Wisdom often comes from experience. Through hardship and struggle, the lessons of life can often be daunting, but the knowledge learned through experiences ultimately brings forth wisdom. Although Wayne Kopidlowski may have learned the hard way in his younger years, he was undoubtedly loved by those who believed in him. He accomplished great things in life, with respect and integrity. A special man in the hearts of those he leaves behind, Wayne will be dearly missed and remembered lovingly.
With the baby boom in full swing, the 1950s marked a quieter, more stable time in American history. Families did much together, and evenings were spent watching favorite television programs like The Ed Sullivan Show, and I Love Lucy. Matchbox cars and Pez candy dispensers made their debut while manufacturing jobs were at an all time high. On February 11, 1952, in the bustling city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Edward and Charlotte (Daulke) Kopidlowski were celebrating a joyous event as they welcomed the birth of their first child, a baby boy they lovingly named Wayne.
Young Wayne attended St. Barbara’s grade school in Milwaukee before the family moved to Sarasota, Florida in 1962 where they managed a motel and where Wayne completed grade school. His most cherished memories are walking on the beach at Siesta Bay gathering sea shells with his mother. Their life together while in Florida provided enjoyable times as a family. After they returned to Wisconsin, Wayne and his family settled in Franklin where Wayne went on to attend Oak Creek High School. A rambunctious and often mischievous boy, Wayne was always intrigued with gadgets and anything electronic. He once even rewired his room in order to operate everything remotely. Wayne loved music. In high school, he played the trumpet and when some friends wanted to form a band, Wayne was the guitar player.
People usually learn life’s lessons the hard way, or the easy way. It seemed that early on, Wayne usually learned everything the hard way. At the age of 16, Wayne was eager to be on his own. With defiance, he announced that he could hardly wait to turn 17 so he could move out. His mother, a wise woman, called his bluff. On his 17th birthday, Wayne came home to find his suitcase packed with his belongings. After sheepishly looking at his mother, Wayne took his suitcase back to his room, realizing where he was loved.
Wayne was also 17 when he got the itch to buy a car. His dad didn’t want him taking on someone else’s troubles, so they decided to buy a brand new, 1969 Dodge Charger. The envy of his friends, the car was Wayne’s pride and joy until he crashed into a mailbox. Wayne’s eagerness also got the best of him during his senior year when he left school for a $2.00 an hour job. Soon realizing advancement toward anything better would be difficult, he went on to earn his G.E.D. Wayne continued working, searching for his calling in life. His search took him to working in a butcher shop, selling insurance, installing swimming pools, installing siding on homes to name a few.
Finally, Wayne found his passion through the influence of his father who worked as a pattern maker. Wayne started at Midwest Pattern and moved on to Badger Pattern. where he received his journeyman status. Self taught, Wayne was eager to learn new things. He observed the other tradesman, and diligently learned from them. Precision Pattern is where he excelled his career. His mind was always thinking, scheming and planning how to improve things. He had hopes of coming up with the one special gadget that would become a leader in the industry.
In his thirties, Wayne was at a local tavern with friends when he met a beautiful, young woman named Lisa Pintaro. Soon after, that fateful encounter, Lisa introduced Wayne to her family, including her 4-year old daughter, Sabrina. For Wayne, it was instant father and daughter relationship. Quite taken with Lisa, she soon became Wayne’s best friend, and the love of his life. They united their life together in marriage on October 17, 1987 in Sturtevant, Wisconsin. They were blessed with the birth of their son, Erik, November 1, 1988. Wayne’s family was his greatest joy, and he loved them deeply. Wayne and Lisa were wonderful companions, and loved spending time together. They enjoyed great times going out, just the two of them, and savored simple times too. They could sit on the back deck enjoying one of their favorite drinks, talking long into the night.
All Wayne ever wanted was to be a good provider for his family. Conversations between Wayne and Lisa about starting their own business led to the beginnings of a family business. Hand in hand, Wayne and Lisa formed the Kopp Machine & Tool Corporation. Although it had it’s share of humble beginnings in the garage of their family home, Wayne, Lisa and all their relatives pitched in to help. The business moved to a building they affectionately called, Big Bend Towers. For a time they actually lived there, while their dream home was being built. While they lived there for a short time, they sometimes forgot that it was a place of business. The kids remember having to hide their belongings whenever the shop was inspected. As local businesses placed their confidence in Wayne, his shop grew by leaps and bounds as they counted on Wayne to meet their needs. They moved the business to Muskego for twelve years, eventually purchasing their building in Waterford.
Wayne’s passion revolved around his family and work. He was a tried and true perfectionist which was quite evident in his work. When Wayne came into a room, everyone knew it. Known for his Hawaiian shirts, shorts and boisterous voice, Wayne had a knack for wit. He always came up with unique nicknames for people, and often entered a room announcing, “Waaaynesss Noches!” He made a remarkable and memorable first impression, and was missed when not around. Comfortable in his own skin, Wayne was a matter-of-fact kind of guy. No one ever had to guess where they stood with him. His positive nature and optimistic outlook was contagious.
To unwind, Wayne liked watching TV and enjoyed Sci Fi movies, with Star Trek being his favorite. He also loved CSI, Lost, and Survivor. A kid at heart, one of his remote controlled cars or mini helicopter was always flying about the living room. Wayne loved being around water, fishing and his SKYY Vodka. Beginning with his ‘69 Charger, Wayne’s love for cars continued. Although he liked his Cadillac, Wayne had his sights set on a Hummer. He is sure to be driving one around now in heaven. A healthy lifestyle along with keeping fit and in shape was important to Wayne. Whether is was with friends or by himself, Wayne could be found lifting weights routinely at Innovative Health.
On Tuesday, February 9, 2010, Wayne suffered a massive heart attack while at home with his beloved Lisa. With Lisa at his side, Wayne was transported to St. Luke’s Medical Center in nearby Milwaukee where he passed away. Although Wayne’s death was unbelievably unexpected, those he leaves behind can be assured of his unending love, devotion and dedication. Wayne learned from life’s lessons, and in the end, it brought him great joy and contentment. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered.
A beloved husband and best friend to his wife, Lisa; a loving father to his children, Erik Kopidlowski and Sabrina (J.J.) Frey; cherished son of Edward and the late Charlotte Kopidlowski; dear son-in-law to Frank and Catherine Pintaro. He is further survived by his brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and many other relatives and friends. Family and friends will gather on Tuesday, February 16 at the Parkway Apostolic Church–Chapel, 10940 S. Nicholson Road, Oak Creek, WI from 5:00 PM until the Memorial Service at 7:00 PM. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to leave a favorite memory or photo of Wayne or to sign his online guest book. Arrangements by Suminski Family Funeral Home, 414-744-5156.
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