Marlene Ann Wolinski, 87, of Farwell, died Saturday, November 27th at Brookefield Park in St. Paul following an extended illness.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10:30 A.M. on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Farwell. Father Alexander Borzych will be presiding. Inurnment will be at the Czechoslovakian Cemetery in Farwell.
Marlene Ann (Platek) Wolinski was born March 30, 1934, at her parent's farm west of Farwell, daughter of Carrie (Hurt) and Henry Platek. Her parents, her husband Don, sister Barbara Stefanowicz of Ashton, and brother John Platek of Farwell, preceded her in death. Marlene and Don had celebrated 57 years of marriage shortly before his passing in 2008. Survivors in the immediate family include son David and daughter Kim of Colorado Springs, son Kelly of Lincoln, and grandchildren Colton and Chase Wolinski of Omaha.
Attending a one-room country school near her parent's farm and later attending Farwell High School, Marlene graduated in 1951, marrying high school sweetheart Don Wolinski on October 8 that year. Shortly after, Don was drafted by the Army. After visiting him at basic training in El Paso, TX, she joined him in Camden, NJ/Philadelphia, PA, where son David was born in 1953.
After Don's discharge from the military, they returned to Farwell, welcoming daughter Kim in 1956. Don's employment led them to rent a home on a farmstead near Ord for two years. In 1961 they returned to Farwell and purchased a home, where they welcomed son Kelly that summer. Fully renovating the house themselves, it remained the family home for 58 years.
Marlene was a lifelong partner with Don in farming. Over the years, she also "raked tea" (packed explosives) at the Grand Island Ordnance Plant in the early '70s, supported her mother's Carrie's Café in Farwell, gathered local news for the Phonograph-Herald, was hostess at Paul's Supper Club in St. Paul, and later managed Farwell Bank for several years. She ultimately enjoyed being the receptionist for Lukasiewicz Furniture in Farwell before retiring to care for Don due to his onset of macular degeneration.
A member of St. Anthony's Auxiliary and the church's accountant, she also participated in the St. Paul Legion Auxiliary and its numerous associated events. The community also found her in the ongoing support of local Red Cross blood drives, the development of the Farwell Park, playing on the local softball team in the 60s and 70s, and being an actress in the Farwell Days Melodrama.
As a young teen, she played guitar and recorded "Old Shep" on an early cylinder record (the first recording format) at her uncle John Juel's radio shop in Farwell. She had a lovely voice, always singing along to the radio and whistling like a bird, enjoying all the music.
Their genuine love of dancing took her and Don to weekend polka dances for decades. Her closet swelled with dozens of well-loved heels in tribute.
Marlene truly enjoyed travel. Don's business retreats and invitations from far-flung Army buddies, friends, and family led to visits from coast-to-coast. She leaves a legacy of city photos and souvenirs from Boston to San Diego, New York City to Miami, and nature treks from Hawaii's beaches to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon.
She loved the local farm community, nourished a big garden to harvest her favorite vegetables and flowers, and kept a beautiful lawn.
Though admitting she didn't know how to boil water when she married, everyone will remember her as an extraordinary cook known for homemade cookies, bread, and traditional Czech pastries. She loved Christmas decorating and welcomed many trick and treaters on Halloween.
Throughout her life, she cherished all animals--there is nary a vintage photo of her without a pet. She often reminisced her youth—the quiet strolls leading cows from the pasture for their evening milking—and always a dog by her side. She walked Farwell's local roads and side paths with beloved dogs everyone knew--Tina, Buddy, and Otto--enjoying the Nebraska fields and the wide-open sunsets. They returned to the content, local cats that found ready food bowls on her back steps.
A "Marlene" story that remains our family favorite reflects her always-determined nature:
A young Marlene, always discouraged from venturing over the farm's adjacent deep creek trestle bridge, nonetheless elected one day to climb under its support beams to carve her name and sign the date. That bridge was replaced many years ago, with the original bridge moved and restored on an historic trail just south of Dannebrog on Highway 51. Mom did share that out of curiosity some years ago, she parked on the side of the highway and embarked on another under-the-bridge tour to seek that original carving. "I couldn't find it," she said. "But it's still there, somewhere."
Thanks for the memories, Mom. We love you!
A special note to the community:
Thank you to the many remarkable, loving friends and family members that embraced our parents, Don and Marlene Wolinski, and lent helping hands over many years. Mom and Dad loved small-town Nebraska living, knowing there are very few places left where ‘the village’ literally takes care of its own, as you did.
There were many ongoing stresses, and distance made it challenging for us to address their day-to-day needs. You have all been an incredibly loving and caring ‘family’ that supported both them and us. We will never forget your kindnesses.
Sincerely: Dave, Kim, and Kelly Wolinski
In lieu of flowers, friends may send memorial contributions to the Farwell Volunteer Fire Department or to the family for designation, to: Remembering Marlene Wolinski, c/o Old Town Guesthouse B&B, 115 S. 26th St, Colorado Springs, CO, 80904.