John Thomas Kowalczyk
John Thomas Kowalczyk, 85, of Charlotte Hall, MD died on April 22, 2020 at Washington Hospital Center, in Washington, DC from complications of a heart attack.
John ‘Jr’ was born on April 22, 1935, in Houtzdale, Pennsylvania. He was the only son of the late Eva (Manjack) and John Joseph Kowalczyk. He had three sisters, Rose, Marian and Patsy. He loved his family deeply and had much affection for his hometown.
He graduated from Houtzdale Woodward Brisbin High School where he was president of his senior class. He was a proud graduate of Penn State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and Binghamton University where he received a Masters’ degree in Management Science.
John served in the United States Marine Corps in Parris Island, SC where he was a member of the United States Marine Corps band. His love of music was lifelong. While living in upstate NY, he played the tenor saxophone and accordion for the band Wally G. and the Moonlighters. During his retirement in Pinehurst, NC, he played the clarinet for the Moore County concert band and baritone saxophone for the Sandhills Community College Jazz band. Most recently, he played the alto saxophone for the Solid Brass jazz band of Waldorf, MD.
John had a 26-year career with IBM in upstate NY, Austin, TX and Boca Raton, FL. After his long career with IBM, he worked for several years for Sensormatic Electronics in Boca Raton, FL as the Vice President and General Manager. He holds a patent for a Sensormatic Electronics device design. One of John’s greatest career joys was walking the manufacturing floor and talking with the line employees. He not only knew every employees’ name, but also knew the names of their children and grandchildren. He was always able to recant a timely story about something meaningful that was going on in their lives.
John was an active member of the Catholic Church. During his retirement in Pinehurst NC, he was a member of the Knights of Columbus and served as the Grand Knight of the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic church council. He was also in service nearly every Sunday evening for Eucharistic adoration. Most recently, he was a member of the Knights of Columbus of Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic church council in Waldorf, MD.
John is lovingly survived by his children, daughter Cherie Kowalczyk Estes and her husband Chris of Washington, DC, and son John Michael Kowalczyk and his wife Tammy of Boone, NC, and grandsons Wilson Purcell, Zachary Kowalczyk and Judd Kowalczyk. He is further survived by his sisters Marian Burns of Grand Island, NY and Patricia Gallagher of Waldorf, MD and many nieces and nephews.
John had a big personality. As a young husband and father, he and his neighbors on Janice St. in Endicott, NY pranked each other often. He talked about those fond times for years afterwards. During family gatherings, he would often lead sing-a-longs and he always entertained with his story telling. When his body was able, he loved to snow ski and water ski. He also enjoyed playing softball and tennis. In his later years, he was most at home on the golf course.
John’s family wants to express their deepest gratitude for the staff at Charlotte Hall Veteran’s Home in Charlotte Hall, MD for the loving care they provided for the past 3+ years of his life. The staff lovingly referred to John as “Special K”.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Charlotte Hall Veterans home Veterans Assistance Fund at https://www.charhall.org/content/donations/
A graveside service will be held on Friday, July 10, 2020 at 11:30 am: with Rev. Father Joseph Staszewski officiating at the Saint Lawrence Cemetery in Houtzdale, PA.
Heath Funeral Home & Cremation Services, LLC, Osceola Mills, PA is in charge of arrangements.
To sign the online guestbook go to: www.heathfuneral.com