In Memory

Claudia Korczynski

Claudia Korczynski

go to bottom 
  Post Comment

09/12/19 01:19 PM #1    

Michael (Mike) Benestante

I met Claudia while at Waltrip where we shared a couple of classes. Though we exchanged pleasantries, I didn’t get to know  Claudia until our senior year. It was at Saint Ambrose catechism classes that we got acquainted.

There were only a handful of students in our class so the opportunity to interact was inevitable. Saturday afternoon theology class wasn’t the coolest activity for seventeen-year old’s but somehow in her own way Claudia stuck out with her opinions and smile. Her brashness in challenging the clergyman on antiquated religious matters I recall vividly. She was different than a shy kid who often looked at the clock for the hour to be over.

We didn’t meet again until  three years later where at the Galleria we had a chance encounter. I was working at the Houston Oaks hotel as a bellboy while attending Saint Thomas majoring in nothing. Ms. Korczynski was also an undergraduate student, but her future was solidly laid out. She was going to nursing school and was committed to that endeavor. At some point she mentioned that she was looking for a job at one of the boutiques. Having a good relationship with a restaurant manager at the hotel, I suggested to try there. A couple of weeks later she came by the service desk in the uniform of a Coffee Garden waitress! It was from that point forward that I got to know the real Claudia.

We dated for two or three months. My memory of her personality included outspokedness and humor with a tad of sarcasm thrown in. In particularly I recall her gift for conversation and her ability to out talk me (no simple feat). Opiniated and assertive, she was unlike any girl who I had known with my limited social life. I was a little intimidated as well.

One evening sticks out in my memory that involved another classmate, my best friend Mike Kalousek. Michael asked Claudia why she was so certain about nursing school. Her answer was typical “Claudia”, “Well, I already bought the shoes”. We were both stumped as to whether she was putting us on or indeed she owned a pair of nursing shoes. Years later I finally figured out that it was a bit of both her humor and intelligence. She used those shoes as a motivation factor to attain her degree. At the end of the summer we went our separate ways, largely due to the fact that Claudia was much more intelligent than me and  the maturation process had escaped me to that point.

Earlier this year we connected through Facebook and continued our friendship. Her wit and humor were still obvious, and she was well informed on entertainment and the environment. In early August I contacted Claudia to invite her to the Oak Forest Original’s reunion. She declined and mentioned that she had a procedure scheduled soon thereafter and didn’t want to push it. We caught up on our families, and I learned her husband had died much to young.

Later that month she expressed in detail her struggles with various afflictions. I tried to empathize the best that I could but much of her explanation was over my head and technical since she was drawing knowledge from 30 some odd years as an emergency room nurse. Later while at MD Anderson for the operation she sent a correspondence which left me in awe of her courage. Later still Claudia sent a final correspondence which demonstrated both contentment and peace. Despite the cancer and another debilitating disease- she was brave.

Claudia was one of a kind. Although she experienced early departure, she lived a full life. Through her family, our classmate will have an enduring legacy with children and grandchildren. Sorry for being so wordy, but Claudia left a positive impact on me that I won’t forget. To express humor throughout one’s life and to possess faith during our final challenge is something we can only admire and hope to imitate. I feel fortunate to have known her and to have benefitted from her attributes.


09/16/19 02:56 PM #2    

Pierre Gadmer

I too met Claudia at Waltrip where we shared some classes. Though I never got to know her well, we would talk and joke before classes since she sat across from me.  She was bright, witty, and drop-dead gorgeous.  I was in ROTC (not really popular in the late 60s).  When Claudia would see me in uniform in the hall or lunchroom she would come right up to me, slaute, and flash her 1,000 watt smile.  We would laugh and exchane a few quips.  That always made my day.  I'll bet she was the greatest nurse ever.  RIP Corporal Claudia!

09/20/19 12:30 PM #3    

Jeff Kirk

I'm sorry to hear about Claudia's passing. We were in the same home room, and she sat behind me. I don't think we were ever in a class together, but she and I traded comments on a daily basis. In recent years, we reconnected through social media, and she was as opinionated as ever. Rest in peace, Claudia.

go to top 
  Post Comment