Family, friends and members of All Saints Parish are mourning the loss of beloved Choir Director Arlene F. Skwierawski, who touched and transformed many lives at North Division High School, All Saints, the Alumni Choir and among the Black Community. She died Friday, Aug. 13, of Alzheimer’s disease.
Born and raised in West Allis to Frances and George Skwierawski, Arlene returned to Milwaukee after 10 years in the convent and began her career as head of the music department at North Division High School.
Throughout her 25-year career, she directed more than 26 musicals and dance performances, including “The Wiz,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Porgy and Bess” and an original play, “We are the Drum.”
Skwierawski created the community theatre, CAPITA (City of Peace in the Arts) Productions. She and her students performed at Carnegie Hall, Jimmy Carter’s inauguration and churches throughout France, Africa and the U.S.
Through music and drama, she helped students develop their talents, open their minds to others and achieve their dreams. She was a stalwart defender of equal rights and social justice, once marching with Fr. Jim Groppi for open housing.
A friend and fellow parishioner, Sandra Melcher, has fond memories of Arlene.
“She played for my wedding, making it one of the most joyful, spirited wedding ceremonies and Masses,” she said.
She is survived by her brothers, Michael (Gloria) and Donald (Linda); by her dear friend Rev. Robert McGlinn, companion in ministry in Central America for over 50 years; and by cousins, nieces and nephews; and a large extended family, and by thousands of former students.
All Saints Catholic Church
4051 N. 25th St., Milwaukee
Friday, Aug. 20
4 to 6 p.m.: Viewing
6 to 7 p.m.: Arlene Skwierawski: A Celebration of Life
Saturday, Aug. 21
Call To Worship 9:45 a.m.
Funeral Mass: 10 a.m.
Private Burial to follow
Donations in her name are suggested to either:
CAPITA Productions Inc. or UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute -The Amazing Grace Choir