Bro. Henry (Leonard) Kolbok, O.F.M., 85, a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption B.V.M. Province, died peacefully in his sleep Monday, March 16, 2020 at Milwaukee Catholic Home, where he had lived since 2018.
He was a gentle friar and a holy man of faith. Leonard was born to Leonard Kolbok and Julia (Saletnik)Kolbok on March 27, 1934. Both parents were born in Poland and immigrated to the United States of America. Because his parents died in his early years, Leonard was placed in foster care for a short time before finding himself at the Children’s Home operated by the Felician Sisters. It was there that he found a place to belong. The Felician Sisters provided the care and loving attention that helped Leonard consider a vocation to the Franciscan way of life.
He entered the novitiate at Queen of Peace Monastery, Lake Geneva on August 14, 1955, receiving the name “Henry.” On August 15, 1956, Brother Henry made his first profession. As a simply professed brother, Henry’s first assignment was to St. Joseph Friary in Sturtevant. He professed Solemn Vows on August 15, 1959. From 1961 to 1963 Henry lived and worked at Lourdes Friary, Cedar Lake, Indiana and then returned to St. Joseph Friary, Sturtevant. After three years, Henry was assigned to Assumption Friary, Pulaski. After seven years in Pulaski, Henry was assigned back East. The transfer took him to St. Pius X Friary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While in Philadelphia, Henry had several opportunities to visit the Felician Sisters in Lodi, the very place where his vocation was born. These visits offered him fond memories of the care and concern given him by the Felician Sisters.
His final assignment brought him back to Pulaski where he worked in maintenance, both in the printery and in the friary. He was one of the friars who saw the construction of the new friary and the demolition of the old. Henry was a trusted face to many of the employees of the printery and offered a kind smile and a helping hand to the people who worked in the printery as well as the friar community living there.
In 2018, Henry moved to the Milwaukee Catholic Home because of declining health.
Once at the Milwaukee Catholic Home, Henry could be found wheeling down the corridors, visiting the residents and offering that infectious smile of his. He came to know the residents, their families and friends. He endeared himself to many.
Burial will take place in the Provincial Cemetery, Pulaski, in the spring.