Albin J. Sowka, 95, of Stevens Point, passed away Wednesday, September 25, 2019, surrounded by his loving family. Albin was born in Chicago, IL on March 1, 1924, the son of Arthur and Rose (Wisniewski) Sowka. He attended grade school in Chicago and graduated from Holy Trinity High School in June 1941. He attended Loyola University North Shore campus studying premed. In 1942 he enlisted in the US Army Reserve and was called to active duty in December 1943. He served until March of 1946. He completed medical school at Loyola University School of Medicine in Chicago in 1947, followed by internship and surgical residency at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital in Elmhurst, IL and further post graduate work at Illinois Research Hospital.
He met his future wife, Rita Ann Krishack, while in residency at St. Mary’s, where Rita was working as a nurse. They married in July 1950 in Elmhurst at Immaculate Conception Church. Rita preceded him in death in September 2007. After completing his surgical training, he received orders from the US Air Force in March 1951 to proceed to Tokyo, Japan for assignment in the Korean War. He spent 18 months at Tachikawa Air Base repairing war wounded service members and doing other types of surgical procedures. Upon rotating back to the United States, he was ordered to Sampson Air Base Hospital at Geneva (Lodi) New York. He served as Chief of General Surgery and earned the rank of Major. After resigning his commission from the Air Force in January 1954, Dr. Albin joined his uncle Dr. Paul Sowka to form the Sowka Clinic in Stevens Point. At that time, he also joined the surgical staff at St. Michaels Hospital. He served in many positions at the hospital including Chief of Staff during the 36 years he practiced medicine in Stevens Point.
In 1956 he became a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and in 1958 a member of the American College of Surgeons. He served on the founding boards of the Portage County Sheltered Workshop and the Pacelli Athletic Association. He was the first team doctor for Pacelli football and basketball teams. At various times he was a member of the Rotary Club, the Serra Club, American Medical Association (AMA], the American Legion Post 6 and the Knights of Columbus (4th degree). He and Rita belonged to the Whiting Dancing Club, Stevens Point Country Club and Tennis at Sentry World.
Dr. Albin and his children created lasting family memories on fishing trips to Northern Wisconsin and Canada. The entire family enjoyed many years of swimming and boating vacations on the Waupaca Chain of Lakes and on Lake Namekagon near Cable. After retiring in October 1990, he and Rita enjoyed escaping Wisconsin winters by spending extended time in Florida for a number of years.
Dr. Albin enjoyed singing with the Resurrection Choir at Holy Spirit Parish for many years and remained active in the Parish.
Survivors include 6 sons: Gregory (Marti), James (Donna), Lawrence, Thomas, Steven (Diane) and John, one daughter, Joanne, and one brother Jack of Pittsburgh PA. He is further survived by seven grandchildren: Ellen (Eric) Goodman, Julie (Trevor) Roark, Lauren (Patrick) Dailey, Daniel (Shannon) Sowka, Stacey (Ryan) Stafford, Michael (Myselle) Sowka and Brian (Rachel) Sowka and seven great-grandchildren: Faith and Betsy Goodman, Nadia and Silas Roark, Joe and Lena Dailey, and Matthew Sowka. In addition to his wife, Rita, he was preceded in death by his parents, a daughter (Marcia Ann), who was stillborn, grandson David Sowka and sister Bernadine Zarnick.
Dr. Albin’s family would like to thank Ascension Hospice Program and Ascension St. Michael’s Hospital for their care of Albin during his final days.
Visitation will be held at Pisarski Funeral Home, 703 Second St. Stevens Point on Friday October 4 from 4 to 7 pm. The funeral mass will be Saturday, October 5 at 10:30 am at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1709 Wyatt Ave. Stevens Point. There will also be visitation at the church from 9:30 to 10:30 am prior to the funeral mass. Burial with full military honors will follow in Guardian Angel Cemetery. Pisarski Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family. For online condolences please visit www.pisarskifuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Holy Spirit Parish, St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation, the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin (all of Stevens Point) or a charity of the donor’s choice.
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