Obituary: Paul Kolinski, 88, of Ludington

March 27, 2023

Paul Kolinski

Obituary: Paul Kolinski, 88, of Ludington

Paul Walter Kolinski, 88, of Ludington, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Friday, March 24, 2023.

Paul was born on February 5, 1935, the only son of Walter and Josephine (Krawczunas) Kolinski, in Petoskey during one of the worst snowstorms of the year.  As a child and young man, Paul attended St. Francis Xavier Catholic School where he excelled in sports. Paul was the quarterback of the football team, forward on the basketball team, ran on the track team and was the top player of the golf team.  As a junior, he was a key part of the underdog golf team that defeated all the big schools to win the 1953 state championship. To cap off his high school athletic career, Paul was named to all-conference for basketball in 1953 and 1954. Paul was also a member of the very first graduating class of St. Francis Xavier High School in 1954.  

Following high school, Paul attended Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, where he was a member of the golf team, competing for the Saints during his four years there.  He graduated from Aquinas College with a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1958.

“Uncle Sam” requested Paul’s presence in the military, and he joined the US Army upon graduating from Aquinas. Paul loved telling people that he was in boot camp at Fort Hood, Texas when Natalie Wood came to visit Elvis there.  Following that, Paul served in Korea where he was a clerk responsible for transporting Top Secret documents between bases. 

After his stint in the Army, Paul returned to Michigan where he worked for the Hartford Insurance Company in Grand Rapids for several years. He then joined the Boyer Insurance Agency in Manistee, which turned out to be quite important for his future as a pretty dental assistant named Jane Mrozik worked in the same building. After almost two years of boat rides and dinner dates, Paul and Jane were married at St. Mary’s of Mt. Carmel Shrine in Manistee on October 12, 1968.  Following their wedding, they moved to Ludington, where Paul was the owner/agent of The Kolinski Insurance Agency until he retired in 2005.  While building their lives in Ludington, Paul and Jane welcomed four daughters into their family: Natalie, Stefanie, Cynthia and Kathleen. 

Paul was an avid golfer, starting at a young age with caddying at Bay View Country Club in Petoskey, which was right next to his childhood home.  One of his proudest moments as golfer was being named to the Jaycees’ International Amateur Golf team which competed in Ireland in 1968.  Paul was also a member of the Manistee Golf & Country Club in Manistee, winning club championships in 1965, 1966 and 1968. As a member of Lincoln Hills Golf Club in Ludington, Paul won club championships in 1972, 1973, 1976, 1977 and the senior championship in 1990.  To top off his golfing passion, Paul achieved the elusive Hole in One at Lincoln Hills on August 8, 1973.

Paul also loved grabbing his fishing pole and heading to his dream cottage on the Pere Marquette River near Baldwin. Countless browns, rainbows, steelhead and salmon were caught by Paul and enjoyed by his family and friends. With lots of hard work, Paul turned that cottage into a second home and spent many hours on his John Deere tractor making the lawn pristine and keeping everything ready for visitors.  The cottage will forever be remembered by his family as “Paul’s Palace on the River”. 

Paul is survived by his wife of 54 years, Jane (Mrozik) Kolinski; his daughters Natalie (Kerry) Syrba of Grand Rapids, Stefanie Rader of Gibsonton, Fla., Cynthia (Jamie) Bennett of Ludington and Kathleen (Luke) Bootz of Ludington.  Paul is also survived by his grandchildren: Rachel Syrba, Lauryn Syrba, Kaitlin Rader, Nicholas Bennett, Madisen Bennett, Avah Bootz, Kol Anthes and Graysen Bootz.  Also missing him terribly is Paul’s constant canine companion, Kinzy.

Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Josephine Kolinski; his sisters Alice Neuman and Diane Kolinski; his father-in-law Jack Mrozik and mother-in-law Isabel Mrozik. Waiting for Paul at the Rainbow Bridge are his beloved dogs Pepper and KaCy.

The family would like to thank his Hospice of Michigan nurse Laurrie, aide Tina and Pastor Mark O’Brien for their excellent care and compassion for Paul during the later stages of his extended illness. 

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, at noon at Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington, with Rev. Daniel DePew presiding. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Paul’s memory be made to: Childhood Cancer Campaign (for Maci Jensen), Ludington.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington, www.OakGroveLudington.com. 

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