George John Kuklinski, 86, of Winona, MN passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Thursday, October 29, 2020. George was born on April 24, 1934, in Winona, to Clement and Catherine (Czaplewski) Kuklinski.
George was surrounded and blessed with the love of his family and extended family throughout his life. At three years old, he and his brother, Donald, were raised with his grandparents (John and Catherine Czaplewski) and aunt (Emily Czaplewski) due to the unexpected and untimely death of their mother. He and his father were close in George’s adult years and throughout his dad’s life. They enjoyed a wonderful relationship and an extremely close bond. He, also, enjoyed a wonderful relationship with his step-mother (Alvina Kuklinski). He and his dad talked every day and spent time together every weekend enjoying fishing, hunting and outdoor activities. Throughout his entire life, he enjoyed very close relationships and great times with his sister and many close cousins.
George was blessed with family and friends across the country. Everyone who met and knew George loved him; an affectionate connection was quickly developed. We will all miss his love of family, selflessness, friendly smile, fun attitude, kindness, extreme generosity and love of children people and life. He was extremely caring and giving of himself and time to others. Always willing to help others and sacrifice to make other’s lives easier. Never one to ask of others for himself.
The foundation and examples of love, kindness and sacrifice for others demonstrated to him as a very young boy were “carried forward” by him his entire life. These were daily examples he displayed by the love he has shown his family, his constant presence and involvement in his children’s, grandchildren’s & great grandchildren’s lives. We all had the blessing to live and learn by his example. He truly was “the best” and “one of a kind!”
George graduated from Cotter High School in 1952 (last class with Christian Brothers and all boys). He was a very proud and active veteran, proudly serving in the U.S. Navy from 1952 -1956, where he was a Seaman on the USS Roanoke during the Korean Conflict. He fondly and proudly recalled his time serving in the Navy. In 2014, he had the honor of being invited to the Honor Flight to Washington, DC – a trip and experience he thoroughly enjoyed.
On September 10, 1960, he married Arlene Kulas. They provided a wonderful and loving home and life for their children and family. They were a terrific team together. They were both very selfless and “caterers” to many. They enjoyed their life together and the blessing of life-long close friends which created many fond memories. Arlene passed away unexpectedly on December 19, 2005.
He was a life-long and active member of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka. His faith was an important aspect of his life. He worked at Watkins, Inc. for 44 years, retiring in 1998. He was a life-long and active member of the Winona Athletic Club, reaching #3 ranking of life membership. He also was a proud member of the American Legion Post 9, VFW Post 1287 and Eagles Club #1243. A very avid sports fan supporting his son, daughter, grandchildren, St. Mary’s University and WSU sports.
George was preceded in death by his parents, wife, half-brother (at birth), grandparents, brother Donald, aunts, uncles and several close cousins.
He is lovingly survived by son, David (Mary Jo); daughter and son-in-law, Carol (Kuklinski) and Kris Speltz; sister, Sandra Nowlan; Susan “like a daughter” (Tulius) Hoogendam (Marvin); five beloved and cherished grandchildren, Tiffany Kanz (Joe), Aaron Kuklinski (Natalie), Andrew Kuklinski, Tyler Speltz, and Jadyn Speltz; six beloved and cherished great-grandchildren, Madison, Breelyn, & Aaron Kanz and Andrew, Alex & Asher George Kuklinski; very special friend Stella Bublitz; special cousins and close friends, Ted (Lois) Czaplewski, Stan Czaplewski, Shirley Kauphusman, Jerry Page, Ron Page (Rose) and Carol Page Winiarz, Michael Voelker (Jane), Thomas (Leone) Mauszycki, Allan & Debbie Greenwood; and many other friends young & old.
Visitation will be held from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka, with a private family Mass of Christian Burial following. Burial will be held in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Military honors will be conducted by the American Legion Leon J. Wetzel Post 9 of Winona. Those attending will be required to wear a mask, and social distancing guidelines will be strictly followed.
Pallbearers include: Aaron Kuklinski, Andrew Kuklinski, Kris Speltz, Tyler Speltz, Joe Kanz, Bill Nowlan, and Rick Hovey.
Honorary Pallbearers are: Ted Czaplewski, Michael Voelker, Stan Czaplewski, Marvin Hoogendam, Jerry Page, LeRoy Gunderson, Joe Hettinger, Ron Theis, Tom Peplinski, Ron Schultz and Emil Gove.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to: The George Kuklinski Memorial Fund. The fund is established with Merchants Bank, 102 East 3rd St., Winona, MN 55987. These donations will be distributed to support local organizations close to and cherished by George. Donations in his honor will be dispersed throughout the year.
Please visit www.watkowski-mulyck.com to leave online condolences or memories, and when available, a video stream of the Mass.
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