Viola Helen (nee Balla) Merchak, age 83, of Hudson, Wisconsin, formerly of Painesville, OH, joined our Lord on the morning of February 16, 2013 at the Comforts of Home in Hudson surrounded by her loved ones.
Viola was born on September 15, 1929 to Daniel and Theresa Balla in Painesville, OH. Both of her parents had been previously married with children and then widowed before marrying each other. She was blessed with her brother Daniel, and siblings through other marriages: Irma, Mary, Margaret, Irma, Susan, and Rose. She attended St. Mary’s Elementary School in Painesville, OH. In 1947, she graduated from Harvey High School where she met her husband of 52 years, Joseph John Merchak. In 1951, they were united in marriage at the University of Notre Dame Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus where Joseph attended college. Six years later, they moved to Hudson, WI where they joined St. Patrick’s Parish and spent the remainder of their lives. By 1963 they were blessed with six children: Joe, Teresa, Ken, Mary, Paul, and Pat. After starting her family, Viola became a Fuller Brush door-to-door saleswoman. Shortly thereafter, she attended and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 1970 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and minor in Journalism. After complications from surgery, she decided to attend Mounds Midway School of Nursing where she obtained her RN certification in 1979. She then worked at the Hudson Memorial Hospital.
Despite the many demands of her education and large family, she set a great example for her children and grandchildren through her contributions of time and faith in the church. As a Cub Scout Den Mother, she demonstrated her faith as she helped her young sons grow into accomplished young men. Viola sang in the Hope Choir, volunteered as an RFP teacher, served as a sponsor for the RCIA program, taught numerous Bible classes, participated in Church women’s groups, created large-scale wreaths for various seasons which decorated the church sanctuary and social hall, and tended the church gardens and landscaping for numerous years. She was a devout member of St. Patrick’s Parish where she attended mass and the stations of the cross on a regular basis.
Her beloved husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998, and he fought a courage battle for the next five years. Throughout this time, she continued to have faith in God and supported him through his suffering until his death in November 2003. Following an initial period of shock and deep grief, she sought strength in her steadfast faith, and with God’s help, began to create a new life without her trusty companion.
Viola was preceded in death by her husband Joseph; siblings Irma Nelson, Margaret Agardi, Susan Lefelhocz, and Rose Cinke; and granddaughter Angel Peterson. She is survived by siblings Mary Salley, Daniel Balla, and Irma Venley; sons Joe (Peggy) Merchak, Ken (Leaha) Merchak, Paul (Laura) Merchak, and Patrick (Sharon Walsh) Merchak; daughters Teresa Smock, and Mary (Scott) Peterson; and grandchildren JP, Tommy, Patrick (Anna), Kenneth II, KoraJane, Konnor, Kollon, Rachel, Michelle, Andrea, Christopher, and Elise Merchak, Alex, Sammy, and Chuck Peterson, and Katie (Roy) Barkman.
Mass of Christian Burial for Viola Merchak will be held at 10:00am on Wednesday, February 20 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 1500 Vine Street in Hudson. Visitation 4:00-7:00pm, with a 7:00pm Prayer Service, on Tuesday at the O’Connell Funeral Home, and 9:00am Wednesday at church. Memorials are preferred to the discretion of the family. Services have been entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson, WI. 715-386-3725