Paul P. Bernicky, a longtime resident of Waukesha, died on June 29, 2016, 88 years to the day after he was born, after a courageous battle against Alzheimer’s.
He was born in Whiting, Ind., on June 29, 1928, to Joseph and Anna Bernicky. Paul was one of 11 children, and after losing his mother when he was 12, he spent the rest of his youth in a Catholic orphanage. He excelled in all sports, especially baseball, as he was mentored by the institution’s priest. At the age of 18, Father Faber got him a tryout with the St. Louis Browns. The Browns offered to sign him, but he chose to sign with Uncle Sam instead and he joined the U.S. Army-Airforce and spent the next seven years serving his country until a medical discharge landed Sergeant Bernicky at the Waukesha VA hospital. A lifelong love of baseball and airplanes followed.
Paul married VA nurse Mary Heinzelman, started a family and graduated from Marquette University. Shortly after graduation, Paul began his career at Waukesha State Bank, where he would remain until his retirement. He loved his coworkers and his customers at the bank, where he looked at his job of providing loans as a way of helping people.
Paul and Mary raised their seven children in Waukesha in true storybook form: Mike (Jeannie), Mark (Shari), John, Paul (Laurie), Karen Squires (Shane), Lynn Schuster (Lee) and Julie Meehean (Mike). This branch of the family tree expanded in subsequent years to 17 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
Paul began the final phase of his life 28 years ago when he married his true love, Janet Thiel. Jan brought her two children, Michael Genett (Ameeta) and Jill Eichelkraut (Paul) to the family and they have since added five more grandchildren. Together, Paul and Jan were constant companions, traveling all across the country with their favorite dog and sharing their time with this very large family as well as with the many friends they made along the way.
Paul played softball till quite late in life and never gave up his passion for baseball by falling in love with the Brewers. He crafted beautiful furniture and built hundreds of model airplanes.
His Catholic faith carried him throughout his life and was always important to him. During the last few years, Alzheimer’s took its toll, but Jan, his faith and his wonderful caregivers made it bearable for him. A special thanks to everyone that helped him along this last path. An extra thanks to those extraordinary individuals that made him smile and laugh. Thanks, Silverado, for your care. Paul was preceded in death by his son John, and they are reunited today.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 6, from 4:00 p.m. until the time of the 7:00 p.m. funeral service at Church and Chapel Funeral Home, 380 Bluemound Road (at highways J and JJ, four blocks south of Interstate 94), Waukesha. There will be a short visitation at St. Mary’s Church, 225 S. Hartwell Ave., Waukesha, on Thursday, July 7, at 10 a.m. followed by Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Howard Haase officiating.
The family suggests memorials to the charity of your choice or the Alzheimer’s Association.
and Chapel Rudolph-Larsen Bros. is serving the family. For more
information, call 262-549-0659 or visit www.churchandchapel.com.
To receive obit/directions text 1634444 to 414-301-6422.