Madison - Heinz Kowaczek passed away early Sunday morning, January 6, 2013 after a short illness. He was 92. Henry was born in Germany and served as a tank commander on the eastern front in Word War II. He was wounded, captured, escaped and walked across Romania to re-join his troops. His stories from this time were an unending source of wonder to his family. He married Stefanie Hofer in the last days of the war and escaped with his bride to surrender to the Americans in the west. Following the war, Henry and Stefanie immigrated to America and were assigned to work on a farm outside of Madison, beginning with nothing but the clothing on their backs, no friends or relatives and speaking no English. Then through hard work, frugality and a commitment to personal responsibility they achieved the American dream. Henry worked as a bricklayer and stonemason. He built his home in the Arboretum with his own hands, and many of the beautiful homes and public buildings in Dane county will reflect for generations to come the skill of this master craftsman. He loved lake Wingra and spent countless hours catching bluegills in its waters. Henry was a model of tolerance, good-will, optimism and cheerfulness. Until this winter, he and Stefanie took daily walks through his beloved arboretum.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Sybil, and is survived by his wife Stefanie, daughter Kerstin and husband Steve, grandchildren Jed, Ben and wife Lindsey, Erika and husband Greg and Chris and 2 great-grandchildren, Josie and Lily. The lives of his family and his wonderful neighbors and friends are all better for having known him. Wir lieben dich Opa Henry.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Friends of the Arboretum, Inc at 1207 Seminole Highway, Madison, 53711.