REPUBLIC, MI. - Florence Kulbicki, 96, passed away in St. Paul, MN on November 17, 2012. She was born July 13, 1916 in Marquette, MI to Ignatius and Amalia Schmeltzer.
She was youngest in her family, with three brothers; Aloysius, Bruno, and Edward; and one sister, Gertrude Lawrence, all who preceded her in death.
Florence graduated Graveraet High School in Marquette in 1934. One of her proudest high school memories was the day she visited with Amelia Earhart when she spoke at her high school. Her early career was as a bookkeeper with Getz's department store and Public Service Garage in Marquette.
During WWII she served as the Republic Twp Treasurer.
Florence married John Sullivan of Republic in 1940.
He died in 1988 after 48 years of marriage.
They had five children, Larry Sullivan (Sharon) of Minneapolis, MN, Kay Parkinson (Claud) of Shoreview, MN, Marilyn Rabideau (Ken) of Grand Junction, CO, Mary Schrader (Frank) of Milwaukee, WI, and Charlie Sullivan (Shelly) of Hibbing, MN.
Florence and John raised their family during trying times for a mining family in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She learned how to stretch a dollar and care for her family with limited resources, yet they still saved enough to send their children to college. She hand made many of her children's clothes and served up the best home cooked meals. Their home was the fun center of activity for her family and all friends who stopped over.
Florence had boundless energy. If anyone needed a meal cooked, a cake decorated, flowers arranged, an event organized, or quilts sewn for needy disaster victims, Florence was always there. She never got rattled, and she always had time to play a good joke.
After their children left home, Florence worked for 10 years as a cook for the Republic Michigamme School. She married Paul Kulbicki in 1995.
They volunteered together at St. Vinnie's and were active in the Lions Club, Rabbit Club, and the Historical Society. For her 80th birthday, she took her first hot air balloon ride. Paul died in 2003.
Florence remained active and was still staining the deck, changing storm windows, and beating her family at dominoes well into her 90's.
Florence was the oldest member of St. Augustine Catholic Church, where she was an active member over the past 70 years, serving as a Eucharistic Minister, Reader, and a member of the Altar Society. She also volunteered for other church activities including taking care of the linens, painting statues, and cooking pasties.
In addition to her five children, she is survived by 13 grandchildren, 4 step grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, 18 step great grandchildren two nieces, Bernice Parsons and Florence Mae Loney, and two nephews, Dick Schmeltzer and Wilbur Schmeltzer.
Visitation will be at 10 am on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at St. Augustine Catholic Church with a memorial mass to follow at 11 a.m.
Those wishing to make an expression of sympathy are kindly asked to consider St. Augustine Catholic Church, 574 Kloman Ave. Republic, MI 49879; or Allina Hospice Foundation, 1055 West Gate Dr., Suite 100, St. Paul, MN 55114.