Ronald Lee Brezinski, 76, born in Kewaunee, WI December 17th , 1946, passed away on Saturday, June 10th, 2023 in Amherst, Ohio.
Ronald was born in Kewaunee, WI and moved to Denmark, WI in 1955 with his parents, John and Claire Brezinski, and brothers, Allan, Marty, and David. Ron graduated from Denmark High School in 1965. After graduation he worked at the grocery store in Denmark, and eventually managed and owned the grocery store in Greenleaf, WI.
In 1973 he entered his lifetime career, working on merchant ships of the Great Lakes. Ron began his career starting as a Deckhand working his way up the ladder until finally reaching the position of Captain, and with all of this, fulfilling the Merchant Marine Motto, “IN PEACE AND WAR”. Captain Brezinski was a third-generation sailor on his dad's side, and a second-generation sailor on his mother's side. His uncle on his father’s side of the family was first mate on the Car Ferry SS Pere Marquette 18 when it sank in 1910. Still, Ron liked the idea of sailing, and shipped out as a deckhand in 1973, catching the Inland Steel steamer Clarence B. Randall. By the time he left the Randall three years later, he had earned his able-seaman’s ticket and was working as a wheelsman. For the next four years, he sailed on many of the Inland steamers, including the E.J. Block, L.E. Block and the Wilfred Sykes. In 1978, Ron wrote for his third mate license, first sailing aboard the Joseph L. Block. Eventually earning his master’s license, he sailed as relief captain on the Edward L. Ryerson in 1993 before being appointed permanent master of the Wilfred Sykes the next year. During his years as captain, he proved a patient teacher and mentored many of the next generation of sailors, many of whom eventually became captains and pilots. Captain Ski retired from Inland in April 2005, but found that retirement was not for him, so the next year he went back to the lakes as relief captain on the World War II-era vessel Manistee. In 2006, he assisted in bringing the “Spirit of America” from Marinette, WI to the Saint George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island, NYC for it’s grand opening to the public on April 4th, 2006.
Health issues forced him to retire for good in 2013, where he finished his Journey with Sandy and faithful companion, Ryerson, at his side. Ron was a long-time member of the fraternal International Shipmasters’ Association and served as Grand Lodge president in 2006.
Captain Ronald Brezinski is survived by his loving wife, Sandra Brezinski (Amherst, OH); brothers, Allan Brezinski (Maribel, WI) and David Brezinski (Green Bay, WI); sister-in-law, Doreen Brezinski (Denmark, WI); brother, Robert and Rosie Cyr (Two Rivers, WI); and several nieces, nephews and great nieces.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Marty Brezinski; and sisters-in-law, Joan Brezinski and Judy Brezinski.
Services will be held on Saturday, June 17th at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, 333 South Lake Street, South Amherst, Ohio. Memorial visitation from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with Mass to follow at 11:00 a.m., presided over by Father Robert Sanson (a.k.a. Father Bob).
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Ronald's name to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. Donations can be made on line by clicking here or by mailing a check to: Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Attn: Donation to GLMA Programs, 1701 E. Front St., Traverse City, MI 49686.
Wyers-Bollinger Funeral Chapel is assisting the family.