Joseph Gabriel Gryckiewicz, Jr., 93, of New Britain CT, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 20, 2019, surrounded by his family. Born and raised in New Britain to the late Joseph and Helen (Kaminski) Gryckiewicz.
As a devout Catholic, Joe was always involved in some aspect of the church. As a young man he was an alter boy at Sacred Heart church and later was in charge of keeping the Sacristy ready for all Masses as well as ringing the church bells twice a day. Ropes Joseph attached to the large bells had to be pulled in specific sequences in order to form a melody – a complicated task. Later in life he became a member of “Our Lady Rosary Makers” where he was instrumental in both making and obtaining supplies for others making rosaries. He continued making rosaries by hand until his passing.
As a member of the Boy Scout’s, Joe attained the rank of Life Scout, one step below Eagle. It always remained a disappointment to him that because he was unable to pay for the required swimming lessons, he was unable to achieve the highest rank. As a young man Joe used his scout training and swift thinking to save the life of a boy who was severely bleeding due to an accident. He was very proud that in 2015, his great grandson Christopher Tkac became an Eagle Scout.
As a member of the US Navy, Joe served in WWll aboard the USS Colusa in the Pacific Theater. His task as a signalman combined visual skills with the ability to spell out words using flags in twenty-six different positions each forming a letter.,
After the war, Joe began a plumbing business where he worked for fifty years. He was simply known as “Joe the Plumber” in his hometown.
Joe was a devoted father to his children, known as Poppy to his grandchildren and Papa Joe to his great-grandchildren. He had many hobbies and Blessed us all with handmade quilts, crocheted afghans, framed cross-stitched pictures, and votive candles that he made by the hundreds. He was known for his kindness and generosity to everyone.
He is survived by his five children, Frederic Gryckiewicz and his wife Ellen of North Carolina, Christine Swiatek and her husband Robert of Plainville, CT, Stephen Gryckiewicz and his wife Linda of Meriden CT, Jan Gryckiewicz and his wife Bonnie of Farmington, CT, and Joseph Gryckiewicz III and furry friend Grover of New Britain, CT; his seven grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren; several nieces, nephews and cousins. Joe also leaves behind his brother, Jules Gryckiewicz and his wife Donna of Putnam, CT; his sisters Helen Balint of Huntington, CT and Lee Johnson of North Carolina. Besides his parents, Joe is predeceased by his sister Ceal MacLean.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at St Jerome Church, 1010 Slater Road, New Britain, CT at 10:00 AM with military honors to follow. Burial will be at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St Jerome / St Kathrine Drexel Parish, 1010 Slater Road, New Britain, CT 06053