- October 16, 2022
Paula Olejniczak, of Decorah, Iowa, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, at Barthell Eastern Star nursing home in Decorah, Iowa.
Funeral Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21, at the First Lutheran Church, 604 W Broadway St., Decorah, Iowa, with the Rev. Michael Wilker presiding. Burial will be in the Lutheran Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Helms Funeral Home, 604 South Ave., Decorah. The Helms Funeral home is handling the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may go to the family at 1425 Wicklow Dr., Robins, IA 52328. The family will make donations to First Lutheran Church, Winneshiek County Hospice and care for Olejniczak baseball field at the Decorah High School.
Paula was born March 21, 1941, in Waterloo, Iowa, to Ray and Virginia DeBerg. She was the second of five children. Paula had four brothers: Terry, Dale, Mark and Ned.
Paula was never one to take a day off, starting at an early age she made the most of life. Paula’s life was multi-dimensional; as a youth she was a tap dancer, member of 4H, pianist and a cheerleader at East Waterloo. Had she had the opportunity, Paula would have loved to play competitive sports. A favorite story she shared was one from Murray Weir, a legendary basketball player and coach. The story goes, that Coach Weir told Paula that if she were a boy, she would have made the Team.
Paula met and then married the love of her life, Dennis Olejniczak, on July 2, 1960, in Waterloo. After a short stay in Janesville, Iowa, the couple moved to Decorah, where they became very active members in the community. Paula’s love for people could be seen in all she did to support and serve others. For several years, she and Dennis were the First Lutheran Youth Leaders, Paula was a teacher’s aide supporting students with special needs for Decorah Community Schools more than 25 years, she taught aerobic dance for Community Education and her most memorable passion was serving as the “bench-mom” and official score keeper for Decorah High School baseball for over 50 years.
The couple have five children, Lon (Kristen), Lesly, Heidi (Bob), Jason (Tiffany) and Lindy. The couple is blessed with nine grandchildren: Samantha and Brodrick Bornmann, Gabrielle and Jake Olejniczak, Emma, Kaleb and Lydia Olejniczak, Greer and Matteo Moran.
Paula’s smile and legacy will live on. She will be remembered as a selfless, loving person, role model and warrior. She didn’t let the Parkinson’s diagnose defeat her, for nearly 30 years she embraced life, learned ways to overcome the trials of the wicked disease and continued to serve others.
Paula was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Viginia; and her brother, Terry.
Paula’s family extends a special thank-you to the medical staff at Winneshiek Medical Center, the Arlin Falck Assisted Living and Eastern Star Nursing Home care providers for the daily devotion to her care, the love and support each of you provided.