPN. After dating for five years, the couple eventually exchanged vows of marriage on February 23, 1974 in West Allis, Wisconsin. Although an extremely cold Wisconsin day, the 13 inches of snow during the snowstorm the day before could hardly get in their way.

Rae worked in various nursing capacities at area hospitals, nursing homes and home healthcare. Glenn went on to work in the lawn care business for over 30 years. They made their first home together at 1929 S. 29th Street in Milwaukee where they began their family with the birth of their daughter, Sarah in September of 1975. Their second daughter, Katie, was born in July of 1978 and Adam completed their family in February of 1981. Rae was a wonderful mother and provided a loving and secure home for her children. She cultivated a very close friendship with her children as they entered into adulthood. Many of her children’s friends found Rae to be a surrogate mother.

An extremely independent woman, there wasn’t anything that she couldn’t do. Her friends knew who to call for a sympathetic ear, emotional support and often an expert hand in decorating their house or planning a party. She simply did what needed to be done to get things accomplished.

She always put her family first and tried to provide everything in life she could for them. She passed on a lot of her strength and determination to her children by being an example. Although she always said she was no “Betty Crocker and more like, “Chef Boyardee” she always had dinner on the table and found quality family time. Together with her three kids, Rae packed up the car twice a year for the long road trip from Milwaukee to North Carolina. With Glenn staying home for work, she would stay with her relatives there for 2-3 weeks at a time. As a family, they enjoyed many road trips together to the Wisconsin Dells, Door County, and camping at several parks around the state. Once Rae and Glenn went on their first cruise they were hooked, and continued to enjoy more for a total of seven cruises in all!

Above all, Rae’s favorite thing to do was to go camping with her grandchildren and friends. She had 13 grandchildren. Arianna, Elias, Isabella, Cruz, Makenna, Gavin, Reese, Chase, Morgan, Kaylee, Madelyn, Colton and Hailey. She offered them unconditional, grandmotherly love and great advice from life experiences. She supported them, encouraged them and reassured them that they could come to her for anything and laid a strong Christian foundation.

Life for Rae turned in a new direction when she came to have a personal relationship with the Lord. While working alongside another nurse, Cheryl Rodriguez, at Regency Terrace, Rae was invited to attend a Bible Study taught by Pastor Anthony Tamel. It was there in 1984 when Rae was born again and baptized in the name of Jesus and filled with His spirit. Rae soon became part of a small group from church where they each became her “extended” family. They did everything together, and shared in all their life’s experiences.

Ever the nurse, Rae often extended herself to care for ill members of her friends’ families. Never having to be asked, it was simply a part of Rae’s nature to extend her loving care. Going the extra mile for others and never expecting anything in return defined the type of woman Rae Soczka was. A true friend, she’d give everything she had and then some to those she loved and cared about, and her concern was always focused on others. She had a special way of making everyone in her life feel special, important and as if they were her very best friend and everyone considered her their best friend. She even made her children feel like they were each her favorite, and treated her children’s spouses as if they were her own.

Rae received the news the day after Thanksgiving last year that she had been diagnosed with stage four sarcoma. She put up a good fight and battled the disease fiercely for the next nine months, but sadly, at the age of 58, Rae died Wednesday August 17, 2011 surrounded by each of “her favorites” and her very best of friends.

Rae was the beloved wife of Glenn; cherished mother and best friend of Sarah (Benito) Martinez, Katie (Russell) Sadowski and Adam Soczka; adoring grandmother of Arianna, Elias, Iasbella, Cruz, Makenna, Reese, Gavin, Morgan, Madelyn, Hailey, Chase, Kaylee and Colton; dear sister of Michael (Pat) Johnston; other relatives and many “best friends”. Visitation with her family will be Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at Parkway Apostolic Church, 10940 S. Nicholson Road, Oak Creek, Wisconsin from 11:00 AM until 12:45 PM. The funeral service for Rae will take place at 1:00 PM with private interment Forest Hill Memorial Park. To leave a favorite memory, submit a photo or to sign her online guest book, please visit Arrangements are being handled by the Suminski Life Story Funeral Homes – Niemann/Suminski (414) 744-5156.

Past Comments

The Wahner Family

Dear Soczka Family,

It was an honor to have known Rae for as long as we have. Rae will always be remembered as the sweetest woman we have ever known, always ready with a hug and a smile! May the Lord keep you in his arms during this time of sorrow. Always remember she has touched many a soul and will always be near and dear to those who had the pleasure of knowing Rae.

God Bless you all and please call on us if you should need anything, we will be there for you.

Sheri / Sharlene Baumgartner

Although Rae & I attennded West Milwaukee High – I’m sorry to say that I didn’t have the opportunity to know her well. I did however, know her husband, Glen – since St. Rita’s (Grade) School. I enjoyed reading their Life Story – and am happy that they found Love in each other – in a time of broken families and torn apart lives. I am glad, too, that Rae was (won) one in the Lord. I’m sure she was a blessing to all who really knew her. I’d like to offer my Sympathies to her Family and Friends. Prayers for you and yours. I’m so sorry Glen for your deep loss.

Sheri / Sharlene

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