Roland “Rollie” N. Dretzka, age 93, passed away on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at Ridgewood Care Center. He was born in Cudahy, WI June 9, 1923, son of the late Jerome and Elynor (nee: Kleineider) Dretzka. He graduated from Cudahy High School, and attended UW – Madison.
Roland proudly served our country in the United States Army Air Corp as a flight engineer on a B-25 bomber in World War II in the South Pacific. He was privileged to participate in a Stars & Stripes Honor Flight in 2011.
On October 3, 1970 he was united in marriage to Mary Elaine Pezanoski.
Roland was employed at SC Johnson for 38 years, primarily in purchasing. He was the recipient of the H.F. Johnson Community Service Award in 1984 recognized for his outstanding volunteer work.
With a profound Catholic faith, Roland was an active member of St. Edward Catholic Church. He served as Chairman of the Catholic Stewardship Appeal, President of the Men’s Club, Chairman of the Finance Committee, participated in the Community Meal Program, initiated the weekly bingo program, and served on numerous other committees.
Roland had a strong involvement within the Racine community over the years. Early on, he was active in the Jaycees at the local, state and national levels, eventually serving as National Director, and later joining the “exhausted roosters”, a group of older Jaycees. He served on the Mt. Pleasant Park Commission for over 14 years, proudly serving as Chairman for 10 of those years. In addition, he was actively involved at St. Catherine’s High School, including serving on their Board of Directors. Roland was active in the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Knights of Columbus, Council #697 and the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree, Assembly 1207.
He served as the Racine Raiders General Manager from 1963-1973, and was inducted into the Raiders Hall of Fame in 2006.
Above all, Roland cherished his family and friends. He enjoyed traveling, casino trips, sporting events, SC Johnson retiree activities, and playing poker and dominos with friends.
Surviving are his devoted wife of 46 years, Mary Elaine Dretzka; his children David (Phyllis) Dretzka, Susan Dretzka, Julie (Tim) Myers; granddaughters Jillian Dretzka, Abby, Molly and Kaylee Myers; brother, Hubert Dretzka; sister, Marianne Cherrie; brothers-in-law Ed (Joanne) Pezanoski, Rich Pezanoski, Robert (Ellen) Cieslukowski; sisters-in-law Mary Lou Dretzka, Rachel Pezanoski, Sandy (Peter) Puestow, Pat (Ron) Cumming; nephews, nieces, cousins, and dear friends.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by first wife Jill (Cieslukowski); daughter Mary Dretzka; his brothers Kenneth and Jerry Dretzka; sister Lenore (Nick) Dretzka-Fluyeras; brother-in-law James Cherrie; sisters-in-law Violet Dretzka and Lorraine Pezanoski; in-laws Sig & Jane Pezanoski and Ed & Sue Cieslukowski.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Edward Catholic Church, 1401 Grove Avenue, followed by entombment with Full Military Honors at Holy Cross Garden Mausoleum, Hwy 32. Visitation will be at the funeral home on Thursday from 4 – 7 p.m. and in the church on Friday from 9:30 – 11 a.m. Memorials to St. Edward Church, St. Vincent de Paul, or to the Stars & Stripes Honor Flight have been suggested.
Heartfelt thanks to the rehab and nursing staffs at Ascension-All Saints and Ridgewood Care Center, and to all of the many visitors over the past couple of months.