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Obituary for Bernard G. Colaizy
Bernie passed away peacefully on Sunday night, December 11, 2011 at St. Croix Regional Medical Center in St. Croix Falls, WI. He was undergoing a second round of radiation treatment for an aggressive cancer in his right lung. He wasn’t able to finish treatment, as his breathing simply became too difficult.
Bernie was born on September 11, 1926 in St. Paul, MN to Emmett and Elizabeth Colaizy. He grew up in the Como area in St. Paul with seven older brothers and sisters. He was an avid hunter and fisherman as a teenager. He played football, hockey and baseball at Washington High School. He was drafted on December 18, 1944 as a high school senior, and trained at Great Lakes Naval Center. He shipped out to the Pacific Theater from California, as a heavy equipment operator in a U.S. Navy Sea Bees Constuction Battalion. He built airfields in Okinawa, and after the war he completed his tour of duty in China, helping to rebuild that country. He returned to Minnesota in 1946 and met his wife, Mary Bodmer, in St. Paul. They were married in 1948. They had one daughter, Patty Belde, and four sons; Tom, Bezer, Ken, and Bernie Jr.
Bernie was hired at Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. He performed every outside job that existed- repairman, installer, splicer, locator and construction. He coached his children in sports, and was active in the Como Park Masonic Lodge, Hamline Griggs Athletic Association and Midway Men’s Club. He played senior men’s football into his 30’s. He worked part-time jobs as a bartender, equipment manager for the Minnesota Vikings from 1961 to 1980, and managing the State Fair sanitation department during the fair every year. In addition, he sat in the penalty box at Fighting Saint’s professional hockey games. He served in the Naval Reserve until 1957, retiring as a1st Class Petty Officer, communications specialist.
He and Mary enjoyed spending time at their family cabin on Clearwater Lake in NW Minnesota near Debs and Bemidji. They traveled to many Minnesota lakes for vacations and weekend trips.
In 1983, Bernie almost lost his right arm in a serious car accident. It was repaired, but forced him to retire from the telephone company at age 57. In 1984, he and Mary moved from St. Paul and bought their second home on the north end of Little Round Lake, west of Frederic, WI. He and Mary were active in the local VFW, and coached local girls’ senior softball. They also were avid bowlers at Hacker’s Lanes in Frederic. He enjoyed deer hunting and bear hunting in the Frederic area. He enjoyed helping the local farmers with spring, summer, and fall chores. Mary died of lung cancer in 1997. Bernie continued living on Round Lake, and spent a lot of time with his bowling friends. He met Mary Jane Anderson at bowling. She had lost her husband, and they became good friends. She died in 2008. Bernie continued to live at the lake, looking forward to spending time with his children, their 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. He enjoyed spending time at Hacker’s Lanes in Frederic. In May 2011, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. He went through radiation treatment in July and August, and was able to experience three good months from August through October. In November, the cancer re-appeared elsewhere, and he died from its effects on December 11. 2011.
Bernie touched the lives of many in the Frederic, WI region. For that reason, there will be a memorial service at the Rowe Funeral Home in Frederic, WI on Friday, December 16 at 2:00 PM with visitation beginning at 1:00 PM. There will be a prayer service hosted by Rev. Danny Wheeler. There will be a luncheon at 3 PM at Hacker’s Lanes.
There will be a memorial service on Monday, December 19, in St. Paul, MN at O’Halloran and Murphy Chapel, 2550 N. Hamline, Roseville, MN at 7:30 PM. There will be visitation from 4:00 PM until 7:30 PM.
Bernie and Mary’s final resting place will be at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN. There will be a private family service with military honors.
Memorials should be addressed to the family of Bernie Colaizy. We have many who we would like to recognize for their comfort and help during the last seven months.
Online condolences may be left at www.rowefh.com or www.wicremationcenter.com . Please continue to check our websites for updated information or call Bruce Rowe at 715-327-4475.
Rowe Funeral Home of Frederic and the Northwest Wisconsin Cremation Center in Milltown have been entrusted with arrangements.