Rudy John Kuzel, 73, passed away on Thursday, October 1, 2009, at Wheaton Franciscan – All Saints Medical Center.
Rudy was born in Milwaukee on December 19, 1935, to the late Rudy Joseph and Ina Marie (nee: Cook) Kuzel. He graduated from St. Catherine’s High School in 1954. Rudy was united in marriage to Connie Frances (nee: Mitek) on February 16, 1957.
He worked at American Motors, and then Chrysler, in Kenosha for 38 years. Rudy served the UAW Local 72 in many capacities including, Steward, Chief Steward, Trustee and Board Member at Large. He was very proud to have negotiated the first joint Alcohol and Drug program in the UAW Local 72 in 1980 to help members with addiction problems – and served as the Local’s Alcohol and Drug Representative from 1981-1984.
From 1984 until 1996 he served as President – Shop Chairman and led Local 72 through difficult times. Rudy also served on the Kenosha Chrysler Trust Fund Board, the Wisconsin Development Finance Board, and the AM Community Credit Union Board. He was voted “Labor Person of the Year” in Kenosha and Racine in 1986.
Rudy had a deep love for his family and was a very much loved husband, father, grandfather and brother. He loved his time at the Wisconsin Dells – canoeing, bike riding and enjoying nature. Rudy was an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers and the Racine Raiders.
He is survived by his wife, Connie; three of the best children, Colleen Kernan, Kraig and Brian Kuzel; three most loved grandsons, Matt, Nick and Ryan Kernan; devoted sister, Judy Kuzel; sisters-in-law, Dorothy Mielcarek and LaVerne Mitek; and brother-in-law, Jack Mitek. Rudy is also survived by loving nieces and nephews of the Runge, Mielcarek, and Mitek families. He will also be missed by many dear friends and members of the labor movement.
In addition to his parents, Rudy was preceded in death by his son-in-law, Bob Kernan; brothers-in-law, Charles Mitek, Bill Runge and Walter Mielcarek; sisters-in-law, Jo Runge and Connie Mae Mitek; mother-in-law, Katherine Mitek; and father-in-law, Stanley Mitek.
A celebration of Rudy’s great spirit and devotion will be held on Sunday, October 4, 2009, in the Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home. Visitation will begin at noon and will conclude with a Service of Remembrance at 3:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family for a permanent memorial of Rudy, which will be placed at Devil’s Lake.
The family wishes to express a special thanks to the staff of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – All Saints ICU, 5th Floor and Hospice for their compassionate care and support. Also, many thanks to all those dear friends and family who have been supportive during this time.
Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home & Crematory
4600 County Line Rd., Racine 262-552-9000