Cover photo for Edmund J. Smieja's Obituary
Edmund J. Smieja Profile Photo

Edmund J. Smieja

March 31, 1930 — June 30, 2015

Edmund (Ed) J. Smieja, 85, of Independence, died at home on June 30, 2015 after a long and complicated illness. He was born on March 31, 1930 to George and Clara (Sobota) Smieja. He grew up and was raised in Independence where he attended SS. Peter and Paul grade school and Independence High School. He was an active member of SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church. Ed had a deep & strong faith and prayed the Rosary daily. He served in the U.S. Army in Korea. Upon return from the military he worked on the high lines. He and Joe Maule established the E & J Bar in 1962. After Joe expired he continued to operate the bar until 1990 when he sold the business due to physical problems. He was a part owner of the Independence Fur Farm and spent many hours helping and visiting with his brothers and Broney Matchey, manager of the IFF. He met Mary Pioro when she visited Independence with friends. He fell in love on sight and they married on Nov. 16, 1963 in Milwaukee where Mary lived and worked. They had one child, Susan, who married Tim Baldwin in 2002. They have a daughter, Amelia who was/is greatly loved by Ed/Mary. She attends a French School in Milwaukee and Ed was very proud of her. She loved her grandpa. Ed was an avid fisherman and spent much time fishing the Mississippi and Great lakes (Superior and Michigan). He enjoyed snowmobiling and helped build "Jim's Bridge" over the river by the mink ranch. He loved deer hunting with his brothers and nephews Joe and Wayne. Ed was a die-hard Packer fan. His family gave him numerous Packer memorabilia which occupied a prominent place in his home. He also enjoyed watching the Badgers and Brewers. If Susie was not home she called after every game to rehash the results. He has the only Packer Mailbox in town. Ed was meticulous about everything he did. He was proud of his home and spent time making sure it looked good. Ed was preceded in death by his parents, brother Ray & wife Delores; brother Jim; sister Ruth (Smieja) Runkel & her husband Paul Runkel. Ed is survived by his wife, Mary; daughter Susie, her husband Tim Baldwin & their daughter Amelia; sister-in-law Jo (Jim) Smieja; nephew Joe Smieja, his friend Dawn Abrahamson and daughter Tyanna; niece Jan (Tom) Olson and their children Aaron Olson and fiancée Kayla Thompson and Jaime Ray Olson; nephew Tom Smieja and his love Diane Sczepanski; children of Paul and Ruth Runkel, niece Margaret (Ken) Suchla and their daughters, Jennifer (Darin) Pape & children, and Emily (Ben) Sylla and children, and nephew, Gene Runkel. Many other relatives, friends and former employees also survive him. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 6, 2015 at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School Gymnasium, Independence, with burial in the church cemetery. Military rites will be conducted by Sura-Wiersgalla American Legion Post 186. Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. Sunday, with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m. followed by a rosary, at Edison Funeral Home, Independence, and one hour prior to services at the school on Monday. To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Edmund J. Smieja, please visit our flower store.

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