Sophie Marian Holland, 94, passed away at Century Oaks Assisted Living in Appleton on December 16, 2015.
Sophie was born in Iron River, MI on October 26, 1921 to John and Mary (Helseski) Swendeusz. Sophie graduated from Iron River High School with the class of 1939. She married Michael "Mike" Penkivech at the Assumption Catholic Church in Iron River. They began their life as farmers on a small farm in Stambaugh Township named Ottawa Dairy, where they bottled and sold milk and cream. They continued at that endeavor until the late 1940's at which time Mike became employed by the M. A. Hanna Mining Company. He died January 7, 1957 due to a cave in at the Cannon Mine. Sophie was then left a widow with five children ranging in age from fourteen years old to a five month old baby. With the help of family and friends she managed to move on and raise them. Sophie was active in her church as a member of the Ladies of Mary. She also served as a 4-H leader for several years. She loved teaching beginners the basics of sewing. Sophie was also active in the Homemaker Extension club. May years later when asked how she managed to raise five children alone Sophie said she did not know because she was too busy doing it.
In 1966 she married Dave Holland, a pipeline welder and contractor. In 1967 they sold the farm in Stambaugh Township and relocated to West Plains, Missouri with her children that were still at home. As a result of Dave's business, they did a lot of traveling throughout the US, including several years in the Austin, Texas area. Eventually they moved back to Missouri and remained there. Dave passed away in 1994. While living in West Plains, Missouri, Sophie was an active member of St. Mary's Catholic Church, The Red Hat Society, and a local bowling league, and the Sunshine Club. Sophie was an avid Packer Backer. Whenever there was a Packer game on TV she wore her Green Bay Packer sweatshirt and tied a Packer Bandana on her dog, Lady. She would also change her answering machine message to say "I can't come to the phone right now because the game is on. Please call back later." Sophie continued to live in West Plains Missouri until 2011 at which time she moved to Appleton, Wisconsin. Along with her husband, Sophie was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, John and Martin Swendeusz as well as sister, Stella Doenitz and son-in-law, Benjamin J. Stachowicz Jr. Although she had tragedy in her life at times, she lived a good full life filled with family and friends.
Surviving Sophie are all five of her children; Jack (friend Judy Hansen) Penkivech of Cedar Springs, MI, Patricia (Bruce) Paquette of Wausau, WI, Mary Stachowicz (friend Jerry Capelle) of Appleton, WI, JoAnn (Dennis) Graffious of Round Rock, TX and Susan (Willie) Starnes of Salado, TX. Also ten grandchildren; Cathy (Brian) Tilton of Forest Lake, MN, Becky (Ted) Johnson of Pepin, WI, Mike (Bridget) Paquette of Peshtigo, WI, Wendy Stachowicz of Minneapolis, MN, Janson (Lisa) Stachowicz of Black Creek, WI , Alycia Dukes of Louisville, KY, Jacquelynne (Thurman) Felder of Hutto, TX, Doninic Dukes of Leander, TX, Brooke (Brian) Mauric of Belmont, MI, there are also 15 great grandchildren along with many nieces, nephew, and other extended family including Barbara VanCampen and Fred Dukes. In keeping with Sophie's wishes she will be cremated and a service celebrating her life will be held this spring in Iron River, MI.
Heart of the Valley Cremation Services
101 N. Elm St.