Armella A. Kotlarz

February 20, 1925 ~ September 18, 2021 (age 96)



Armella A. Kotlarz, age 96, of Winona, passed away on Saturday, September 18, 2021, at Sauer Health Care.

Armella was born on February 20, 1925, in Dodge/Pine Creek, WI, to Peter and Clara (Symiczek) Zywicki.  Her early life was hard, having lost her dad at the age of 12 and leaving school after the 8th grade to work on the family farm.

Her marriage to Benedict Kotlarz took place on November 25th, 1941 two weeks before Pearl Harbor, which eventually produced six children: Denis (Sherry) Kotlarz, Beverly (David) Arnoldy, Gary (Donna) Kotlarz, Nancy (Roger) Borchert, Patricia (Ricky) Sweningson, and Kevin Kotlarz.

While her husband fought in the Pacific Theater during World War II, Armella lived with her in-laws and raised her young son alone. During this time she learned to sew, making her children’s clothing, grandchildren’s Halloween and play costumes (remember all of the Mickey Mouse jackets), bridal clothes (one wedding she made 7 of the dresses), prom and homecoming dresses, and she eventually graduated to quilting and other craftwork. 

Although they did not have much, Ben and Armella had enough love in their hearts to take in her siblings, Jerry and Joan, and nephew, Donny, when they had no other place to go.  Besides her family, Armella had a tremendous love of animals.  She welcomed parakeets, hamsters, guinea pigs, and several dogs into her home.  And don't forget the one-legged chicken.  We even had her on tape singing to the hamsters, which gave her children another fond memory. 

Armella was preceded by her husband, Ben, in 1985; son-in-law: Roger; brother: Gerald Eichman; sister and brother-in-law: Irene and Robert Fahrendholz; sister-in-law and brother-in-law: Esther and Lloyd Hunger; brother-in-law and sister-in-law: Roman and Bernadine; brother-in-law David; nephew: Robert Hunger; niece: Diane Breza, parents: Clara and Peter; and in-laws: Hedwig and Joseph Kotlarz.

Those left to cherish her memory are her six children; 8 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; 3 great-great-grandchildren; sister and brother-in-law: Joan and Jim Johnson; sisters-in-law: Carol Kotlarz, Marlene Benck, and Sharon Eichman; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Honoring her wishes, funeral services will be held privately for her immediate family.  Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Winona.

Armella’s family would like to extend their deepest appreciation to the staffs of Sauer Health Care and Winona Hospice, and especially to Dr. Andrew Edin, for excellent and loving care that she received.

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