Richard Harry Drazkowski, age 82, of Winona, passed away peacefully in the care of family at his home on Thursday June 18, 2020 in Winona, Minn. Rich was born April 27, 1938, in Winona, the seventh of ten children to Stanley and Florence (Paine) Drazkowski.
He was united in marriage to Betty Jean Stueve on August 1, 1959, at St. Martin’s Church in Winona, and they were married for 52 years until her death in 2011. Together they raised two children, Kathryn Marie (Drazkowski) Buswell and Richard Allen Drazkowski.
He was drafted in the Army and served from 1961-1963 before being honorably discharged. Rich was known for his hard work ethic and he worked most of his adult life as Custodial Engineer for a senior living apartment building. His Polish ingenuity was frequently utilized and he could fix most anything. Rich was extremely proud of his Polish heritage and even more so of his entire family. Rich was the heart and soul of his family. He was a humble man not wanting much but willing to give what he had to help others. He was always willing to lend a hand and help mentor those that needed to learn from his wisdom on a wide range of topics. Rich loved to share his knowledge from repairs, outdoor activities, and life. Rich was well known to be a second father to many people. His gentle soul and soft heart made it easy to seek out his compassion and wisdom. Rich treated everyone he knew with respect and treated them with dignity. His love for family was first in his life but his passion for being outside hunting, fishing and trapping was a close second. He had countless stories of hunting deer, bear, squirrel, raccoon or trapping muskrats, mink and turtle and he loved to share them with anyone who wanted to hear them.
In his later years, Rich could be found around town doing activities with his family. He absolutely adored his baby girl Kathy and could be found helping her with rental properties. He would mow, show her how to demolish the rental properties to rebuild them into something that was a work of art. He was so very proud of sharing his skills with Kathy and Steven. All you have to do is drive around town and you will see his handiwork everywhere. Rich was one proud daddy of the work he shared with his daughter Kathy and her work ethic she inherited from him.
Rich loved to fish with his son Rich. He would often brag in a teasing way how he had a “human pack mule” to drag the equipment they needed to fish onto the frozen water. He treasured the time they had together, just the two of them, talking and sharing life stories. Even if they didn’t catch anything, he loved spending time with his son. During the summer months, you may have spotted Rich on his moped with dogs in the basket, heading out to visit the Penguin Zesto. To Rich, that meant the world to him.
Rich would spend many times sharing home cook meals with his sisters and playing cards. In addition to spending time with family he loved to garden and share his bounty with family and friends.
Rich is survived by his children, Kathryn (Steven) Buswell and Richard A. (Micki) Drazkowski of Winona; grandson Richard A. Drazkowski, Jr. of Winona; great-grandson Atticus Drazkowski of Winona; sisters Julie Ann (Wendell) Nelson of San Antonio, TX and Helen Dietrich of Winona; his best friend/dog Charlie, as well as many nephew and nieces.
Rich was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Betty; brothers, Adam, Bernard, Paul and Jim; and sisters, Rose Mary, Margaret and Teresa.
Rich your gentle soul will be missed but know you live on in your children, grandchild, and great-grandchild.
Visitation will be held from 3:30 PM until a memorial service at 5:30 PM on Monday, June 29, 2020, at St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Reverend Richard A. Moore will officiate. Following the service, the American Legion Leon J. Wetzel Post 9 of Winona will provide military honors outside of the church. For those attending, you are encouraged to wear a mask, and please remember to follow CDC and social distancing guidelines.
Rich made the gift of his body to Mayo Clinic for research, and a family burial will be held at a later date at Oakland Cemetery in Minnesota City.
Online condolences, as well as a video stream of Rich’s service (when available), can be found on Rich’s tribute page at www.watkowski-mulyck.com.
Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
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