Lillian Leja

Leja, Lillian V.

Lillian V. Leja, age 91, Abrams, passed away on Saturday, January 4, 2014, at Rebekah Haven in Green Bay, surrounded by family.

Lillian, the daughter of John and Mary (Sepiol) Dworniczak, was born November 23, 1922 in Pozna, Poland. She spent her first birthday crossing the Atlantic Ocean with her family as they came to America. They settled in Chicago, Illinois, where Lillian lived until she was 16 years old. The family moved to a dairy farm in Morgan, where Lillian milked six cows by hand every day. She left behind the luxuries of the big city: electricity, heating, and plumbing. When visitors from the city asked if they had running water, the standard reply was, "Yes, you grab two pails and run."

She was hoping to find a good Polish Catholic husband. She prayed to the Blessed Virgin for a good husband. At a dance (a polka dance, of course!) at the Krakow Pavilion, her date introduced her to his friend, Edward "Eddy" Leja. Lillian and Edward were married at St. Casimir Church, Krakow, on June 11, 1949. The couple made their home in Abrams, starting on the farm with Charlie and Leona Leja.

Lillian and Edward were partners in several businesses; Monday through Saturday was dedicated to work. Sunday was dedicated to God, family, and the Green Bay Packers. A season ticket holder since 1949, Lillian only missed three games. Two games were missed while she was traveling in Poland; the other, the Blizzard Bowl with Tampa Bay.

Lillian was a very caring and giving person. She was involved with her church, her community, and her family. She was a member of the St. John Cantius Altar-Rosary Society, the Abrams Mothers' Club, and the Democratic Party of Oconto County. Lillian enjoyed bowling and golfing. She was also a very accomplished seamstress.

Survivors include two daughters: Nancy Jensen, Abrams; and Veronica Leja, Waukesha; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Charlie (Leona) Leja, Abrams; Mary Wojciechowski, Sobieski; Leo (Theresa) Leja, Sobieski; and Alice (Carl) Blazei, Green Bay: many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Edward, in 1975; granddaughter, Erica Jensen, in 1982; son-in-law, Wayne Jensen, in 1986; Nancy's fiancé, Vernon "Butch" Vande Hei, in 2013; four brothers: Matthew and William "Billy" Dworniczak, and two brothers who died in infancy; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Stanley (Estelle) Leja, Chester Wojciechowski, and Joseph Leja.

Friends may call at Marnocha Funeral Home, Pulaski, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. Tuesday, closing Prayer Service at 6:30 p.m. Visitation continues after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, 6051 Noble Street, Sobieski. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the church, Fr. Dane Radecki, O. Praem, presiding. Burial will take place at a later date in the parish cemetery.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to the caring staff of Rebekah Haven who provided Lillian with loving, compassionate care. The family also wishes to thank Heartland Hospice for their assistance.

Online condolences may be expressed at


Funeral Home

Marnocha Funeral Home
186 E. Pulaski Street Pulaski, WI 54162

Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette from Jan. 6 to Jan. 8, 2014