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This website is a jumbled collection of things I enjoy, and an excuse for me to play with colors.
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People I Miss Very Much
A Chronicle of the worst 3 years of my life
Grandma Louise
Jackie Kozlick
Uncle Dennis
Joey Venus
4-21-1999
12-16-2000
5-22-2000
6-6-2001
Please help find my missing friend, Becky Marie Kraemer (Marzo)!

"Unable are the Loved to die
For Love is Immortality."
- Emily Dickinson

On June 5, 2006, my beloved Grandpa, Edward Struzik, passed away. He was 92 years old and we thought in the best of health. On Saturday, he had been complaining about his stomach hurting a bit, and asked for tums. My husband and I spent all day with him that day. Sunday my dad took him to the emergency room because he wasn't feeling any better and they were worried. They admitted him and were planning to run tests on him monday morning, so he stayed overnight. Monday morning at about 6am, the nurse came in to check on him and bring him his pain pills. He told her that he didn't need them, and that he felt really good, and then went back to sleep. Within a half an hour, his heart monitor started going off and they called my dad. My parents didn't make it there in time. He died of congestive heart failure.

Grandpa got to go the way he always said he wanted to - without pain, very quickly, in his sleep. In the 7 years since Grandma Louise died, he had missed her very badly, and I know that he is finally reunited with her as he always wanted to be. But that doesn't make it any easier for the rest of us. Grandpa lived with my parents for 8 years, and we all just took it for granted that he would easily make it to 100. I used to joke with him that he would outlive me (and for awhile, I was quite serious about that.) He was very healthy for his age. He had never drank or smoked, and grandma had taken excellent care of him their entire married life. My parents took excellent care of him after that.

He was always very cheerful about everything. We used to sit in his room and chat for hours at a time about Judge Judy, which he loved, or the current stock market, (he day-traded on the computer with my dad!) or just about life, the universe, and everything. He was interested in everything! His one foible was that, every time we'd ask him about something in the future (a wedding, a vacation, etc) he would always say "well, I don't know if I'll be here this time next year, but we'll see". It used to upset us and my sister and I would be in tears, but he said it every week for 8 years, so after awhile it became one of those "grandpa-isms" that my sister and I would share a smile about.

Grandpa Eddie was a really neat person. He had lived through the Depression and had found interesting ways to stay self employed and even thrive in a time when others could barely put gas in their cars. He had also survived 2 Catholic orphanages after his mother died when he was very young - no small feat in those days - he had countless horrifying stories about how cruelly and brutally the nuns had treated them in the orphanage. Even at 90, he would spit on the sidewalk when he saw a nun!

Grandpa owned his own business for over 70 years. My dad worked with him from the time he could first walk, and they were in business together for many, many years until grandpa retired when he was 86. (He didn't really want to retire, but his back was in very bad shape because he'd worked too hard when he was younger). He still went to visit customers with dad, and everyone loved to see him. My grandpa and my dad were best friends for over 50 years, and I saw as much of my grandparents as I did my parents - sometimes more when mom and dad were at work when we were young!

Grandpa was very proud of all of his grandchildren. He loved to hear about my customers and my business, and he was interested in everything about us. He loved to hear about what I was working on and for who, and he really loved it when I brought my laptop over and showed him all of my websites. He used to print them out and keep them so that he could read every page, so that we could discuss it later. He was amazing.

He also adored his great-granddaughter Nadya, my sister's daughter. When she started crawling, the first thing she would do every single day (and several times throughout the day) was crawl down to his bedroom and look at him and smile! After he passed away, she kept crawling into his room and looking around as though she thought he would be there any minute. I'm so thankful we have pictures of them together to show her when she gets older.

Dad and Grandpa

Sarah, Jess & Grandpa

Grandpa Eddie and Grandma Louise


My cousin Joey Venus (aka Joe, aka Joelle, aka Ritchie) was in a car accident and passed away on friday, July 6th 2001, just weeks before his 30th birthday. It is believed that someone slipped GHB, the "date rape drug" into his drink. We don't know who, or why, or even if it was meant for him at all or simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He had just gotten married, and bought a house near the Air Force Base where he worked in Virginia. He was a Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He had already re-enlisted twice, and was going to again. He loved playing Rugby and sports in general. He was the manager in charge of the unit that worked on the official Air Force family of websites. We were all incredibly proud of him. I used to love talking to him about computers, comparing websites we'd made, and picking his brain about technical stuff. I always bragged about him. I admired him so much.

Joey was fantastic - smart, sweet, charming, kind, and so many other things. He was full of life, and he just made you feel good when he was around. To know him was to love him, and he made everyone feel at ease. We were very surprised to find out after he died that his many friends in different cities had known him by different names. Some people knew him as Joe or Joey, others called him Joelle, and some even called him Ritchie for some reason. But no matter what name other people called him by, he was loved by each and every one of them.

He was an organ donor, and matches were found for his heart, liver, and kidneys. Because of him, others will have a chance at life that they would not have had otherwise. Though it grieves our family to have lost him, we can at the very least find a small consolation in the lives that he saved with his final gift. In Joey's honor, my husband and I have also become organ donors.

Since you can't take your organs with you when you die, please consider giving someone else the gift of life as your final act on this planet. When you renew your drivers license, you can have them affix a donor sticker to declare your intentions. It only takes a moment, but it will literally mean the world to the person who receives your gift.


On Monday, May 22nd, 2000, my uncle, Dennis Cournoyer, was violently and senselessly taken from us. He was in love with life, and also with his desert. He spent 44 years on this earth, and in that time brought joy to many lives. He was loved, and will be sorely missed.



As for Eduardo Ernesto Gonzales, 41, (DOB 05/15/1961) of Wittmann (Maricopa County), AZ, the worthless, violent, drug addicted, ex-convict gang member who premeditatedly went to my uncle's isolated home in the desert, shot him, and then ransacked the place looking for anything that might be worth something, he was held in jail for a year and a half while awaiting trial (which he kept delaying with appeals) and then released on a technicality when the only witness/accomplice to his brutal crime disappeared.

Later, he was arrested again for, as I understand it, conspiracy to manufacture and distribute a very large amount of methamphetamine. During the investigation, he was caught bragging on tape to an undercover police officer, saying that he had killed a man (my uncle). He told the officer that my uncle had "disrespected" him in front of his girlfriend, and that was why he had concocted the plan and murdered him. I can't imagine what turns a human being into such an unfeeling psychopathic monster.

During the trial, Gonzales frequently showed up to court in a wheelchair for sympathy, and his advocate used taxpayer money to buy him expensive suits that hid all of the the prison and gang related tattoos that cover his body so that he'd look more respectable to the jury. He supposedly needed the wheelchair because while he was out of jail, a horse sat on him. That horse deserves a medal.

Alot of the terrible things he'd done to other people were not even admissible in court. His family showed up and cried and talked about how much they wanted him around to see his grandchildren. Apparently no one thought that my Uncle Dennis (or his family) deserved the same consideration. Gonzales himself sat and stared daggers at our family throughout the whole ordeal, and even had the nerve to tell the judge that my dad was staring menacingly at him when it was actually the other way around. If Eddie had been facing front like he was supposed to, instead of constantly turning around to stare and make faces at the bereaved family of his victim, then he would not have noticed anyone looking back at him.

To hear his lawyers tell it, never mind our pain, never mind our loss, never mind the fact that my uncle will never meet his grandchildren someday, or that my cousin Kerri no longer has a father, or that my mom , aunts, and uncle lost their big brother, or that my grandma, who he took care of, had to move back to Wisconsin because without him she couldn't live alone anymore, or that our entire family is heartbroken and emotionally devastated.

Gonzales took a life that was worth much more than his own is, and his "defense" was essentially to whine about how he was a victim of society, and the victim of a bad childhood (what an insult to the kindly grandparents who raised him, and to the rest of his family, who seemed quite normal and nice).

Because most of our family lives in Wisconsin, my grandparents, who went to the courthouse faithfully every day, had to endure most of this alone. My parents and aunts flew down for short periods of time when they could get away from work, and my aunt Deb and I were able to fly down for the sentencing phase in December 2005 and share our victim impact statements with the judge. But for the most part, my grandparents were there all alone, while his family had the opportunity to show up every day.

When I was there, we were waiting for court to start, and Gonzales quite spryly used his legs to turn his wheelchair around continuously so that he could stare menacingly at us, despite repeated warnings from the bailiff. I stared back, mostly because he was directly in front of me and I couldn't really help it. He became agitated and had to be removed from the courtroom. I figured that if he had the nerve to look us in the eyes after the terrible, heartless thing he did, then I definitely had the nerve to look back at the soulless monster who stole the joy from my family. What I saw was a pathetic, sub-human creature who had absolutely no remorse for what he had taken from us, who blamed everyone except himself for his selfish actions. He smiled smugly the entire time, so sure he'd get off lightly because his entire family was there crying and pleading, while only 4 of our family could make it to his sentencing.

Perhaps he didn't realize just how many of us had written victim impact statements. Perhaps he just thought we didn't matter, because he obviously has no respect for anyone. But I found it incredibly amusing that he thought anyone would be intimidated by a cockroach like him. Without his gun, his gang, and his drugs, he was literally nothing. He weighed about 90 lbs soaking wet, and although I'm a girl, I could have snapped his spine like a rotten toothpick if given the chance. That would have been my idea of mercy and justice.

In addition to the 10 years he received for the drug manufacturing charges relating to the Meth Lab, the court sentenced him to Natural Life for murdering my uncle. So, 5 and a half years after he brutally murdered my uncle in cold blood, his trial finally ended and he was finally found guilty of 1st degree murder. I guess now he'll be someone's girlfriend in prison, and that's almost as good as the death penalty would have been, because it will happen to him more than just once, for the rest of his worthless little life.

I am thankful that he will never see the light of day again, so that other families will never have to endure the hellish nightmare that mine went through. Of course, now the good taxpaying people of Arizona have to waste their hard earned money to support this lowlife scumbag for the rest of his pointless life, and that's not fair either. But it's infinitely better than letting him out on the streets to murder more innocent people, so it will have to do.


On April 21, 1999 I lost my beloved grandmother, Louise Struzik (nee Pocian) to cancer. My parents, sister, grandfather, and I took care of her around the clock at home for several months with very little help from anyone else, while we tried chemotherapy and other remedies, but nothing worked. We gave her hospice care at home until the end, and she passed away surrounded by her family and by much love. She was the most amazing grandma!

She was so many things to so many people, but above all she was gentle, kind, and loving to everyone. When I was a child, I remember going to the dime store with her, where she would buy us little silk scarves, and then take us for ice cream, nature walks, etc. Because of her my childhood was filled with light and laughter. I still have dreams in which we walk across the field with her, holding her hands and skipping in the tall grass. I always see her as she was when I was a child: young, happy, healthy, always smiling. Full of life and sunshine. My grandmother was such a beautiful person.

She cooked polish soul food, she tried to teach us Polish (Buscha is grandmother, and Dziadek is grandfather), she babysat us constantly, took loving care of us when we were sick, had lots of fun with us when we were healthy, and showed us how much she loved us all the time.

No matter what I say about my grandma on this page, it can't even begin to touch the surface of who this beautiful woman was. I would need months and months just to list all of the wonderful little and big things she did for her family on a daily basis. We miss her so badly.



When I moved into my first apartment, I ordered address labels. I ordered sunflowers, but when they arrived, they were the wrong ones. They were baskets of pansies, grandma's favorite flowers. I sat down and cried, wishing my grandmother could have been there to see my first apartment and share in the little joys of life with me the way she always had. She would have been so happy for me. I think that the pansies may have been her way of telling me so. Even all of these years later, the pain of losing her never goes away. It's like someone ripped a hole in my heart that never heals.

Knowing how much joy she brought to so many people while she was here helps to make it seem at least bearable. I try to keep reminding myself that it's better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all, and without great happiness, there would be no great sorrow.

I am lucky I was able to spend so much time with her throughout the years. It hurt so badly to lose her because she was so wonderful to us each and every day, and I understand how lucky were were to have someone like her in our lives. For that, I am grateful. Rest in Peace grandma, I am thankful you are no longer suffering.


In the early hours of Saturday, December 16th, 2000, we lost our dear friends Jackie Kozlick and Phil Leverance in a fatal car accident. I didn't know Phil as well as I did Jackie. I do know that he was smart, shy, very, very nice, and well liked by everyone who knew him.

Jackie was a total sweetheart. She was not only a fantastic manager in our tech support department, where we all worked together, but she had a great ironic sense of humor, and she always had something kind to say. She was incredibly smart, and a very hard worker. Her memory will live through the hundreds of people who knew and loved her, and all of our hearts go out to her husband, daughter, parents, and other family.

After our official work Christmas party, some of us went to Senor Lunas in New Berlin, which was across the street from our office. Everyone who worked at ExecPC went there several times a week, even us non-drinkers, because of pool table, jukebox, and of course the mexican food. We had a blast that night. Jackie kept playing "Dancing Queen" on the jukebox. It was her favorite song (and mine too). Everyone got very silly. Our little group was among the very last to leave. Nait, Dave, Chris, and I were the last people to see them, which still haunts us to this day. Jackie's husband had gone home to watch their daughter after the first party, so we helped Jackie get into Phil's car and said our goodbyes, all of us planning on seeing each other at work the next day as usual. I was designated driver for those of us going in the opposite direction. The weather was terrible, and there was black ice everywhere. I spun out on the freeway a couple of times (both on the way there and the way home) and it was nerve racking. The next morning, we found out that Jackie and Phil had not been so lucky. They had collided with a city plow on a narrow road that was covered in black ice. Several other people died that day as well in unrelated accidents.

I registered a star in Jackie's name so that whenever her daughter looks up at the sky, she'll know that her mother is smiling down on her with love.


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