By Sterling McGinn
You have probably seen Kathy Dzelak managing the produce section at Rahilly’s IGA, working the McMillan Township voting precinct, or wearing an apron at a fund-raising meal. She is always very active in her hometown, and is willing to lend a hand.
Kathy was born and raised right here in Newberry, and was one of four children. She said her first job was babysitting for Jim and Laurie Depew when she was 12 years old. Kathy graduated from Newberry High School, and started working as a nurse’s aid at the old Annex building.
She later met and married Jim Dzelak, and they lived in Superior, Wisconsin for several months. The couple then moved to Newberry in 1973. Kathy operated a daycare out of her house shortly after moving back to Newberry. The Dzelaks have three children: Keri, Jim and Kendra, and now have five grandchildren.
Kathy began a 27-year career at Rahilly’s IGA in 1985. She started working in the produce section, and eventually became the produce manager. She retired in 2012. “I loved working at Rahilly’s—it was the best job I ever had,” she declared.
One of her favorite hobbies is sewing and quilting. She enjoys quilting with her friends at the American Legion every Monday. The group gets to together and makes quilts for veterans and other worthy recipients. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Kathy worked diligently to make nearly 1,000 masks for family and friends, and for anybody who needed one.
She also made dignity quilts for Beaulieu Funeral Home. Her most recent project was making women’s mittens from used sweaters.
Like her parents, Kathy likes being involved in the community. She is member of the Newberry Save the Bells committee, and has worked very hard to assist in restoring Newberry’s famous Christmas decorations. Kathy and her quilting friends used their skills to make more than 100 new cloth covers for the three different sized bells. She is also planning to sew the white Christmas stars this year.
Kathy is also a long-time member of the American Legion Post 74 Auxiliary, and of St. Gregory’s Catholic Church.
Kathy is always willing to assist in community meals for the American Legion, St. Gregory’s Catholic Church, and many others. Most importantly, she never misses cheering on her grandchildren at their home and away sporting events.
Kathy and her daughters are currently embarking on a mobile coffee shop, known as K’s Coffee and Sweets. “It was my daughter’s dream to open a drive-up coffee shop,” Dzelak stated.
The new coffee business will be located in the American Legion Post 74 parking lot. They are hoping to have the business open in the next couple of months.
Kathy says she loves the small-town life, and would never leave Newberry. “I am proud of my home town,” she said. “I love living here, and helping the community,”