This morning, the house is bustling with the sound of movement. It’s usually around the holidays when the nicer clothes are laid out as we run about, getting ready for a special day. Today, however it’s different.
Today, we bury my grandfather. If you ask me what I remember, I’d probably recall something like this:
I can remember walking through his massive garden of zinnias and watching tons of butterflies. People would stop and take pictures of his front yard, and ask if they could buy a bunch or two.
I remember calling him the night the Red Sox won the World Series. Such a fan, he couldn’t take it — he had gone to bed early, thinking they would blow this like they had every other chance.
I remember picking peas from his immense vegetable gardens, collecting them in the fold in my shirt, and breaking them with him to prepare for dinner.
I remember that he showed me the proper way to eat a tomato, straight out of the garden with a little bottle of salt.
I remember him as the last person every Christmas, to open his gifts. He’d gently shake each package, and try to guess. I was mystified when he’d get them right.
I remember a lot.
He was stubborn, caring, proud, and humble all at the same time and he loved his family. He served this country in World War II, and knew the value of a hard day of work. Together with his wife, they raised six beautiful children. It’s no surprise that my Aunts and Uncles are incredible people because of their guidance.
While today is a solemn and sad day by all accounts, I am happy I had time with him. Knowing him, made me a better person and for that, I am grateful.
He will be missed.
Zdislaw J. Zielonka
1923 – – 2009
Zdislaw “Jerry” John Zielonka, 86, of Chicopee, passed away on Thursday, August 13, 2009 in Wilbraham. Born in Poznan, Poland and a resident of Chicopee for most of his life, he was the son of the late Frank and Stella (Konarski) Zielonka.
Jerry was a retired employee of Combustion engineering. He possessed a vast background in X-Ray analytical testing and retired in 1985. Jerry also had a career in aircraft maintenance beginning with his Navy service in World War II as an aircraft mechanic. He continued that career path with the U. S. Government at Westover AFB and then at Kaman Aircraft Corp in Bloomfield, CT working as an experimental helicopter mechanic.
Jerry was a Navy veteran of World War II. An Aircraft Machinist Mate Second Class he served at NAS Whidbey Island, WA and was attached to several Air Transport Squadrons. Jerry was a communicant of St. Stanislaus Basilica in Chicopee.
He was a man who loved life. An avid gardener, flowers were his passion, especially zinnias. He enjoyed music, particularly classical and loved to polka dance. The Red Sox and Patriots were his favorite teams and a good day was well spent with a good cigar and a fine glass of wine. Jerry was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He was predeceased by the love of his life, Madeline (Stadnicki) Zielonka in 1985 and by his siblings, Stanley Zielonka, Wanda Sayko, Frances Patterson and Kazmiera “Kazie” Gurka.
Jerry is survived by his children, Ellen Wittmer of Brooklyn, CT, Janice Zielonka of Seattle, WA, Carol Mann of Storrs, CT, Karen Beauchemin of Belchertown, Mark Zielonka of Prospect, CT, Lauren Howell of Chicopee; (8) grandchildren, Kathryn Baker of Enfield, CT, Evan Wittmer of Berlin, CT, Matthew Morrisson , Heather Morrisson and Samuel Morrisson all of Kent, WA, Sara Morrisson of Brooklyn, NY, Jessica Zielonka and Rebecca Zielonka both of Prospect, CT and (5) great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be on Monday, August 17, 2009 from the Lawrence A. Maziarz Mortuary 456 Front St., Chicopee at 9:00 a.m., followed by the Liturgy of Christian Burial in St. Stanislaus Basilica at 10:00 a.m. Burial will be in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Chicopee. Calling hours will be held on Sunday, August 16, 2009 from 4 to 7 p.m. Memorial contributions in Jerry’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701. For Guest Book: maziarzmortuary.com