Star Tribune, April 20, 2005 Donald R. Cisewski, Jr.
Lino Lakes Donald R. Cisewski Jr.
Donald R. Cisewski tended bar for 11 years at the Trio Inn in Centerville, and rumor has it that he never wore the same T-shirt twice. It got to the point where people at the bar would say, "Let's go to the Trio and see what shirt he's wearing tonight", said his wife of 28 years, Marcy.
For Cisewski, who died of a stroke on April 9 at age 51, the shirts were often a conversation starter. "I think it was his shyness," Marcy said. "It gave people the opportunity to make comment. That's what he was looking for. "He wasn't a real talkative man. He was the listener. He carefully chose the words that he'd use."
It didn't matter whether he was serving regulars or new-comers. "Someone, if they were to stop in and have a chat with him and not come back for two years, he'd remember them," Marcy said. "And he'd tell me about them."
Favorite topics of his included sailing -- Wisconsin's Apostle Islands were a favorite destination - and scuba diving. He was certified in 1978 and started diving in 2001 in order, Cozumel, Mexico; Bonaire in the Caribbean; Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and Cancun, Mexico. Lake Superior too -- "It was really cold," Marcy said.
And, of course, Polish jokes. Cisewski's parents were both 100 percent Polish, and he'd heard them all. "He laughed at them," Marcy said. He took his Polish food a little more seriously. Sauerkraut was a favorite, paired with sausage or ribs or chops.
Cisewski was born Nov. 21, 1953, in Milwaukee. His family moved to the Twin Cities area shortly after. He attended Spring Lake Park High School and was on track to graduate in 1971, but his father died, he quit school and joined the Army. The military required that he get his High School Diploma, which he did by taking classes through the military. He and Marcy met in 1975 and were married in 1977. "I needed a date, and he was bored," Marcy said. "His sister [Diane] lived with me, and she said, "Take my brother to the party we were all going to." He was kind of long-haired then, looked like a lot of mischief for a mother of two kids," she said. "I'd been saying a lot of prayers, He was the answer. We frequently acknowledged that we were the best thing that happened to each other."
He worked at Mackay Envelope for 14 years starting in 1976 but tired of working nights and switched to Lakeland Envelope for three years before quitting in 1993 because of health problems related to a spinal cord injury.
He was there for the customers at Trio for the past 11 years, and they were there for him. When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 and went through eight months of treatment, "the bar was wonderful," Marcy said. "His looks changed, and the bar was so accepting. He never felt out of place," she said. Before finishing chemotherapy in 2001, he declared that he wasn't going to die without scuba diving, and he dived in Cozumel that year. He marked his fourth year of being cancer-free this February.
Cisewski was preceded in death by his father, Donald Sr. In addition to Marcy, he is survived by his mother, Janet; children Danetta (Jeff), Doreena (Bill), Melissa and Matthew (Lisa); grandchildren Brittany, Anthony and Josephine; and siblings Barb (Jim), Diane, Jerry and Kathy. Funeral services were held last Wednesday.
written by, Jeff Rush