The final paragraph of a fantastic novel was written this week when Marlene B. Ptaszynski, 82, passed away on June 4, 2019 at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton, WI surrounded by family.
Her autobiography opens in a sleepy farm community of Webster, South Dakota on August 12, 1936. The 2nd of 6 children to be born to Joseph S. and Eva Lydia “Evelyn” (Horst) Sichmeller, she was brought home in a blanket made by workers under President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Her formal education started in a one room schoolhouse located on the windy plains of rural South Dakota. At times she attended a Catholic boarding school in town to avoid the harsh winters on the farm, eventually graduating from Webster High School. The next chapter of her life was to earn a Nursing degree from Presentation Nursing College in Aberdeen SD, thus setting the plot for much of the rest of her life’s memoirs. Chapter 3 introduces the reader to her lifelong soulmate, Julius, while living in Minneapolis. Their meeting is a tale of first aid, a minor hunting accident, a finicky shotgun, and a fingernail.
Nursing was to be a recurring thread in her story: beginning at University Hospital in Minneapolis MN twisting through Devil’s Lake ND, Robbinsdale MN, Wausau North Hospital, which became Wausau Hospitals and then finally Aspirus. These threads grew into a rope when she became a Night Nursing Supervisor, working the graveyard shift for 28 rewarding years. The highlight of her story entailed raising 3 wonderful children and 5 beloved grandchildren. Marlene’s adventures included fun filled rainy and non-rainy days “Up North” at the family cabin, especially crisp fall days after the first frost, Alaska trips and reminiscent reunions at the “home place” in South Dakota.
At times, she enriched the reader’s experience as a member of VFW Ladies Auxiliary Burns Post 388, a member of Catholic Women’s and St. Matthew Ladies’ Council (serving in many roles including President), a member of District Nurses, Lay Communion Distributor, Aspirus Hospital volunteer and a Cub Scout Den Mother.
Loving actors that may be in future books are her husband (three months short of their 60th anniversary), Julius W Ptaszynski Jr, 3 children: Michael W. (Angi) Ptaszynski of Cortez CO, Patricia Ann (Craig) Anderson of Scottsdale AZ, and John P. Ptaszynski of Menasha WI. Other recurring roles are 5 grandchildren: Jacob Ptaszynski, Melissa (Anderson) Caromano, Jessica (Anderson) Schaffner, Christina Anderson, and Steffen Ptaszynski; siblings: Eileen Beckwith, Joseph C. Sichmeller, Mary Jane Curry and Alan Sichmeller.
Characters only seen in this book (deceased) are her parents, Joseph S. and Evelyn Sichmeller, and brother Mark Sichmeller.
The book signing (visitation) will occur twice: Tuesday June 11, 2019 from 4-7 PM and Wednesday June 12, 2019 from 10 -11 AM, both times at St. Matthew Catholic Church 28th Ave, Wausau, WI. Prayer service at 6:30 PM on Tuesday. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 AM Wednesday June 12, 2019 also at St. Matthew Catholic Church, presided by Father Robert Thorn. Following lunch, entombment will occur at Restlawn Memorial Park Mausoleum, Wausau. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Matthew Catholic Church or Aspirus Wausau Hospital. For more information and online condolences, go to www.petersonkraemer.com.
The Ptaszynski family would like to thank the staff of the Rib Mountain Fire Dept., Aspirus Hospital and Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital for their care and compassion
Marlene, you were a blessing to all and memories of you will be in our hearts forever!