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

Rita J.

  • Visitation: Wednesday, September 7, 2022 from 4 PM – 7 PM at Heritage Funeral Homes (9200 S. 27th St. Oak Creek, WI)
  • Prayer Service: Wednesday, September 7, 2022 from 6:30 PM at Heritage Funeral Homes (9200 S. 27th St. Oak Creek, WI)
  • Visitation: Thursday, September 8, 2022 from 10 AM – 11 AM at St. Peter and Paul Polish National Catholic Church (1308 15th Ave. South Milwaukee, WI)
  • Funeral Mass: Thursday, September 8, 2022 from 11 AM at St. Peter and Paul Polish National Catholic Church (1308 15th Ave. South Milwaukee, WI)
  • Interment: Thursday, September 8, 2022 from 12:30 PM at Chapel Hill Memorial Park

Rita J.  Kaniewski (nee Bakalarski) of Oak Creek, formerly of Franklin, Wisconsin joined her husband Stanley in heaven on Friday, September 2, 2022 at the age of 92.  Loving mother of Bruce (Liz), Karen Chadwick (the late Jordan), Kim Pfister (Thurston Munn), Brian (Therese), and Eric.  Cherished Grandmother of Nicholas (Jennifer) Pfister, Stacy (Mark) Lalumondier, Nate Chadwick, Kayla (Colin) Thorpe, Troy (Rebecca) Chadwick, Lauren (Justin) Stefanski, Adam (Ellen) Kaniewski, Connie, Daniel and Matthew Kaniewski.  Dearest Busia of Elizabeth, Lillian and Joshua Pfister, Philip Lalumondier, Evelyn and Charlotte Stefanski, Tate and Jace Chadwick, Cormac Thorpe, and Elizabeth G. Special Aunt of Andy (Jan), Tom (Debbie) Bakalarski and their families.  Dear friend of Robert and Marian Schultz.  Further survived by nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.

Rita was preceded in death by her husband Stanley, parents Felix and Eugenia Bakalarski, parents-in-law Stanley and Mary Kaniewski, brother Myron Bakalarski (the late Carole, the late Marilyn) and brothers and sisters-in law.

Rita graduated in January 1948 from Girl’s Technical and Trade High School where she honed her sewing and cooking skills.  After high school she worked at Waier’s Bridal Shop on Mitchell Street where her specialty was sewing bridal headpieces and veils.  While raising her family of five, Rita joined the Board of Directors of Federation Life Insurance of America and served for over 20 years, ending her tenure as Woman Vice President.

Rita was a life-long member of the Polish National Catholic Church, attending Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Milwaukee and later joining Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in South Milwaukee.  With her involvement in the choirs and various societies of the church, she met and married the love of her life, Stanley (Staś) on September 4, 1954.  Rita and Stanley were members of The Milwaukee Circle Choir of the Polish National Catholic Church for over 50 years and passed their love of music to their children.

For many years, and as recently as this past July, Rita used her baking and cooking skills at church dinners, bake sales, and socials.  The parish uses her recipe for pączki and her homemade prune filling (powidła) to make over 1,000 pączki every year.

Rita will be affectionately remembered for her warm smile, caring manner and generosity (and roast beef, chop suey, potato kluski and rainbow jello).  Her amazing love and support will be dearly missed by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to Sts. Peter and Paul PNCC.


  1. Stan Kopaczewski September 4, 2022 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Bruce, Karen, Kim, Brian & Eric – our thoughts & prayers are with each of you and your loved ones, May the many great memories and time you have been blessed to have and enjoy with Mom help you through these difficult times. Mom was so proud of each you the persons you have become, Dear ‘senior’ cousin Rita thanks for the many memories..RIP CUZ – Stas’ & Dianne Kopaczewski

  2. Bruce and Carol Lagerman September 5, 2022 at 8:26 am - Reply

    What an exceptional life Rita lived. The love and memories will live on in your wonderful family. She impacted so many lives. I so enjoyed talking with her whenever I saw her. Our thoughts and prayers are with your whole family.

  3. CC. Westgaard September 5, 2022 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    A lovely woman who lived an exemplary life. and such a good humour.
    I think we should call our paczki “Busia Rita’s Paczki” from now on.

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