Stanley Remeneski faced death more than once in his life.
The Richfield resident will be remembered by many as an intelligent chemist, determined salesman, proud veteran and faithful follower of the Divine Mercy movement. To his children, he was a dedicated, generous father who never asked for more than a pair of socks for Christmas. He died of leukemia Aug. 12 at age 94.
At age 41, Remeneski was pronounced dead for three minutes. The traveling salesman had been driving through Eau Claire, Wis., when his car was struck and sent flying almost 100 feet. His wife, Aline, pregnant with their third child, was told that her husband would either die or be a vegetable for the rest of his life, said son Philip Remeneski, of Richfield (the baby Aline was carrying).
“They told us not to even bother coming,” said son Mike Remeneski of Bloomington, who was 4 years old at the time.
But Stanley Remeneski came back to life, and lived every minute of it, his sons said, despite constant headaches for 35 years. He also overcame prostate cancer.
“He never let anything get in his way,” Mike Remeneski said. “No matter how many failures, he’d just keep on going.”
After earning a bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Minnesota and completing ROTC training, Remeneski served in World War II as a captain in the Army, 437th Battalion. He worked in counterintelligence and sabotage under Gen. George Patton, facing battles and intercepting decoded messages. Since he was Polish-American and fluent in Polish, he spent eight months on loan to the Polish army.
“There was a mortar shell that went right over his shoulder, landed within 10 feet of him, and amazingly didn’t go off,” Philip Remeneski said.
He served in Casablanca, Morocco, and was part of the Allied forces that helped capture the Catholic abbey of Monte Cassino in Italy, which earned Remeneski and several others a private audience with Pope Pius XII, Philip Remeneski said.
One of his happiest times was the three years he spent teaching and leading the chemistry department at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, serving as the first Catholic professor at the Lutheran college, Philip Remeneski said.
“He didn’t have a lot of money but what he had he would always share with others,” said his daughter Carole Caria, of Los Angeles.
After getting married, Remeneski sought a higher-paying job. He spent some time at 3M, worked as a traveling salesman for McKesson and Robbins, and at age 50 decided to start his own metal finishing and plating business, Chemical Services and Equipment, where he worked until he was 85.
On weekends he fished with his family at their cabin on Cedar Island Lake, near Richmond, Minn. The proud veteran was a regular at the fish fry at the American Legion on Portland Avenue, and loved playing the slot machines at Mystic Lake Casino, where a $20 bill could easily get him through the whole night.
Until days before his death, he continued his greatest mission: spreading the message of the Divine Mercy, a Christian devotion connected to the Polish saint Faustina Kowalska. He spent countless hours making phone calls and sending prayer cards to churches around the world, said Colleen Tykwinski, a member of the movement in Minnesota.
“I didn’t realize until after he died the extent of the people he knew,” Philip Remeneski said. “He was the one everyone looked up to.”
He was always a strict Catholic father, but in his last moments of life all he wanted was to let loose with his children over a bottle of champagne.
He is survived by his three children and three granddaughters. Services have been held.