Obituary for Bernice H. ‘Breezy’ Corona
February 6, 1924 – April 24, 2023
After a long, wonderful life, Breezy danced her way through heaven’s gates and we’re sure the music of “Breezy’s Polka” was playing. She was born on the Wnuk family homestead on Good Hope Road in the town of Lisbon, Wis., on Feb. 6, 1924. There was a severe blizzard that day and the roads were impassable. Uncle Louie, age 11 at the time, rode on a horse to fetch Doc. Lawler, who was known to like his liquor, but they said he was a good doctor.
Breezy grew up on the south side of Milwaukee. She attended parochial schools and graduated from Girls Tech. She got her nickname from her neighborhood friends, the Kleczka brothers. They said, “You never sit still; you’re always gone like the wind, so we’re going to call you Breezy.” During her time growing up, families were close and she was incredibly close to her Wnuk aunts, uncles, cousins, and the Dubnickas. She cherished times with Uncle Frank, Aunt Mae, Aunt Rosie, and Aunt Evangeline. She spent many times swimming in the quarry with her cousin Roy.
Breezy started working at Eagles Knitting factory, where she met her lifelong best friend Evelyn Przybylski (Gusty). She was also employed at Allen Bradley, Western Publishing, and finished her career at Delco Electronics.
She went to the USO with her best friend, Gusty, every weekend to dance with the sailors, and insisted there was never any hanky-panky going on. Breezy met her husband-to-be, Sebastian Corona, jitterbugging at the Eagles Club in Milwaukee. In June 1949, they were married in Milwaukee. In 1953, they welcomed their son, Richard, and in 1955, their daughter, Tina.
The family home was on the 5th hole of Meadowbrook Country Club on Meadowbrook Boulevard. Many adventures took place on the golf course that were led by Breezy, including sledding, ice skating, and hiking with the neighborhood kids tagging along. After nine years of marriage Breezy and Seb parted ways. Even though they were separated from each other, there was no way she was leaving the Corona family that she loved so very much.
Breezy was a world traveler. She took yearly trips to Las Vegas with Gusty or the Corona clan. She didn’t gamble but loved the shows and people-watching. Breezy actually attended Debbie Reynolds’ birthday party in Las Vegas. Her other travels took her to Poland, Australia, the Bahamas and Hawaii.
You could never celebrate Breezy‘s birthday on her birthday because she was always celebrating her birthday in Illinois at Polkafest. During Thanksgiving, she was always in Cleveland, Ohio for the yearly Polka Hall of Fame Awards Show. Breezy’s travel partner was Judy Meisner, mother of hall-of-fame accordionist Steve Meisner. Steve and his family became close friends with Breezy. Another one of her favorite musicians was George Staiduhar who wrote “Breezy’s Polka” in honor of her.
Every Thursday, Breezy would go to Malicki’s Piggly Wiggly for the Veterans coffee clutch where she became good friends with owner Ralph Malicki. Even though Breezy was not a veteran, she joined the vets for coffee and donuts and made several new friends.
She made weekly trips to Goodwill and made friends with the manager, Randy. It was at Goodwill where she bought her faithful companion Buddy, the stuffed dog, for $1.99. Buddy accompanied her everywhere she went and was faithfully next to her when she passed.
Breezy was not afraid to go anywhere alone. She never missed a festival. If it was in Milwaukee, she would go to the park and ride lot and take the bus. PolishFest and Festa Italiana were her favorites. She always had a camera in hand to take pictures of everyone and everything she did.
Acquiring a chauffeur
Breezy drove her car until she was 90 years old when her son, Rich, decided to pull the car keys and Tina volunteered to take her wherever she needed. The family didn’t think it would go over very well until one day, She said, “Boy, is this ever wonderful. I have my own personal chauffeur.” Breezy’s neighbor, Lee, also drove her to Hardee’s every other week and ALDI. Dennis and Patti, next-door neighbors, always kept a watchful eye on Breezy.
After her doctor’s recommendations at age 92, Breezy moved to Home Harbor. The family thought once again that Breezy was not going to be happy leaving her family home and moving into an apartment. She walked into the new apartment, and not only fell in love with it but also with all of the residents that lived there. The staff members were amazing and loved Breezy, too.
Bus trips to Walmart is where she met Doug, another wonderful friend, who worked there and always watched out for her. After almost four years at Home Harbor, Covid hit and the facility was forced to stop all visitations. Breezy’s daughter, Tina, asked if she would like to come to live with her and her husband, Ronald, at their home and she said yes. Ronald cooked up her favorite homemade pancakes every day.
After six months, they made the decision that Breezy would stay with them and give up her apartment. Breezy’s favorite spot was in a recliner in front of the picture window, watching the neighbors. One day she asked for a pair of binoculars. Ronald got her the binoculars and she became the neighborhood watch lady, especially keeping an eye out for Peter, who lived up the street.
Fashion, food and fun
Breezy loved hats; at one time she owned 18 of them. Tina’s friend, Debra, started making Breezy personalized bedazzled hats, which she adored. Her favorite show on TV was Lawrence Welk and she had 90 of them taped, which ran daily, along with polka specials with Steve Meisner. Her favorite restaurant, Polonez, was owned by her friends George and Aleksandra, and her favorite meal there was czernina (blood soup).
You never knew what Breezy was going to say or do. She adored her son-in-law, Ronald. During the three years of her living there, she asked Ronald weekly if he had ever been married. He would tell her that he was never married and had no kids. She would bat her eyes and say, “Then I still have a chance?”
After one year of living with Tina and Ronald, Home Harbor called and said they were lifting the Covid restrictions and Breezy could move back. Tina told her mom that her room was still available, she could move back to Home Harbor and Tina would go back to visiting her daily. To that she said, “I love it here and I’m not going anywhere!” It all worked out great. Rich would come weekly to help Tina so she could have a break. Great-grandson Andrew could always be counted on for assistance as well.
Breezy is survived by her son, Richard Corona (Sonya Sotelo), daughter, Tina (Ronald) Jensen, grandchildren, Raymond (Nicole) Jensen, Andrew (Terri) Jensen, Adam (Beth) Jensen, Taylor Corona, and Kayla (John) Hagen. She is also survived by several great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She is also survived by extended family, The Groh’s: Tony, Ellen, Stephanie (Olivia), Josie (Roderick), and Alex, all from Arizona.
Breezy was preceded in death by her parents, Vincent and Anna Tomczak, prior husband, Sebastian Corona, brother, Melvin, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, and great-granddaughter, Juliana Rae.
The family would like to thank Aurora Hospice for their loving care, especially Kathryn, Katherine, Shirley and Kate.
Breezy and her family were blessed with more than three amazing years of making wonderful memories together. There were countless photo shoots and videos of dressing up and putting smiles on hundreds of faces throughout those 3 years. What a ride it was! She was an amazing mother and friend to many. She touched so many people’s lives along the way. She always said, “Never feel sorry for me. I had two wonderful children, and I’ve seen it all and done it all.”
“I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.”
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at noon at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 6400 Spring St., Mount Pleasant. A visitation will take place at the church on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. until the time of Mass.
In lieu of flowers, memorial remembrances to either Special Olympics Wisconsin, 2310 Crossroads Drive, Suite 1000, Madison, WI, 53718, or to Wisconsin Humane Society, Racine Campus, 8900 16th St., Mount Pleasant, WI 53177 would be appreciated.
The Racine County Eye was fortunate to get to meet Breezy and her daughter, Tina. Here are some more articles to continue reading about this spark of joy from our community.
99th birthday featured on the Racine Roundup
All of Southeast Wisconsin was introduced to this kind, adventurous lady after she turned 99 this year. Emma Widmar got to share her story with viewers. Click the button below to watch the segment.
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