Honoring the Life by Telling the Story
//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/01b/134956/134956-life-panel.jpg

Steven Hmielewski

August 19, 1969 - February 12, 2021
West Allis, WI

//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/01b/134956/134956-01.jpg



Memorial Gathering

Saturday, February 20, 2021
12:00 PM to 2:00 PM CST
Suminski Family Life Story Funeral Homes
Suminski/Weiss Location
1901 N. Farwell Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 276-5122

COVID-19 Protocols will be observed. Facemasks will be required throughout the building. If you have been exposed to someone COVID positive in the last 14 days please Do Not Attend. If you have a compromised condition or if you are not feeling well Please Do Not Attend.

Driving Directions

Memorial Service

Saturday, February 20, 2021
2:00 PM CST
Live Stream
Suminski Family Life Story Funeral Homes
Suminski/Weiss Location
1901 N. Farwell Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 276-5122

ZOOM:
To access the zoom event, please click on the link or paste the link into your browser at 1:45 PM CST on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Your personal video will not be displayed, and all attendees will be muted. You will hear and see the service on your end.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83174933667

Meeting ID: 831 7493 3667
Passcode: 032895

COVID-19 Protocols will be observed. Facemasks will be required throughout the building. If you have been exposed to someone COVID positive in the last 14 days please Do Not Attend. If you have a compromised condition or if you are not feeling well Please Do Not Attend.

Driving Directions

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Family of Steven Hmielewski C/O Susan Zdrojewski

Memorials can be made to the wishes of the family of Steven Hmielewski in care of Susan Zdrojewski. Checks can be made payable to Susan Zdrojewski

Life Story / Obituary


//cdn.lifestorynet.com/fh/view-life-story-video.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/01b/134956/134956-02.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/01b/134956/134956-03.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/01b/134956/134956-04.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/01b/134956/134956-05.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/fh/download-memory-folder.jpg
Print

With a heart of gold and an infectious laugh, Steven Hmielewski lived a life rich in family and friends. A natural caregiver, Steve was quick to give of his time and talents in service of others. He was open and accepting, often encouraging others with his signature mantras that "It is what it is" and "Don't judge a book by its cover." Steve embraced every moment as a gift and every person as a friend. Whether listening with empathy, pouring a drink, or inspiring a much-needed laugh, Steve lessened life's hardships and increased its joys. As a son, brother, cousin, uncle, godfather, or friend, he was one of the great ones -- just ask around. Though our days with Steve were far too few, the legendary power of his life will long fuel our hearts and lives.

1969 was a year of innovation and excitement. While the Beatles made took the stage together for the final time, the Boeing 747 and Pontiac Firebird Trans Am made their debuts. 350,000 rock-n-roll fans peaceably gathered at Woodstock, and Neil Armstrong took his "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Nowhere was there more excitement than in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as Rosemarie and James Hmielewski Sr. welcomed their son Steve into their family on August 19.

The youngest of the three Hmielewski boys, Steve grew up in the Bremen and Meinecke area in a home rooted in faith and family. His parents modeled excellent work ethics and the importance of using one's gifts in service of others. His father worked for the Whitefish Bay sanitation department for 17 years before his 27-year tenure at Roundy's. His mother worked as a crossing guard for 38 years, ensuring the community's children safe passage and good care. Members of St. Casimir Catholic Church, Steve was an altar boy in his youth.

As a kid, Steve followed his oldest brother Jimmy around practically everywhere, to his basketball, baseball, and football practices, and to the bowling alley where he would sit patiently with chips and a soda. He enjoyed hotdogs and pizza, and once he was old enough, he loved playing basketball with his brothers. He loved the dogs he had growing up; Duchess, Pepper, and Chili Bean were his faithful companions. Well, maybe not Chili Bean, so much! One of Steve's favorite childhood memories was a two-week family vacation to Washington, D.C.

Steve attended St. Casimir Grade School and Solomon Juneau High School. As a teen, he ran a "used bike store" from his parents' basement. It has long been suspected that some of his wares may have been acquired without the previous owner's knowledge! As a kid, Steve rode his bike everywhere. As soon as he acquired his driver's license, he gladly chauffeured his friends around. With an adventurous and fun-loving spirit, Steve was always up for a good time. A proud graduate of the class of 1987, his contribution to his senior prank, opening the doors at Juneau High and performing a brake stand that filled the halls with exhaust, was the stuff of legend!

As a young man, Steve had aspirations of becoming a police officer. His life of service and hard work started in his teen years when he was employed by Lenny at Gordon's Restaurant. While at Wisconsin Bearing, he took classes to learn more about the industry and, over the years, held several positions, including food service at MATC, McBob's Pub & Grill, Plast-O-Meric, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In time, he found work with the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works, where he rose to a supervisory level until he retired. Name many of the Riverwest neighborhood taverns, and you probably would have found Steve behind the bar at one time or another -- Squirrel Cage, Polish Falcons, Dino's, Gee Willikers, or The House of Korekshun.

Steve met Sara Czarnecki at Polish Falcons. They married in September of 1991. The newlyweds began their life together at the Hmielewski family home on Bremen Street until they purchased a duplex in the Layton Park neighborhood on Milwaukee's Southside. Steve was an integral part of the family and lovingly helped care for his mother-in-law JoAnne in her declining years. In 2010 Steve and Sara amicably divorced and remained lifelong friends.

A person who never met a stranger, but rather a new friend to be made, relationships were Steve's greatest treasure. As a formal and informal bartender, Steve naturally knew how to connect with people and afford them a safe space to simply be. He enjoyed spending time up north where many cocktails were consumed, games of cribbage played, peaceful and not so peaceful nights were spent around a bonfire, and general shenanigans happened! Steve was especially proud of the muskie he caught on Kangaroo Lake.

Steve was an avid bowler with a mean left hook. He bowled several leagues over the years. He always enjoyed vehicles; the faster, the better. He liked to say, "drive it like you stole it!" Steve owned many vehicles over the years, including his prized 1971 Chevy Caprice Convertible, countless other cars, a couple of trucks and was the proud owner of several Goldwing motorcycles. He enjoyed a snowmobile ride or driving the boat around the lake because rowing was not an option! There was rarely a time when Steve's life did not include one or more four-legged friends. In addition to his childhood canine companions, Barkley, Norton, Miller, and Zoey were great additions to his life over the years.

There was never a dull moment where Steve was involved. His great sense of humor and enthusiasm for life inspired many a good time for all who were lucky to know him. He enjoyed putzing around in his garage, tinkering on his cars or woodworking, taking road trips, and anything up north. For years, he worked out downtown at Vic Tanny with his father. Whether pursuing a fateful hot air balloon ride landing in a farmer's field after dark or drinking way too much rum punch to soothe the painful rash he acquired after accidentally scraping against the coral while snorkeling during a memorable Caribbean cruise, Steve lived every moment to the fullest. A current member of Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish, Steve never hesitated to give his time and talents to lighten others' burdens. He was unwavering in his dedication to his family and spent much of his time over the past several years lovingly caring for his mother in the Hmielewski family home.

In his leisure time, Steve enjoyed watching the movies of his youth like Goodfellas and Scarface. He enjoyed a pizza from DeMarinis, car shows, and any song by the Beastie Boys. He passionately cheered on his Green Bay Packers and enjoyed watching The Sopranos, Iron Resurrection, and just about any documentary. He was blessed by the wonderful companionship of his partner, Sue Zdrojewski, whom he met on a city bus more than 35 years ago. After reconnecting, they spent seven happy years together, taking wonderful road trips, sharing adventures up north, having Thursday date nights, and watching favorite TV shows. They spent as much time together as possible, and with signature generosity and dependability, Steve took great care of Sue's mother too.

Without a doubt, the world is uncomfortably quiet in the absence of Steve's companionship. While it is impossible to adequately write the story Steve deserves, may we find comfort in reflecting upon the many ways our lives are better for having spent them in his good company. As we continue to share his passion for life and unwavering devotion and love for his family and friends, we celebrate the best of his legacy. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us. We are crying today because we miss you, Steve. We will laugh every day after because we love you forever.

Steven (Steve) Hmielewski, age 51, passed away peacefully on Friday, February 12, 2021, after a brief and courageous battle with cancer.

He was preceded in death by his father James R. Hmielewski, Sr. He is survived by his partner Susan (Sue) Zdrojewski, mother, Rosemarie Hmielewski, brothers James, Jr. (Denise), Ron (the late Alicia), nieces Kristyn and Jayna, nephews Nicholas and Jake, many members of his extended Czarnecki family, relatives, and friends.

Visitation to be held Saturday, February 20, 2021, at Suminski Family Funeral Home, 1901 N Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee, from 12:00-2:00PM. Memorial Service at 2:00PM. Livestreaming of service available on the funeral home website on the day of service. https://suminskifuneralhome.com/obituaries/steven-hmielewski.134956

In lieu of flowers and honoring the wishes of the family, memorials are appreciated in care of Susan Zdrojewski.

//cdn.lifestorynet.com/fh/view-life-story-video.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/01b/134956/134956-02.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/01b/134956/134956-03.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/01b/134956/134956-04.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/01b/134956/134956-05.jpg//cdn.lifestorynet.com/fh/download-memory-folder.jpg