Born on July 21, 1942, in Stevens Point, he was the son of Joe and Dorothy (Shuda) Raflik. He was a member of one of the first graduating classes ’60, of Pacelli High School. At the age of 17, he joined the National Guard.
He worked numerous jobs throughout his life but ended up retiring with over 40 years as a self-employed drywaller. At one point, all of his five sons worked the business with him.
Chet married his elementary school sweetheart, Darlene Trzinski, on October 24, 1961, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Stevens Point. Immediately after, Chet was relocated to Tacoma, Washington to train for the Berlin Crisis. Thankfully, the crisis was resolved before Chet had to be deployed to combat. While there, Chet and Darlene’s first of five boys, Kevin, was born. The couple went on to have four more boys: Kenny, Johnny, Jerry, and David. Chet always said he grew up alongside his kids as he had five boys in seven years.
Chet’s hobbies and interests were many, but his pride in his Polish heritage surpasses them all. Chet’s passion for polka music was one of his most well-known attributes. Chet taught himself how to play the concertina, and from there, was able to teach himself to play multiple instruments; all while never receiving any official musical training, nor being able to read sheet music. Each Christmas when the grandkids were little, Chet would get out his concertina and wrangle up any of the kids who were currently taking music lessons to play some Christmas carols to entice Santa (usually a brother in costume) to come to bring the gifts.
Chet later used this talent for playing polka music by forming a polka band named Pan Czesiu, playing his concertina at local nursing homes, and even providing polkas for his oldest granddaughter’s wedding. Chet also loved anything with his hands, such as gardening, woodworking, and just being a handyman, fixing anything that needed fixing.
He also made a point to give back by volunteering at church picnics; serving as a board member of SPYBA, the St. Joe’s parish council, and Pacelli Athletic Board; coaching youth sports, and leading Cub Scouts. Chet also took Polish lessons so he could talk with some of the nursing home residents that he played concertina for.
Anyone that knew Chet knows he was the life of the party. His energy, storytelling, and smart-aleck comments made him a bright spot in any gathering. Chet loved the outdoors and spent countless hours snowmobiling, fishing, hunting, camping, taking trips to Canada, and enjoying time at the family cottage up north. Chet could always be found in the bleachers or auditorium of whatever extracurricular activities his kids and grandkids were involved in.
He made spending time with family a priority and instilled many life lessons for them, most notably that God and family were the two most important things in the world, in that order. Chet was the prayer leader of the family and made sure God received the credit before any family gathering or meal. Chet always ended any conversation with his grandkids with, “keep making Grandpa proud.” His love and warmth surrounded his family in all seasons of life.
Chet is survived by his loving wife, Darlene; his five sons Kevin (Mary), Kenny (Ann), John (Robin), Jerry (Suzie), and David; his grandchildren Leah (Paul), Travis, Laura (Paul), Kaitlyn, Hannah, Taylor, Jordan, Michael, Brad, and Haley; his great-grandchildren Elijah (with another on the way); his brothers Jerry (Sharon), Pat, Joe (Jo); his sisters Ann Somers, Aggie Hausman, Kathy (Don) Wisinski, and Dorothy Sankey; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents; his grandson Baby Kenny; his siblings Jimmy, Jack, Joanette; his in-laws Kathy Raflik, Darlene Raflik, Ruth Raflik, Rich Somers, and Bill Sankey.
Friends and relatives will gather to share memories at Shuda Funeral Chapel: Stevens Point on Tuesday, November 10, from 4-8 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial for Chet will be held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, at St. Joseph Catholic Parish. Burial with full military honors will be in the Guardian Angel Cemetery following the service.
Chet’s family wished to thank Ascension Home Hospice Care and North Ridge Memory Care for their kind and gentle care of Chet.
Online condolences may be sent by visiting www.shudafuneral.com.