Henry J. "Lefty" Nowacki, age 93, of North Mankato, died Friday, August 16, 2013 at Hillcrest Health Care Center. A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in North Mankato. Visitation will be from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday evening at Woodland Hills Funeral Home in Mankato and will continue 1 hour before services at the church. Interment will be in Woodland Hills Memorial Park.
Lefty was born October 15, 1919 in Rockford, IL, the son of Walter and Josephine (Jedrusiak) Nowacki. At age 16 he attended the Ray Doan Baseball School in Hot Springs, AR, where he received instruction from major league players. Soon after he was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals and had a brief minor league career in Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska. Lefty was eventually invited by Bill Tanley to pitch in Mankato for the Key City Beverages team where his exploits were frequently chronicled by Free Press editor, Franklin Rogers. He also pitched for several teams in Southern Minnesota, including state champions in Mankato and Delavan. After Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the United States Navy serving from 1942 to 1946. North Mankato's Tanley Field was where he met Beverly Buck, his future wife. They married January 24, 1946 and settled in North Mankato. For more than 30 years, Lefty worked for Mankato Citizens Telephone Co. retiring in 1982.
Lefty will be missed by his children, Sue (Craig) Woodward of Mankato, Dan of Kodiak, AK, Mary (Dave) Haack of North Mankato and Pete (Lori) of Elko, MN; grandchildren, Cassie, Chrissie and Mark Woodward, John Haack, Jennie (Jason) Cashin, William and Gina Nowacki; great grandchildren, Tyler Haack, Brianna Pooley-Haack, Victoria Thomas-Haack and Kate Cashin.
He was preceded in death by his wife in 1999.