Steve Wojcechowskyj of Wauwatosa died April 27, 2009, at age 54, of heart failure brought on by complications of pneumonia.
He was born in Danville, Va., but was raised in Wauwatosa. He traveled the globe for his wide-ranging business and eclectic personal interests. Fluent in German, his favorite places included Switzerland, France and Germany. He also loved his home in Florida.
Armed with an undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Southern California and a master's of business administration from New York University's Stern School, Steve quickly rose to become a vice president of Bank of America and then a senior vice president for Union Bank of Switzerland.
Not limiting himself to the staid world of high finance, he judged swimsuit competitions, dabbled in organic farming and was an avid fisherman, a self-described wine snob, culinary aficionado and travel nut.
Steve's high school and college nicknames attest to the affectionate regard his friends had for him: "Stevie Wonder," "Commander," "Wojo," "Uncle Steve," "The Woj" and "Dr. Woj."
Diagnosed with Nail-Patella syndrome as a child, he confronted his biggest challenge, dual kidney failure, in the late 1980s with typical Wojcechowskyj grit, determination, creativity and, ultimately, noblesse oblige.
At the time of his death, he was in the tiny 1 percent of renal dialysis patients who survived 20-plus years.
Throughout those years, he used his wide range of experience and his skills as an orator to benefit the field of nephrology. He became an expert in the field of nephrology as a nationally recognized patient advocate and patients-rights lobbyist.
He contributed time and treasure to the National Kidney Foundation. He also helped sponsor research fellows in many universities to attend national conferences, where he then arranged roundtable discussions. His only condition for this sponsorship was that they share their research openly to benefit the study of nephrology.
He is survived by his mother, Lillian Wojcechowskyj of Bradenton; brother, Leo Wojcechowskyj of Sarasota; sister, Julia Swanson of Atlanta; other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, Stephan Wojcechowskyj; and brother, Anatoly Wojcechowskyj.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 16, at the First Baptist Church of Bradenton, Bradenton, Fla.
Memorials are suggested to the Stephan Wojcechowskyj Jr. Memorial Fund to benefit kidney disease research, at the 5th 3rd Bank, 6601 Manatee Ave. West, Bradenton, FL 34209, Attn: Craig Eddy.
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