Wanda Witucki, 101 years of age, passed away peacefully with family by her side the afternoon of March 2nd at Hiland Cottage in Petoskey, Michigan.
She was born in rural Manistee in 1916 to parents Stanley and Vernice Wresinski. Wanda was very proud that the family homestead was declared a Centennial Farm well before its sale to the current owner.
Wanda was a lifelong resident of Manistee. In her teens, she enrolled in a beauty school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her goal was to have her own beauty shop, and not long after her graduation, she opened Wanda’s Beauty Salon. She operated the business until she was 94 years old.
On June 6, 1946, Wanda married Floyd Witucki of Manistee. Floyd earned the rank of Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army and had returned from the Pacific theater of World War II. Their vows of Holy Matrimony were exchanged at St. Joseph’s Church (now known as Divine Mercy Parish). They were communicants of St. Joseph’s, and Wanda was a member of the parish’s chapters of the Catholic Daughters of America and the Rosary Society.
Wanda worked hard to make her beauty salon successful. She kept up on the latest trends and hairstyling products. Except for the births of daughters Judy Riccio (Tony) and Sharon Witucki (Peter Pace) and some vacation trips, Wanda worked continuously.
Besides her artistic talent in hairstyling, Wanda was gifted with other creative and imaginative skills--tailoring, needlepoint, knitting, crocheting, quilting, and ceramics. She sewed beautiful clothes for herself and her daughters, and her home was graced with tapestries, quilts, blankets, and exquisite Christmas décor she made.
Having grown up on a farm, Wanda learned to can fruits and vegetables and make jam. Her canned peaches won a blue ribbon at the Manistee County Fair. She was also an excellent baker and loved to treat family and customers at holidays with delicious pies, cakes, and fancy cookies.
As a member of the Manistee business community, Wanda belonged to the Manistee Golf and Country Club early in her career and enjoyed golfing there. Years later, she took up bowling and was a force to be reckoned with in her league, often finishing with the highest score.
Wanda played bridge with various groups of friends well into her ‘90’s. She loved visiting with them and entertaining.
She traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe.
Friends and relatives have described her as a real gem, strong and independent, beautiful, caring and kind, a real lady. When asked what the secret to her longevity was, she would say, “Well, I like chocolate,” or “I grew up on a farm. I’ve always worked hard, from the time I was knee-high to a grasshopper.” Her great faith, self-reliance, and gentle disposition served her well.
She outlived her brothers and sisters and Floyd’s brothers and sisters. In addition to her daughters, Wanda is survived by grandchildren Marc (Susan), Jon, and Dena, great-grandchildren Anna and Alex, her cousin, numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews.
Memorials may be directed to Divine Mercy Parish with a note that the intended recipient is the Matthew 25:35 Food Pantry.
Since Wanda was born in the springtime, these lines from a well-known Robert Frost poem seem appropriate:
Nature’s first green is gold / Her hardest hue to hold. / Her early leaf’s a flower / But only so an hour./ So dawn goes down to day / Nothing gold can stay.
Mass and Celebration of Life for Wanda will be held at Divine Mercy Parish in July.
Arrangements are being handled by the Winchester Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes. Online guestbook at www.mortensenfuneralhomes.com.