Ruzek, Lester C.
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Lester Charles Ruzek age 91, of 714 Manitou St. Manitowoc, A great man not defined by fame or wealth but love of family, friends and country died on December 6, 2012. Lester Charles Ruzek was born on November 21, 1921 the first of son of the late Charles and Libbie nee Jirkowic, in the town Franklin in Manitowoc County. His brother Charles Ruzek, Arizona (Charlotte Grall deceased) and sisters Bernice (August) Suemnicht, Reedsburg and (Emil Blahnik deceased), and Evelyn Steeber, Kellnersville, (Richard Steeber deceased) followed.
His father Charles died after a tragic accident when Lester was 16 years old. And so his journey to support his mother and family had begun. He found work farming with a wonderful friend Norman Peck. They enjoyed many special times together at country dances after farm work and family responsibilities were taken care of.
On January 12, 1940 Les joined the United States Marine Corps, just two months after his 18th birthday to further support his family. He enjoyed playing trumpet in the Marine Corps band until he was deployed to Shanghai China. He was captured in the Philippines on May 6, 1941 and later transferred to Japanese prison camp for 3 ½ years. With a strong constitution and will to live he faced many atrocities and survived. Liberation came in late August of 1945. He was awarded two purple hearts a bronze star and the Prisoner of War Medal for his service.
He returned to Wisconsin where he met and married the love of his life Elizabeth (Betty) Cherney daughter of Adolph and Elizabeth Cherney, on July 17th 1946 they married at Saint James Catholic Church in Cooperstown.
After completing his high school education at Manitowoc Vocational School, he began his career as a heavy equipment operator with Adolph Cherney Construction. He retired in 1986 from Lunda Construction as a member of Operating Engineers Local #139.
Lester participated in many activities. He was a member of various baseball teams in the area. In later years he became an avid golfer enjoying tee time with his best brother, son and grandsons. Coaching and watching Steven his son, succeed in sports made him very proud. He was a Green Bay Packer and Milwaukee Brewer fan. Lester and Betty supported their daughters by attending sports, music, dancing, theatre and academic programs. Most of all he had a passion for dancing with Betty until she had to share the spotlight with their three daughters. Organizations Lester was a member of include: Disabled American Veteran's, Life Member of Northeast Wisconsin Prisoners of War (Commander), and Otto-Oas VFW Post #659 Manitowoc, Eagles, Manitowoc Kiwanis Golden K's, Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, former member of Manitowoc Elk's club
Lester and Betty celebrated 66 years of marriage with their children: Sandra Rammer, Appleton, Bonny Meacham, Appleton, Steven Ruzek (fiance, Lisa Quistorf) Two Rivers and Elizabeth Gadson, Marina, CA grandchildren: Andrew Meacham (fiancee, Lori Fischer), Todd (Dawn) Rammer, Tara( James) Hall, Ryan Ruzek (fiancé Andrew Becker), Sarah (Patrick) Hartwick, Pasia Gadson, Alaina Gadson, Robert Moss and 15 great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 15, 2012 at St. Francis of Assisi, Grand Ave. site. The Rev. Dave Pleier will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial with burial and full military honors to be held at Evergreen Cemetery in Manitowoc. Relatives and friends may call at the church on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of services at 11 a.m. A memorial fund has been established in Lester's name. Online condolences may be expressed at www.jensreinboldandpfeffer.com. The Reinbold & Pfeffer Family Funeral Home of Manitowoc is assisting the Ruzek family.
The family would like to thank the nursing staffs of Holy Family Hospital, Shady Lane, St. Mary's at Felician Village and the Cleveland VA Medical clinic staff especially Dr. Bhatia and Amy McKenzie case manager. They all provided Lester with wonderful compassionate care. And last, Rachel Hebert (Home Instead) his in home care provider who took extra special care of Lester.
So today a great love story ends, Betty will kiss Lester and say goodnight my love as she always did, until they meet again.
"AND THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE"
Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette from Dec. 9 to Dec. 14, 2012