Life Remembered: Bugalecki a devoted family man with passion for the Packers

BY DIANE GILESdgiles@kenoshanews.com
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Al Bugalecki was a Packer fan who got his whole family involved in his love for the Green and Gold.

When his children were young, he and his wife Helen would pack up the family and head to Green Bay, cheering at the preseason games and tailgating before each game.

“We were raised going up to Green Bay and watching the practice sessions from the time we were small,” his daughter Susan said.

Al Bugalecki, 93, died September 21, 2013, leaving Helen, his wife of 66 years; children Carol (Mauro) Lenci, Susan Walker and Michael (Christine) Bugalecki; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and siblings Thaddeis Bugalecki and Constance Machara.

Born in Wild Rose, Wis., he moved to Kenosha with his large family when he was a young boy. Here he attended St. Casimir School, Washington Junior High School and Kenosha High School.

When America joined the Allied Forces in World War II, Al joined his five brothers serving in the army. All came home safely. It was a bond that kept them close over the years.

Al served in London as a medic, working triage, caring for the men coming off the planes that came limping back from bombing missions.

“If the surgeons got busy, he had to sew up the guys,” Helen said.

He met his future wife at a wedding. When she later heard he had entered the service, she sent him a Christmas card.

“We started writing to each other,” explained Helen. “Then when he came home, he came over to say ‘hi’ and ‘thanks’ for the letters. Then we started to date.”

The couple married on May 17, 1947, at St. Anthony Catholic Church.

“He was a very devoted husband. Every day he told me he loved me ... every day,” Helen said.

Al got a job at Anaconda American Brass and would work there for 40 years, much of it in the sheet brass mill. Later he was a foreman there.

When he was 40 years old, Al built a brick home for his family on the north side of Kenosha.

“He was a hard worker,” his daughter Carol said. “He’d come home from work and then go work on the house.”

When the Brass went on a long strike, he got a job at Samuel Lowe to bring in income, his daughter Susan recalled.

“He always made it possible for my Mom to be a stay-at-home mom,” Susan said.

His daughters remembered a good tempered father with a great sense of humor who never said “no” to lending someone a hand.

Those duties included taking family pets to the vet at the end of their lives, a chore Al took on with a heavy heart.

Al knew how to temper his hard work with fun. He bowled in a league.

He’d take the family on vacations up to Minocqua, Wis., to a rented cabin where he taught his kids to fish with bamboo poles. “We had to put our own worms on,” Susan said.

Another favorite vacation destination was Disneyworld, where he took his grandchildren as his family expanded.

He was a member of the Polish Legion of American Veterans.

Al was deeply rooted in his faith and was an active member at St. Anthony’s, working at the festivals and singing in the men’s choir.

He always wore his rosary ring and prayed daily, family members said.

He liked his coffee, but that one bottle of beer he savored after work was pure bliss. He’d have a couple during a Packer game, too, Susan said, but sometimes he’d give it up for Lent.

After Helen’s health problems took hold, Al took on the household grocery shopping. He learned the prices of goods, knew where to get the best buys, and became a coupon clipper extraordinaire.

“He took it over and he had coupons for anything, he had it all organized,” Carol said.

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