Henry H. Kolashinski
April 2, 1925 – July 31, 2019
Henry H. “Hank” KOLASHINSKI Age 94, of Woodbury. Passed away on July 31, 2019. A rare and wonderful soul loved by all who met him, Hank will be profoundly missed. Hank was born on April 2, 1925; family joked that little “Heinie” was really born on April 1, but his mother hid him to avoid an April Fool. He was the eighth of nine children born to Stanley “John” Kolashinski and Augusta “Gusty” Palewicz near New Richmond, WI. He was preceded in death by his siblings - Dennis, Joseph, Francis, Lawrence, Mary, Margaret, Mabel, and Patricia. He is survived by children Jerome Kolashinski and Mia (Dan) Fury; grandchildren Melissa (David) Boyes, Tara Herrmann, Nicole (Marcus) Vinje, Bryony (Nick) Johnson, and JJ and Colin Kolashinski; great-grandchildren Cassandra, Kara, Liam, Johanna, Merrick, Oliver, Eliana, Gemma, Knox and Adeline; and countless relatives and friends.
Hank’s earliest memories included skimming sauerkraut in the root cellar, and mysterious Prohibition-era visits from elegant Chicagoans. His father died when he was six, and he moved to Hudson, WI. Hank’s children and grandchildren suspect “The Little Rascals” was based on his youth in Hudson. He was a proud graduate of Hudson High School, often entertaining his family with tales of school hijinks. In early 1943, Hank was rejected by the military due to blindness in one eye from a childhood injury, but was drafted just a few months later. His riveting stories of guarding German POWs and his time as an MP in Europe as part of the 506th Military Police Battalion, and the several off-color German phrases he learned, inspired some of his progeny to learn the language and study abroad. After the war, Hank landed at Brown & Bigelow in St. Paul. His beautiful supervisor there, Lucille Schlorhaufer, repeatedly denied his advances. Fortunately, she relented, leading to 54 years of marriage before her death in 2004. Hank was an eternally devoted husband; no matter how small (or peculiar), no request of Lucille’s was ever unfulfilled.
Hank was an equally devoted brother, uncle, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. His warm arms and ample belly were a favorite resting place for generations of children large and small, and his pockets full of candy kept many a child quiet at church. He sang along at top volume with church hymns and with his beloved big band and polka music. He was loving, gentle, consistent, and reliable, and his family was completely enamored of him.
Hank’s kindness and good humor created a wide circle of friends, including those from his youth in Hudson, his military service, his many years as an underwriter at State Farm Insurance (from which he retired in 1987), and his over 50 years as a member of Beaver Lake Lutheran Church. His warmth was apparent at even brief meetings, and he was known and loved by cashiers, waitstaff, hairdressers and others around Woodbury, where he had lived since 1969. He was a familiar sight at VFW and American Legion events and the USO, and over the years was interviewed by many schoolchildren about his WWII experiences. He was Chaplain of the American Legion of Woodbury Post 501, and was dedicated to supporting veterans and the US military. An Honor Flight to Washington, DC was a high point in his life. Hank remained active, independent and sharp as a tack until the end. He joined friends weekly for breakfast, and until her passing last year, he worked the crossword puzzle by phone with his sister Patricia King. He delighted his family and friends with visits, phone calls, cards, and social media posts and comments. His life was full, and through his love and friendship, he brought fullness to the lives of so many others.
A celebration of Hank’s life followed by a luncheon will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, August 31 at Beaver Lake Lutheran Church, 2280 Stillwater Avenue, Maplewood. Private interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Memorials preferred to the American Legion of Woodbury Post 501, online or c/o Woodbury City Hall, 8301 Valley Creek Road, Woodbury.
Beaver Lake Lutheran Church
2280 Stillwater Ave