Deacon Ken Kopydlowski, 82, dies

Milwaukee native served as a deacon for the Diocese of Green Bay for 44 years

ALLOUEZ — Deacon Ken Kopydlowski, 82, died on Aug. 21 in Sturgeon Bay. He was only 38 when he was ordained to the diaconate for the Diocese of Green Bay on May 7, 1977, by Bishop Aloysius Wycislo at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay

Deacon Kopydlowski, a Milwaukee native, served at SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Green Bay, until 2004, when he retired from his teaching position at Green Bay Correctional Institution. He then served at St. Joseph Parish, Sturgeon Bay, and SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Institute. Deacon Kopydlowski and his wife, Mary Lee, were married at St. Joseph Church in 1969. She died in October of 2014.

During a 2017 interview with The Compass in celebration of his 40-year anniversary as a deacon, Deacon Kopydlowski shared some good advice he had received about ministry.

“I always remembered what a priest once told me: ‘Every person is important.’ When I lead the rosary at nursing homes, I like to take the time to visit with each one there, to hold their hand and pay attention to them,” he said.

In 2009, Deacon Kopydlowski suffered a series of health issues, which forced him to cut back on some ministries and volunteer activities. He offered his own advice for those dealing with struggles in life.

“Tell God. Talk to him and he will listen,” he said.

He also suggested talking with a priest or someone else who can provide spiritual guidance.

“That’s how God reaches you,” he said. “Don’t hold things in.”

Deacon Kopydlowski worked in education for the correctional system, taught special education and provided counseling for domestic abuse, anger management, and drug and alcohol addiction. 

His education included an associate degree from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1961, a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965 and a master’s in teaching from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1972. 

He completed the diaconal ministry program from Cardinal Stritch College, Milwaukee, and earned a Master of Theological Studies from St. Norbert College, De Pere. He also took religious studies classes through Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Deacon Kopydlowski, who was known for his booming voice when giving a homily, saw similarities between his parish ministry and work with the incarcerated.

“I enjoyed the personal contact with people who needed to talk,” he said.

He is survived by a brother, Alex Kopydlowski, and two brothers-in-law, Dan (Marilyn) Johnson and Tim (Melinda) Johnson.

Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of the funeral Mass at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26, at St. Joseph Church, Sturgeon Bay. Fr. Robert Stegmann will be the celebrant. Entombment will follow at St. Joseph Mausoleum.