Joseph “Joe” Marek, age 96, of Bayside, WI, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on August 15, 2021. Joseph was preceded in death by his loving wife of 65 years, Paula. He is survived by their children Janet (Denny) and George (Jeff); and their grandchildren Mark, Emily (Derek), Katherine (Jon) and Michael (Hannah); their great-grandchildren Emmett, Harper, Eleanor and Esme, extended family Josephine (John), Henry (Alfreda), Christine (the late Richard) and Teresa (David) along with nieces, nephews, and other family and friends in the US and Poland. Joseph was preceded in death by his parents Jozef and Jadwiga and three sisters and one brother.
Prior to moving to Bayside several years ago, Joe was a long-time resident of Greendale, Wisconsin. He and Paula lived in their Greendale home for 50 years and made many good friends in the community. Joe was born in Poland. He was 14 years old when the Nazi invasion of Poland occurred on September 1, 1939. By September 2, his hometown was already occupied by the invading forces. So began a tumultuous period of his life, during which he first lived for a number of years under the Nazi occupation, and later was forced to join the German army. He subsequently escaped while in France, surrendered to the Allied forces, and then joined the Polish armed forces under British command. At the end of World War II, Joe lived in London for several years, during which time he worked as a construction laborer, helping to rebuild the war-damaged city. In November, 1949, he emigrated to the United States. He arrived in Milwaukee on Thanksgiving Day, which always gave that holiday additional meaning to him. Within a few months, he was drafted and served in the US Army during the Korean War. At the time of his discharge, he was a Sergeant. Joe met his future wife Paula - a fellow native Pole who also emigrated to the United States after World War II - in Milwaukee, and they were married in 1955. Joe spent the majority of his working life as a printer, including many years operating an offset printing press at W.A. Krueger Company. Joe and Paula were loving and supporting parents to their children Janet and George, and later became doting and active grandparents, particularly after Joe retired. Joe was a true family man: he loved his wife, children, grandchildren, extended family, and most recently, his four great-grandchildren. Joe and Paula loved to dance, and loved a good party - whether they were hosts or guests. They were frequent travelers, both in the United States and in Europe. Proud American citizens since the 1950s, Joe and Paula instilled a great love of the United States to their family, while also opening their eyes to the larger world. Joe truly was an example of the Greatest Generation: he served his family, his country, and made many sacrifices for both. Anyone who knew Joe will recall how much he enjoyed being outdoors and staying active. He loved to ski (both downhill and cross country), and he enjoyed many days in Florida, walking along the beach and swimming in the ocean. An avid tennis player, he played well into his 80s, and enjoyed good health for many more years. Joe provided us with great guidance and wisdom over the years, and was an example of a life well-lived. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. We will hold him close in our hearts.
Visitation will be held at Joseph E. Sass Funeral Home (1019 W. Oklahoma Avenue, Milwaukee) on Sunday, August 22nd from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church (6060 W. Loomis Road, Greendale) on Monday, August 23, at 11:00 a.m. Entombment St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Basilica of Saint Josaphat, the Polish Center of Wisconsin or the Lawlis Family Hospice. The family would like to give special thanks to the staff at the Elizabeth Residence and to Lawlis Family Hospice for the loving care shown to Paula and Joe.
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