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Alberta (Lilla) Kulas, age 90, passed away peacefully at Gundersen Health System just before midnight on Saturday, March 21, 2020, with her son, Chuck, at her side. Alberta “Gigi” lived at Eagle Crest South in La Crosse the past three years but lived most of her life in and around Dodge, Wisconsin.
Alberta was born on November 14, 1929, to Albert and Mary (Stampka) Lilla. Alberta and her only sister, Charley, ran and played around Dodge. While attending Arcadia High School, she met Joseph ‘Bud’ Kulas, who she married on August 31, 1948 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pine Creek, Wisconsin.
Their only son Chuck was born in 1949 and they moved to the Kulas family farm just outside of Dodge in 1964. Bud ran the dairy farm and after cleaning houses for several years, Alberta embarked on a career at Watkins in Winona. She was known for her 5:00am arrival time, her endless supply of spunk and energy, and her fierce loyalty to her coworkers who became friends.
Alberta loved sharing stories of train rides to North Dakota when she was young, of waitressing at the Hillside Fish House, and standing on the picket line during an employee strike at Watkins. Alberta blazed the trail for working mothers – her career was important to her along with her family life, her friends and she took pride in it all.
Alberta never said no to an opportunity to travel – she would join up with her friends or family on trips to Alaska, London, California, Disneyworld, Scotland, and countless trips to see shows in the Twin Cities. She was a feisty leader in her community - driving friends to appointments, gathering with her close circle of friends at lunch in Galesville, and helping bake hundreds of Polish coffee cakes in the basement kitchen of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Even after her move to Eagle Crest, she acted as a welcoming committee for new residents and was tasked with assisting in activities and events.
One of her biggest joys was being surrounded by her 4 grandkids and 7 great-grandkids. Gigi loved reading books to the kids, listening to their endless chatter, and taking part in Baptisms, First Communions, concerts, dinners, and sharing in their jokes and laughter.
Alberta leaves behind her family who were blessed to have played a starring role in her life: her son Chuck and his wife Mary (Kampa) Kulas; grandkids Amanda (Jason) Hizer in Seattle, WA, Polly (Chuck) Berendes in La Crosse, Jessica (Jon) Matel in Bayport, MN, and Seth (Morgan) Kulas in Edwards, CO. She is further survived by her great-grandchildren who adored Gigi: Mia and Ella Hizer; Charlotte, Louie, and Hank Berendes; May and June Matel; also holding a special place in her heart are niece and nephew Jodi (John) Werner and Randy (Deb) Lisowski of Winona, MN, along with her grand-nephews.
She was preceded ed in death by her parents, her husband, and her sister, Charley.
Due to the recent health crisis in our world, a private family service will take place, with burial at Sacred Heart Cemetery, Pine Creek, WI. A celebration of life for Alberta will be scheduled and announced to the public later on a date to be determined.
The Kulas family extends their deepest gratitude to Eagle Crest South and Gundersen Health System for providing excellent and loving care to Alberta.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Alberta’s name to any of the following: Sacred Heart Parish - Pine Creek, WI; JDRF International; American Parkinson Disease Association.
Online condolences or memories may be left for Alberta’s family at www.watkowski-mulyck.com.
Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.