Gabriala (Francis) Kolasa passed away at Grand Traverse Pavilions in Traverse City on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. Born at the family potato farm in Elmira on March 26, 1924, she was the daughter of Stephen and Katherine Franckowiak (Francis).
She spent her childhood in Elmira, where she was the 13th of 14 children. She then lived for a short time in Detroit, Lansing and Traverse City before moving to Gaylord. She had been a resident of the Pavilions for the past four years.
Gabriala graduated from Gaylord St. Mary's in 1942. She studied business at Saginaw Business School before taking a job during World War II at Cadillac Motors in Detroit.
She married Sylvester George Kolasa at St. Thomas Church in Elmira on Aug. 2, 1947. The family moved to Traverse City in 1952 and to Gaylord in 1958.
She was a homemaker and enjoyed gardening, reading, baking, sewing and being outside with her husband and children. She especially enjoyed mushroom hunting and fishing on the Jordan River near where she grew up. Even late in her life she credited her strong will, courage and health to growing up on the farm.
She was active in the PTO, Daughters of Isabella and the Rosary Society at St. Mary's Church.
After Sylvester's death in 1996, she lived independently in Gaylord until August of 2013. She spent time on church activities, family genealogy and rides in the country. She loved butter pecan ice cream, chocolate turtles and German chocolate cake.
Gabriala is survived by her children, Renard Kolasa (Marilyn), of Highland, Linda (Vernon) Barker, of Traverse City, Jane (Donald) Conway, of Traverse City, and Michael Kolasa (Kim), of Republic. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Sarah (Mark) Bouma, of Kalamazoo, Stephanie (Jon-Micheal) Wheat, of Winnetka, Illinois, Michael (Laura) Kolasa, of Fairbanks, Alaska, and Jeffrey (Kalin) Barker, of Traverse City. She had seven great-grandsons and two great-granddaughters, Ethan Michael, Jack Renard and Caleb Andrew Bouma, of Kalamazoo, Charles Micheal, Benjamin Thomas, William Henry and Catherine Grace Wheat, of Winnetka, Illinois, Elias John Kolasa, of Fairbanks, Alaska, and Adeline Mae Barker, of Traverse City.
A special thank you goes out to the attentive staff at Grand Traverse Pavilions, especially Cherry Wing, who provided wonderful care for Gabriala.
Gabriala's husband, Sylvester, passed away in 1996 after 49 years of marriage. She was the last surviving sibling of her family. She was preceded in death by her siblings, Ignace (Anna) Francis, Joseph Francis, Jack Francis, Vincent (Leona) Francis, Tillie (Casimir) Chomicz, Albert (Sophie) Francis, Pearl (Clarence) Osga, Wallace (Elsie) Francis, Clara (Allen) Gubb, Helene (Leslie) Grover, Antoinette (Edward) Gunderson, Sylvester (Felicia) Francis and Victoria (Charles) Krolokowski. She also had two half-sisters who were Dominican nuns, Sister Imeldina and Sister Balbina; and a half-brother, Theodore Franckowiak.
We will celebrate Gabriala's life, but she will be sadly missed by family and friends. As she always said, "Death is just another chapter of life."
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary's Cathedral in Gaylord, on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 11 a.m. Family members will receive visitors one hour before the ceremony. Interment will be in the St. Mary Resurrection Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Grand Traverse Pavilions, 1000 Pavilions Circle, Traverse City, MI 49684.
Published on October 15, 2017