My Great Uncle Johnny Briski died this week.
He was my Grandma Kay’s youngest brother. A nice man with a great wife Florence, I remember how they came to my high school graduation party, how they came a few times every year to visit Grandma, and how they loved to go to the casino. My Mom would tell me about their travels with the singing in their polka/church choir and their wins in the casinos on the slot machines. At Grandma’s funeral Florence put $2.00 in change in Grandma’s purse (all those Briski women were obsessed with their purses and so many were buried with them) so that Grandma could play the slots in heaven and having a empty purse is bad luck. So Mom put some quarters in a baggie to put in Johnny’s casket, so that he too can play the slot machines in heaven! Apparently a pack of cards and a carton of cigarettes were also put into his coffin. A wonderful man that will be greatly missed.
Here is the obit from the Cuddie Funeral Homes http://www.cuddiefh.com/obituaries/view_details.php?oid=952
“JOHN P. BRISKI, age 82, of Greenwood, WI, died on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield. Funeral services will be held at 11am on Saturday, December 31, 2016 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in Greenwood, with Fr. Steve Brice officiating. Visitation will be held at the church, on Saturday, from 9:30am until time of service. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery with military rites conducted by the Greenwood American Legion Post 238. Pallbearers will be his grandsons: Jeremy, Christopher and Cory Lindgren, Kyle and Tony Briski, and Resse and Tyson Smith.
John Peter Briski was born on May 22, 1934 in the Township of Mead, rural Greenwood, the son of Matt and Katarina (Zagar) Briski. John was the youngest of fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters. As a youngster, he was interested in music and singing. He played trombone in the high school band and liked all types of music. His favorite were polkas and waltzes and enjoyed dancing to such. John in his earlier years, was an assistant projectionist at the Ritz Theatre in Greenwood, and an assistant bookkeeper for Plautz Brothers Construction Co. in Willard, WI.
A 1952 graduate of Greenwood High School, he attended Wisconsin State University of Eau Claire and received a Bachelor of Science degree. He was united in marriage to the former Florence Przybylski on October 13, 1956 at St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church, in Thorp. John was drafted in the US Army on June 6, 1957 and received his basic training at Fort Hood, Texas. A member of the 41st Infantry, he was stationed the majority of the time at Neu Ulm, Germany, whereas, he had the opportunity to attend the World’s Fair in Brussels, Belgium. He made numerous excursions to Italy, including the Vatican, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Austria and numerous other countries, including visiting his maternal and paternal relatives, in which was Communist Yugoslavia, in 1958. In Croatia, he went to Zagreb, its capital and Delnice, where his parents were born. He received his honorable discharge as Specialist 4th Class at Fort Sheridan, Illinois on May 20, 1959. Following his discharge, he and his wife lived in Withee, WI. He taught 34 years, the majority in the Owen-Withee School District. John retired from teaching in 1990, and he and Florence moved to Greenwood in 2002, after her retirement from a banking career of 30 years.
He and his wife celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2006 by going on a European trip, which took them to Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. A few years later, another trip was taken overseas to enjoy the sights of Italy and its history. In October of 2016, they celebrated 60 years of marriage with their immediate family.
As a naturalist, John loved nature in its fullest and saw great beauty in the four seasons. He always looked forward, in great anticipation, to spring, with the arrival of migrating birds. He enjoyed watching the Milwaukee Brewers and was a devout fan of the Packers. Another joy was being with his family, 10 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren, and the many parties, games and family picnics. He also enjoyed putting a polka tape in the car cassette player for the “teenager” to enjoy when borrowing grandpa’s car. John took pleasure also in traveling through the states, casinos and eating out. In eating out, the grandchildren, and even the great grandchildren, helped spend the “Red Lobster” certificates that were given as gifts by ordering lobster and crab legs.
He was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Holy Name Society, where he was a greeter, gift bearer, choir member, and helped with the selling of the dinner tickets for the Annual Turkey Meal at St. Mary’s Church. He was a bass singer with the Holy Rosary Polka Choir of Owen. In 1996, John and Florence established the “Holy Rosary Bucket Raffle” and continued with it for 7 years until they moved to Greenwood. Several thousands of dollars were made over the years.
Survivors include his wife, Florence, of Greenwood; daughters: Debra (Paul) Pernsteiner of Medford, Michelle (Jeff) Lindgren of Eau Claire, Barbara (Michael) Smith of Marshfield; son: Mark (Diane) Briski of Eau Claire; grandchildren: Jeremy, Jessica, Christopher, Resse, Kyle, Cory, Tyson, Tony, Carmen, and Kelsey; great grandchildren: Dylan, Madysen and Cayden; one brother: Robert (Taimi) Briski of Greenwood; one sister: Dolores Lendosky of Greenwood; sisters-in-law: Della Briski of Altoona, Vivian Briski of Greenwood; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers: Matt Jr., Tony, Frank, Ted and Albert; and sisters: Mary Malnar, Elizabeth Stimac, Julia Vivoda, Rose Malaszuk, Angeline and Kay Gulczinski.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be given in John’s name to St. Mary’s Fund.”