John S. Holewa


John Stanley Holewa, age 92, of Avon, formerly of Foley, passed away in his home Feb. 21, 2024, of natural causes. He spent his last days as he spent many of his days - surrounded by family and friends with a smile on his face and a joke at the ready.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, Brennyville. The Rev. Matthew Langager will officiate. Burial will be in the parish cemetery.

Visitation was 4-8 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Foley Funeral Home in Foley. Arrangements were made by the Foley Funeral Home. A 15-decade rosary was prayed when his children were successfully gathered in the same room at the same time.

John was born Sept. 9, 1931, the ninth child born the ninth day of the ninth month, as he liked to tell us, to John F. and Helen C. (Przybytek) Holewa in Granite Ledge Township, Benton County. If you knew him as a child, he was “Junior.” If you knew him as a young man, he was “Jackie.” If you knew him as an adult, he was “Jack,” “Uncle Jack,” “Dad” or “Grandpa.” His love for fishing, baseball and playing tag (Dad, you are still “Champion of the World, Toot! Toot!”) never left him.

He was raised with his 11 siblings in Benton County. As a young man, he tried many  jobs including farm labor, lumberjack, Northwest Marble, and the Ford Motor Company, before he went on to buy his own farm. He joined the Navy in 1950 and was later medically discharged. It was while in the Navy that he learned he had a universal blood type. Knowing  he had this life-saving gift, he made it a point to donate as often as he could.

He married the love of his life, Marianne Sauer, May 25, 1957, at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Spring Lake Park. They settled in Granite Ledge Township for their entire marriage and spent their days dairy farming and raising their 15 children. To him, she was always “Sweetheart,” and he liked to surprise her with bouquets of wildflowers whenever he was working in the fields or out in the pastures. In their later years, they spent many hours traveling around the United States and working together sorting seeds, planning and working in their garden.

Throughout his life, he had a special devotion to the rosary and was known as a prayer warrior. If you expressed a worry or a hope to him, his response was always “I will pray for you,” and his words immediately filled you with a sense of comfort. He frequently liked to remind people to, “Enjoy this day. God made it especially for you.” He was a proud member of his parish, St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Brennyville. He was active in the Knights of Columbus and the parish council where he was always willing to volunteer and be of service to his church and to God. In lieu of flowers, his children invite you to make a donation to St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church or the Knights of Columbus in his honor.

John is survived by his children Roseanne (Dave) Zabloski of Foley, Nancy Holewa of Texas, Helen (John) Culbreath of Clarksville, Tennessee, John (Peggy) Holewa of Hillman, Jane (Tom) Gorecki of Foley, Sally Holewa (Curt Kantor) of Bismark, North Dakota, Catherine (John) Polejewski of Avon; Rena Holewa Hales of Elk River, Randa (Jerry) Paschke of Medford, Mary (Andy) Bobst of Butte, Montana, Sharon Lent of Albany, Wisconsin, Michelle Holewa of Albany, Wisconsin, Matthew (Gina) Holewa of Ruther Glen, Virginia, Luke (Julie) Holewa of Sheridan Wyoming; son-in-law Gary Goetzke of Foley; 41 grandchildren, 48 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife Marianne; daughter and granddaughter Jacqueline and Loralee Goetzke; his parents John and Helen; and his 11 siblings Clara, Joe, George, Stan, Mary, Rose, Ann, Frank, Aloise, Henry and Bernice.