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Menasha - Bernie Kovalski, age 84, passed away on Saturday, April 14, 2018. She was born in Steven’s Point, WI on May 27, 1933 and attended St. Peter’s grade school and was a graduate of St. Joseph’s Academy (Maria High) in the class of 1951. She was the daughter of the late Joseph and Emily Cekosh. Bernie moved to the Fox Cities area following her marriage to Chet Kovalski on June 25, 1955, a union that blessed them with 63 years of joy. She was employed at Central Products in Menasha from 1979 until full retirement in 1999. She was a member of St. John’s Church in Menasha. An active volunteer and loving mother, Bernie loved helping others as shown by her years of service as a pink lady at Theda Clark Hospital, a Brownie leader, and a proud office manager at Central Products. After retirement, she continued her volunteerism by working at St. Joseph’s Food Pantry.
Having a gifted concertina player as a husband and 2 talented drummers as sons, she was kept quite busy managing the ‘Chet and His Concertina’ duet for over 35 years. On occasion she accompanied the band by playing the spoons, showing off her rhythmic skills and joy of music.
Bernie was highly regarded for her love of dancing and referred to as the ‘slipper of the ballroom’ in high school. She enjoyed many polka and country music festivals, weddings and church picnics. Anywhere there was a dance floor, she could be seen doing the Polish Hop, Swing Dancing or the 50’s Jitterbug.
Being the loving and proud mother and grandmother she was, Bernie attended many band gigs, concerts, talent shows; cheering her kids and grandkids at track and swim meets, soccer and football games. ‘Band’ practice at the house, otherwise known as the Ida St. Tap, loud as it was, was O.K. with Mom. Throwing parties for family and friends was Bernie’s passion! She loved her family and friends dearly. The more the merrier.
Bernie was also an amazing seamstress. She lovingly sewed a beautiful wedding gown for her only daughter, matching ‘band’ shirts for Chet, Rick and John, a Red and White (Polish colors) concertina cover and Barbie Doll clothes for Carrie.
Bernie is survived by her three loving children: Rick (Jessica) Kovalski of Grapevine, Texas; Carrie (Todd) Lamensky of Neenah, and John (Toni) Kovalski of Wilmington, North Carolina; four grandchildren: Tyler and Miles Lamensky of Maine, and Matt and Erin Kovalski of Texas. Bernie is survived by her husband Chet, brother, Bob Cekosh of Florida, two sisters: Delores Tomasik of Cudahy, and Lucille Kulinski of Milwaukee.
All who knew Bernie, knew she defended her small stature, “Good things come in small packages!” As the youngest of 13 children, Bernie was the ‘good thing’ whom numerous cousins, close friends, nieces, nephews and her bowling buddies, love dearly.
Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Friday, April 27, 2018 at 10:30 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 410 W. Lawrence St., Appleton with Father Jim Leary officiating. Friends and family may visit at the church from 9:00 am until the time of Mass. Inurnment will take place at the Shrine of Heaven Mausoleum in Greenlawn Memorial Park, Neenah.
In your lifetime, Mom, you have climbed many ladders, the heavenly ladder will be the last one you will have to climb. We love you!!!