Decorated World War II veteran Wallace A. Brezik taught his family the value of hard work.
Brezik, who landed on Utah Beach in Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion, was awarded many medals including the Silver Star and Bronze Star.
A sergeant in Company B 82nd 3051st Engineer Combat Battalion, Brezik, who was stationed in North Africa and across Europe, also fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
While stationed in Germany, Brezik met Gisela, who was standing in a food line with her family while he was on patrol. After much bureaucratic red tape, the couple married in New York July 2, 1948. Married 52 years, Gisela died in 2001.
“He never quite recovered from losing her,” son John Brezik said.
Brezik received his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in philosophy from Notre Dame.
John Brezik said his parents made many educated and influential friends at Notre Dame including professors and scientists.
“Graduating from Notre Dame, you don’t just become a sports fan it becomes a part of your life,” John Brezik said. “It becomes an enduring part of your character.”
Brezik, a staunch Catholic, moved to Gary and became a lead adjuster covering a three-state territory for a Chicago casualty insurance company. Wanting to spend more time with his family, Brezik and his wife bought the Loreli Restaurant and Tavern in Glen Park.
“He changed an old neighborhood bar into a well-known family restaurant, focusing on entertainment.” John Brezik said. “It was well-known for the barbeque ribs. Bon Apetit Magazine even wrote and asked for the recipes.”
Later the Breziks moved to Marion, Ill., where they operated Ban Dor Motor Inn, a motel restaurant and lounge which was once owned by Guy Lombardo.
In his later years, Brezik was zoning administrator for Lake County, retiring at age 82. John Brezik said his father was a fair man who believed in everybody to a fault.