Monday, August 1, 2011

George F. Hnilicka

George F. Hnilicka, age 84, passed away peacefully on Monday evening, August 1, 2011, at Aurora West Allis Medical Center with loving family members by his side. A lifelong resident of Racine, George was born on April 12, 1927, the eldest of four children to Anton and Bessie (nee: Konicek) Hnilicka. Above all else, George treasured his family, faith and community. For 84 years, he served them faithfully and selflessly, with love, dedication and integrity.

George completed grade school at St John Nepomuk and graduated from Horlick High School, “Class of 1945.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, and a master's degree in School Administration from Marquette University, Milwaukee.

On February 3, 1951, George was united in loving marriage to Irene A. Murray at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Racine. For the next fifty-five years, George and Renie cherished each other as partners, through good times and challenges, in sickness and in health. Together, they welcomed, nurtured, challenged and supported each of their seven children, providing each with “roots and wings” to last a lifetime. George loved the traditions and rituals of family life: annual camping trips and family reunions in his beloved Peninsula State Park, birthday celebrations and holidays, family prayers on Sunday nights, block parties on Cleveland Avenue, summer picnics at Sanders Park, winter sledding and ice-skating followed by Hershey bars (with almonds) for all. As his family grew, George welcomed each son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandchild and great grandchild, respecting and treasuring each as special and unique. He supported each family member as they encountered life’s challenges and joys. He loved to be surrounded by his family. His immediate and extended family will always remember him as a loving paterfamilias and wonderful man.

George treasured his Catholic faith. He was a parishioner at St. Edwards since 1956, and served on boards of directors for St. Edward's and St. Catherine’s High School. He attended Mass regularly and was particularly devoted to the Sacred Heart and Blessed Mother. His faith, integrity and service to God were a source of strength for George, guiding him through life’s blessings and challenges. They are a continuing inspiration to George’s family and friends.

George served the community and country he loved in many ways. He served the cause of education in a variety of roles: as classroom teacher, principal, Racine County superintendent of schools, and administrator for Racine Unified School District. In retirement, he returned to his passion for classroom teaching at Gateway Technical College. George shared his love for Racine during his time as a realtor for N. Christensen & Son Real Estate. He was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Racine, serving coffee and greeting guests with great pleasure at Kiwanis’ annual Pancake Days. He literally shed his blood for his community, donating 98 pints over the course of his life. He loved his country deeply and served it with pride as a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve. He venerated others’ service to their country and remembered them each Memorial Day and Fourth of July.

Living family members include his seven children, Mark (Terri) Hnilicka of Algonquin, IL, John (Chuck Cushing) Hnilicka of Racine, Michael (Kathleen) Hnilicka of Brookfield, Mary (John) Kosinski of New Berlin, Jane (Dirk) Petersen of Racine, Joseph (Sheila) Hnilicka of Plymouth, Ann (Mark) Lee of Union Grove; 16 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. George is also survived by his brother, Gene (Bonnie) Hnilicka of Illinois; sister, Rose Brown (Nee: Hnilicka) of Minnesota; brother-in-law, Jim Krummel of Racine; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and many lifelong friends.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Irene; parents, Tony and Bessie Hnilicka; his brother, Richard Hnilicka; father and mother-in-law, Albert and Cora Murray; and sisters-in-law, Pat Murray, Helen (James) Krummel and Dorothy (Robert) Briggs; and brother-in-laws, David Brown and Robert Briggs.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be concelebrated at St. Edward Catholic Church, 1401 Grove Ave., Monday, August 8, 2011, at 10:30 a.m., with Rev. Allen Bratkowski and Rev. Bill Burkert concelebrating. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, Hwy 32. Relatives and friends may meet with the family at Maresh Meredith Funeral Home, 803 South Main St., Racine, on Sunday, August 7, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. and at the church on Monday from 9:30 a.m. until time of Mass. Memorials to St. Catherine’s High School or the Kiwanis Club of Greater Racine have been suggested.

The family extends a special thank you to the staff at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare All Saints and Aurora West Allis Medical Center for their warm and compassionate care for George during his time of need.

803 Main St., Racine (262) 634-7888

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