MARY ANN OGUREK, age 90, of Thorp, WI, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, at Azura Memory Care in Eau Claire, WI. Funeral services will be held at 11am on Wednesday, September 25, 2019, at St. Bernard-St. Hedwig's Catholic Church in Thorp. Rev. Baskaran Sandhiyagu will officiate, and burial will follow in New St. Hedwig's Catholic Cemetery. Pallbearers will be: Matthew Zawacki, Todd Zawacki, Jacob Zawacki, Trevor Zawacki, Jessica Zawacki, and Amanda Zawacki. Visitation will be held at the church on Wednesday from 10am until the time of the service.
Mary Ann Zawacki was born on March 14, 1929, in the Town of Withee, rural Thorp, the daughter of William and Emily (Malinowski) Zawacki. She was raised as a strong, joyful, Polish Catholic on the family farm on County Hwy. O. She received her education at the Pineland School and graduated from Withee High School in 1946. After graduation, Mary moved to Chicago and worked at Webster-Chicago Corporation.
Mary married her High School Sweetheart, Frank J. Ogurek, on September 4, 1948, at St. Hedwig's Catholic Church in Thorp. Frank and Mary began their life together in Chicago, where they worked until the birth of their first child. They moved to Lublin, WI in 1949 and lived with Frank’s parents. In 1953, they moved to Bachelor’s Avenue in the Town of Withee, rural Thorp, where Mary was a full-time wife, homemaker, entrepreneur, and raised their family of six children. They were married for 63 loving years.
Mary became Head Librarian and Director at the Thorp Public Library from 1971 until her retirement in 1991. Frank and Mary were owner/operators of several rental properties in Thorp and also the Three Bear’s Day Center from 1975 to 1978.
Mary’s core values were her faith, family and her Polish Heritage. She had many interests, but especially enjoyed spending time with her family and friends, hosting many large family gatherings and cooking all the family’s favorite dishes. Frank and Mary celebrated their 25th Silver Anniversary and 50th Golden Anniversary at the Quonset Hall with traditional polish dishes and a polka band for all to enjoy and celebrate life and love together.
Mary had a warm, welcoming presence, and she genuinely cared for her family and friends. She always made them feel at home, and they always left with a full stomach and smiles on their faces. Mary enjoyed reading, gardening, Polka dancing, doing art, crocheting, knitting, quilting, photography, bowling, ceramics, scrapbooking and traveling. They spent three winters in Florida and also traveled to Poland in 1998. Mary was a strong leader and organizer in everything she did. Mary had a gift of playing music by ear and by everyone’s amazement was able to play any tune on any instrument, including her favorite, the family’s piano.
Mary was a member of St. Bernard - St. Hedwig's Catholic Church and its PCCW, Thorp Historical Society, Rainbow Homemakers Club, 4-H leader for the Pine Valley 4-H Club. Her and Frank earned a Community Service Award through Clark County for their volunteer efforts in the Volunteer Transportation Program. Frank and Mary were members of the Black River Ramblers Good Sam’s Camping Club, traveling and camping all over Wisconsin.
After Frank’s passing, Mary enjoyed spending time with family, friends and played cards with a special group of lovely ladies.
She will be dearly missed by her six children: Dennis Ogurek of Altoona, Patricia Foss of Greendale, Judy (Gordon) Oler of Mondovi, Connie Ogurek (Scott Holzer) of Frisco, CO, Thomas Ogurek of Withee, and Terri Ernst of Owen; eight grandchildren: Luke Foss of Milwaukee, Lisa (Ben) Farley of Brookfield, Stacey Slowiak (Gary Davidson) of Colorado Springs, CO, Ronda Landress (Blaine) Butler of Colorado Springs, CO, Mitchel Ernst of Withee, Jared Ernst of Owen, Erica Ernst of Thorp, and Emily Ernst of Eau Claire; three great -grandchildren: Cameron and Jack Landress of Colorado Springs, CO and Timothy Farley of Brookfield, WI; one brother: Ted (Joan) Zawacki of Eau Claire; and one sister: Joann Muraski of Bellwood, IL; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents; her beloved husband, Frank J. Ogurek, on October 23, 2012; one grandson: Andy Oler; and one sister: Rose Mary Pszeniczny in 2017.
The family requests that donations be given in Mary's name to the Thorp Public Library or the Thorp Historical Society.