Obit: Szemraj, Roger John (1952 - 2008)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Szemraj, Luzinski, Herman, Matthews, Dongarra, Campbell, Lato, Virgin, Erickson, Hollister, Auby, Vilbrandt, Schroeder

----Source: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark Co., WI.) December 24, 2008

Szemraj, Roger John (1 March 1952 - 18 December 2008)

Roger John Szemraj, 56, died at home on Thursday, December 18, 2008, surrounded by his beloved family. He inspired many people with his courage and selflessness while battling colon cancer.

Rog was born March 1, 1952 in Stanley, WI, to Lottie Lorraine (Luzinski) and the late John Frank Szemraj. He was a 1970 graduate of Thorp High School. On September 5, 1970, he married Sherri (Herman) Szemraj at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Thorp, WI. He worked at Thorp Lumber Yard and Feed Mill for the first three years of his marriage. In 1973 he and his family moved to Janesville. He was a proud assembly line worker at General Motors for 33 years, rarely missing a day of work until retiring in 2006. He also attended Blackhawk Technical School and graduated from its machine tool program. Rog was a member of UAW Local 95 and St. William parish. Rog will be remembered most for his love of family, friends, and food. He was a wonderful cook and enjoyed creating new recipes. His strong work ethic and love of walking to work every day - no matter what the weather - was a family legend. Rog also spent time working and biking on the Ice Age Trail. An enthusiastic Badger football fan, he was a season ticket holder for many years. He was a loving husband, proud father, and wonderful grandfather, known as "Papa" and "Hercules," to his grandchildren Cece and Jake.

Rog will be dearly missed by his high school sweetheart and wife, Sherrie; his son, Paul (Suzie Matthews) of Germantown, WI; daughter, Sara (Nick) Dongarra and grandchildren, Cecelia and Jacob Dongarra of Madison; mother, Lottie Szemraj of Thorp, WI; sister, Darlene (Rich "Soup") Campbell of Green Bay, WI; brother, Randy of Fort Morgan, CO; mother-in-law, Colleen Herman, of Thorp, WI; sisters-in-law: Twyla (George) Lato of Muskego, WI, Lynn (Bruce Virgin) Herman of Cambridge, WI, Robin (Jim) Erickson of Eau Claire, WI, and Jane (Cliff) Hollister of Thorp, WI; and many cherished nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great nephews.

His father, John; father-in-law, Robert Herman; and daughter-in-law, Susan (Paul) Szemraj preceded him in death.

The family would like to thank Drs. Michael Frontiera and Patrick Sitorius for their wisdom and guidance; the nurse-angels at St. Mary’s Oncology Center (especially Becky) for their kindness and attentiveness; Hospice Care, Inc. (Erin, Sarah S., and Cindy in particular) for their loving care and compassion; Father John Auby for his spiritual and emotional support, and Rog’s good buddies, Cliff Hollister, Dave Vilbrandt, and Ed Schroeder for their friendship and humor.

A gathering of family and friends took place on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Schneider Apfel Schneider & Schneider Funeral Home. A Memorial Mass and Celebration of Tog’s life took place at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 22, 2008, at St. William Catholic Church with Father John Auby officiating.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, Rog and his family suggest that memorials be made in his name to St. William Parish, Hospice Care, Inc., or the Ice Age Trail.

For online guestbook and condolences:

…and, when he shall die,

Take him and cut him out in little stars,

And he will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night

And pay no worship to the garish sun.

Romeo and Juliet (III: ii, 21-25)



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel