TRAVERSE CITY — Thaddeus J. Lancucki, 95, of Traverse City and formerly of Detroit, passed away peacefully Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, at his home in Traverse City.
The youngest of seven children, he was born Tadeusz Joseph Lancucki on Aug. 6, 1917, to Polish immigrant parents, Leopold and Marya (Wolska) Lancucki in Manitoba, Canada. Thad's parents settled in Detroit where they raised their family.
After high school graduation, Thad spent two years studying bacteriology at the U of M before proudly serving his country as a first lieutenant with the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. While stationed in California, Thad met and married the love of his life and former Olympic swimmer, Norene Forbes.
Thad and Norene along with their firstborn returned to Detroit after he completed his armed services tour. Detroit was their home for 55 years. Thad began a long career in men's clothing starting out at the Colonial Department Store in downtown Detroit and eventually at Hughes and Hatcher's. Buying trips to NYC provided the opportunity to see many Broadway plays and musicals. Thad was very successful building upon the many relationships he had with repeat customers. His people skills and a genuine interest in people from all walks of life was a great help over the years.
He had a passion for the outdoors and took every spare moment to find a body of water to throw in a line. Thad was an avid small game hunter and fisherman spending time hunting grouse with his Brittany Spaniel "Ruff." Thad and his wife were members of both the Rose Society and Chrysanthemum Society and their garden was evidence to his talent, with its 75 rose bushes and hundreds of other plant varieties. He loved going to Eastern Market on Saturdays to select the latest flowers and herbs to grow in his garden. The family took many trips to Lake Huron where they would have rock skipping contests and spend hours combing the beaches for Petoskey stones and beach glass.
His retirement years were spent pursuing all of his interests including trips to church bazaars to pick up antiques, which he started collecting before it was "in vogue." His final years in Traverse City were enriched by plays at the OTP, concerts at Interlochen, movies at the State especially for the TCFF, weekly trips to Meijer (he loved to shop!) and many other activities. It's no wonder he is often described as "always having a smile on his face."
Relocating to Traverse City in 2004, Thad became a member of St. Francis Catholic Church. He and his family were long-time parishioners of St. Rita's in Detroit, where Thad served as an usher. He and his wife also enjoyed being docents with the Father Solanus Guild in Detroit. Thad was a life member of the Knights of Columbus as a 4th Degree Knight. Thad's faith was an important and vital part of his life.
He was a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather who received great joy from his family. Thad leaves to cherish his memory, his daughters, Jan (Dan) Zolik of Lake Ann, Donna Lancucki of Royal Oak and Meg (Wes) Benner of Traverse City; his son, David (Jean) Lancucki of Virginia; grandchildren, Alycia (Marty) Rhein, Nathan (Heather Clefisch) Zolik, Emily Lancucki, and Alexandra (Ben Gwathmey) Lancucki;, five great-grandchildren, Sophia, Louis, Abram, Ruby and Adele; and many other loving family members and special friends, especially Ellie Golden.
Thad was preceded in death by his wife, Norene; six siblings, Conrad, Kazmeira, Ludwig, Lyudmila, Oleshka and Toluia; and his parents.
Visitation for friends and family will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., with a vigil service to take place at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17, at St. Francis Catholic Church, with visitation one hour prior. The Rev. Kenneth Stachnik will officiate. Graveside committal services will be held in Lake Ann Cemetery in the spring.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Fr. Solanus Guild, 1780 Mt. Elliott, Detroit, MI, 48207, the Father Fred Foundation or the Traverse Health Clinic.
Please share thoughts with the family at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com
The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.