On December 23, 2020, William (Bill) Kuchera Sr., father of five, grandfather of eight, and great-grandfather of fourteen, passed away from heart failure at the age of 90. Known as Pa to his loved ones, he was a character like no other who would do anything for his family. Born July 17, 1930 in the town of Benscreek in Portage Township, PA., he was a member of the U.S. Navy and served his country during the Korean War. He married “his girl”, Elizabeth Gruss, on July 21, 1951. They were together for nearly 60 years until her death in April 2011. The couple moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin soon after he was discharged from the Navy in 1952, where they stayed for more than 35 years and later moved back to their hometown. After retirement from his management position at Snap-On Tools, Pa became a semi-truck driver. He and Elizabeth, “Ma”, had many adventures as they traveled around the country. Pa was a charter fishing captain of the “Lucky Liz” on Lake Michigan. Besides his love of fishing, he enjoyed a good ride on his motorcycle, snowmobile, or quad. He was an amazing mechanic and true jack-of-all-trades. Pa was always canning, cooking good food, or eating something incredibly spicy. Brats, wine, American Honey whiskey, homemade blueberry pie, and anything fried in butter were some of his favorites. He had a huge garden where he grew all kinds of produce including many blueberry bushes that ended up in delicious pies. Pa loved watching baseball games on the TV outside on his porch and cheering for his favorite football team – whoever was playing against the Steelers. Even at 90, he texted his family daily from his iPhone about sports, the weather, his cat, or his latest cooking project. He would google new recipes and even used emojis! Pa loved polka dancing and was a great singer. His favorite song was “For the Good Times.” He would sing it and dance with “his girl” and even gave a karaoke performance of it at a recent Gruss family reunion. The first verse says: “Don’t look so sad I know it’s over but life goes on and this old world will keep on turning. Let’s just be glad we had some time to spend together.” At his request, there will be no viewing or visitation. A memorial service for immediate family will be held at a later date. The Serenko-Claar Funeral Home, PC, Portage is serving the Kuchera family.
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