A friend to many and a stranger to none, it was clear that Bob “Jazz” Jazdzewski was a people person through and through. He shared the friendships of many, and endeared all with his great sense of humor. He was a proud Veteran who served his community, and knew well the value of commitment and integrity. Most importantly, Bob’s love and encouragement towards those closest to him will forever be a reminder of his unending devotion.
By 1932, America’s economy continued to deteriorate as a result of the Great Depression. Unemployment increased to just over 24 percent with an astounding 13 million out of work. Many struggled to keep their families fed, a roof over their heads, and a dime in their pockets. Even so, for Francis “Frank” and Nellie (Rewolinski) Jazdzewski of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the year offered hope and promise as they celebrated the birth of their son, Robert William Jazdzewski, born on May 14, 1932.
The youngest of three, Bob joined his older siblings, Marion and Donald on Brady Street on the eastside of Milwaukee where his family made their home. His grandfather established an insurance agency and People’s Savings and Loan, in the Brady Street area, where Bob’s father, Frank became president. In time, Bob also worked for the savings and loan.
Bob’s family was devout to their Catholic faith. During his school years, he attended St. Hedwig’s through the fourth grade. For the fifth through eighth grade, he went to Holy Rosary School. Bob took a keen interest in music at this time, and from the ages of 7 to 17, he took piano lessons. In high school his athletic side shone bright playing football, and in the summer leagues, he played baseball. Even during his youth, Bob enjoyed a good game of cards which continued throughout his life, especially cribbage and poker. He later came to enjoy the game of golf, playing with his coworkers in a golf league.
After graduating from Don Bosco High School, Bob went on to attend Marquette University for the next year. He later received his associate’s degree in Business and Finance from the University of Wisconsin extension. At the height of the Korean War in 1953, Bob entered the U.S. Army and was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany. Typing 52 words per minute, he served as a clerk typist for the 7th Army Headquarters until his honorable discharge in 1955. As a proud Veteran, Bob later became quite involved in several Veteran organizations. He was a member of the American Legion, and the V.F.W. where he served as Post Commander, and participated and supported post activities.
Bob didn’t have to look far for the love of his life, Virginia Terry from Brighton, Wisconsin. She came to Milwaukee and attended Notre Dame High School, residing with her sister and brother-in-law, who lived across from Jazdzewski’s home on Brady Street. Bob and Ginny knew each other from the neighborhood, and before long there was no denying their mutual attraction.
The day Bob married his beloved Ginny was the best day of his life. On October 15, 1955, at St. Francis Xavier Church in Brighton, Wisconsin, Bob and Ginny shared vows of marriage. Making their home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, they soon began a family of their own with the birth of Terry in 1956, Joan in 1957, Jan in 1959, and Tammy came along in 1961.
In 1965, Bob packed up his family and moved to Grosse Ile, Michigan where they welcomed the birth of Tom in 1965, Julie in 1967, and their family was made complete with the arrival of John in 1968. Bob and Ginny lovingly raised their family on Grosse Ile, remaining there until the kids finished high school.
Bob was involved in his children’s activities and never ceased in sharing his love, encouragement and advice. He was a great father, and wonderful listener, too. He coached little league football, high school football, and later, he and Ginny were little league umpires.
For most of his career, Bob worked for the State of Michigan as a Right of Way Buyer. Following 26 years of service, he retired at the age of 59, but was not quite ready for the recliner, just yet. Bob was truly a people person who needed to keep busy. After moving to Gaylord, Michigan, Bob worked on a golf course as a starter, and also worked in a bowling alley as a night manager. Following their 12 years in Gaylord, Bob and Ginny moved back to Trenton, Michigan to be near family and friends. Bob continued to bowl and golf, and also took a job as a starter at the Lake Erie Golf Course. He found plenty to keep busy, even delivering newspapers and phone books.
Bob had much to be thankful for, including the love of family along with his pets, Whiskers, Hogan, Elvis, and Peanut. He cherished family celebrations and gatherings, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, especially playing Santa Claus to the delight of the children. Bob also enjoyed the blessing of valued friendships which included memorable camping trips, and seeing the sights in Montreal, Quebec, and Washington D.C. Often known by the nickname, “Jazz”, those who were fortunate enough to enjoy Bob’s company were always in for good conversation and plenty of jokes!
In his free time, Bob liked working the daily newspaper crossword puzzles, golfing and bowling. He loved working with his Veteran’s service organizations, and never turned down a moment to smoke one of his pipes or enjoy a good cigar. He was an avid fan of all the Detroit teams, and his favorite, professional golfers included Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, and Jack Nicklaus. When it came to music, Bob liked the sounds of Frank Sinatra. He enjoyed a variety of movies, especially war and John Wayne Movies, and comedies, and also liked watching game shows on TV. Bob especially enjoyed each Wednesday when the family came over for cribbage.
Always one with a good joke, Bob never told the same one twice. When asked to spell his last name, he would say, “Ja – two sneezes to Jesus- ski”. His favorite, all-time sayings included, “If you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all”, and, “If I was any better, I’d need a nurse”, and lest we forget, “Oh, so what!” Bob never hesitated sharing his fun-loving personality with his wife and children. Some of his favorites were, “We can sell the encyclopedia, because your mother knows everything”, and “We would have had a few more kids, but I was sick a few years”. They were often a part of his joke telling, and could give it right back in return; after all, they learned from the best!
Shortly after participating in a Veteran’s Day event on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, Bob experienced a debilitating stroke, and later died. Not left to suffer the pain a stroke can leave such a man, Bob will be fondly remembered for his good will, uncanny sense of humor, and delightful presence. More than anything, it will be his love that is remembered most.
Robert W. “Jazz” Jazdzewski, age 82, of Trenton, Michigan, died on Thursday, November 13, 2014. The beloved husband of Virginia, Bob was the loving father of Terry (Robert) Shuk, Joan (AJ) Banks, Jan (Patrick) Stawara, Tammy (Ronald) Kruse, Thomas (Joanne), Julie (Joe) Sammons and John (Stacey); and further survived by his grandchildren, Nicole, Rachel (Luke), Danny, Samantha, Justin, Alexis, Carley and Madison; six great-grandchildren; his brother, Donald (Johanna) Jazdzewski, other relatives and friends.
Friends may meet with Bob’s family on Thursday, November 20, 2014 from 3-8 PM at The Trenton Chapel-Martenson Family of Funeral Homes, 3200 West Road, Trenton, MI 48183, (734) 671-5400 where the service to celebrate Bob’s life will be held at 7:00 PM with full military honors presented by Down River Veteran’s Honor Guard. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Disabled American Veterans or to the City of Trenton Fire Department. To share a memory or photo of Bob and to sign his online guest book, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.