John Joseph Wodyn

John Joseph Wodyn

Madison John Joseph Wodyn, a kind, humble, and gentle man, died the morning of June 16, 2014 at the age of 90.

He was born October 22, 1923 to Casimir and Apolonia Wodynski, who had immigrated to Milwaukee from Poland. John spoke of happy days as a child living near the Milwaukee River. He was fond of ice skating and had memories of he and his friends shoveling their own skating rink. His childhood ended early with the beginning of World War II, when John enlisted in the navy as a very young man. Asked once, somewhat naively by his son if he had killed anyone in the war, John replied, “I hope not, I try not to think about it.”

After the war, John married Maxine Gossen on July 17, 1948. He went to college on the GI Bill and became a teacher who taught special education in the Milwaukee Public Schools for nearly 40 years. He received calls at home from a number of his former students long after they reached adulthood, and he always had time to speak with them. John loved to sing, and was a member of several church choirs. He also loved to sing a song or two at weddings, often with his daughter, Linda. He still knew many of the old songs by heart.

John and Maxine were together for over 60 years of marriage. Maxine died on September 21, 2012. They had four children: Judy (Tom McLaughlin), Linda Young (Tom), Michael (Kate), and Laura Ecker (Archie); and six grandchildren: John Burgmaier (Betsie), Rebecca Burgmaier, and Anika, David, Aubrey and Aidan Ecker. He is also survived by his sisters Gertrude Zdroik and Helen Albanese. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Henry and Edwin Wodynski, and sister Mary Grabowski.

John started a new chapter in his life at age 89 when he moved to Oakwood Village assisted living in Madison. He loved walking along the nature trail and was inspired by the size and beauty of the forest there. He discovered a new love for the game of pool and played many games there with his son. Every time he made a difficult shot he laughed and said “pure luck.” John felt like a lucky man right up until the morning he died. Never a complainer, he commented often on how he had a good life. He lived his last days in the moment, appreciating his surroundings, sitting outdoors, and “watching the people come and go.” His family, friends, and former students were lucky to have known him and he will always be missed.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 20,2014 at OAKWOOD VILLAGE UNIVERSITY WOODS CHAPEL,6205 Mineral Point Road, Madison with Chaplain Martha Knack officiating. Visitation will be at the chapel on Friday from 1 p.m. until the time of service. A committal service will be held at a later date at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

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