Raymond Florian Hroscikoski, 93 years old, formerly of LaValle, WI, died at home Monday, April 1, 2013 of age-related frailties and heartache at the loss of his wife, Marcella, 2 weeks earlier.
He was born August 9, 1919 in Ashland, WI to Polish immigrants Alex and Mary (Burkhart) Chroscikowski. Before his childhood move to Racine, WI, where some family names were made simpler and less ethnic sounding, he was baptized Roman Hippolit Chroscikowski. The youngest of eleven surviving children, he loved to tell stories of the simple means and close-knit, if sometimes contentious, family life of laborers in a large Polish neighborhood. He did not learn English until he started school. Ray was proud to have served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1946 as a 1st Lieutenant in the Signal Corps of the China-Burma-India Theater. After the war he resumed and completed his college studies in business and commerce at Whitewater State College. He loved his first teaching job in Cazenovia, WI, then joined several family members in the post-war migration to southern California seeking jobs and better pay. He became the business teacher at Colton High School, Colton, CA, and there met the home economics teacher, Marcella Lindeman, who soon became the love of his life. Ray and Marcy married June 14, 1952.
They soon settled in Sunland, CA, and from 1952-1961 Ray was the business teacher at Burroughs High School in Burbank, CA. The quick arrival of four children, and his and Marcy's desire to better provide for their future, brought him from the classroom into administration. Beginning in 1961 until his retirement in 1981, he served as coordinator of adult education for the Burbank School District. Ray enjoyed supporting the adult education teachers and adult learners, but he forever missed being a classroom teacher himself, interacting with students and helping them learn. Education, formal and informal, was important to him, as family, friends, and even strangers who received his educational ministrations well know!
Besides teaching and learning, Ray enjoyed outdoor activities, especially gardening, camping, and traveling. Over many luxurious summers, he and Marcy traveled over every continental U.S. state in a truck and camper with their children. The family toured historical places, factories, and major cities, visited national and state parks and other scenic sites, and relished the diverse beauty of nature and people. After Ray and Marcy retired, they enjoyed traveling to many countries in Europe and Asia. He was full of folk sayings, aphorisms, corny jokes and stories, and often had written puzzles, optical illusions, and stories to share.
The deaths of Ray's elder siblings and arrival of grandchildren brought them in 1994 from forty one years in Sunland, CA to fifteen years in their dream home on Lake Redstone in LaValle, WI. Ray always enjoyed hosting family holiday gatherings with Marcy there, just as they had with extended family in southern California for so long. From 2009-2012, they lived together at Terrace Heights Apartments in Mauston, WI until illness took Marcy to live at Cottage Care Circle. Ray faithfully visited her there every day the Terrace Heights bus ran until the day before she died on March 16th. Grief and other pain put him to bed a few days later for the next two weeks until he died peacefully at home as he long wished to do. His family is most grateful for the tremendously caring staff at Terrace Heights for several years and recent care assistance from Lorraine Schwab, Jeanne Walsh, and Hospice Touch.
Through his long life, Ray had also been active and a leader in a variety of civic and church organizations, including the Burbank Optimist Club, the Boy Scouts, and the Knights of Columbus. Among many volunteer activities, he prepared tax returns with seniors in Sunland and worked in Public Relations at Mile Bluff Medical Center in Mauston.
Ray was preceded in death by his wife, Marcella, his parents, and all his siblings: Julius, Florian, Frank, Marcel, Feliks, Julia, Frances, Joseph, Clara, Rose, and Sophie.
He is survived by his children: Sr. Mary Hroscikoski, OSF (Little Falls, MN), John (Davenport, IA), Drs. Ann (David) Hoffmann (Mauston), and Amy (Drew) Mitchell (Buckingham, IA); grandchildren: Vincent, Amanda, and Emily Hoffmann, and Joel Mitchell and Claire (Mitchell) Hroscikoski; four nephews and three nieces.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday, April 5, 2013 at Holy Family Catholic Church in LaValle, WI, at 2:00 pm, with a visitation beginning at 12:30 pm. After the post-funeral meal, his body and Marcy's cremains will be buried at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Mauston, WI.
Memorials are preferred to Holy Family Church, LaValle, WI, or Hospice Touch at Mile Bluff Medical Center in Mauston.