Stanley Michalowski, a lifelong Syosset resident, World War II veteran, 40-year worker at Grumman and volunteer firefighter for more than six decades, died Jan. 31 at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow from complications following a fall. He was 85.
Michalowski, whose father was a Polish immigrant, joined the U.S. Army at age 19 in 1943 and saw action in East Africa and the Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns, mostly as a truck driver carrying bombs and other munitions to the fronts, his family said.
After he was honorably discharged in 1946 as a corporal, he married his sweetheart, Evelyn Wesnosske of Huntington, and they were together until her death 60 years later, relatives said.
He worked for Republic Aviation in Farmingdale for a year and, later, Grumman Aircraft in Valley Stream, Farmingdale and Bethpage. He retired from Grumman in 1987.
"He was very proud of his work on Grumman's Lunar Excursion Modules [LEM], and Dad helped put one in the Smithsonian," said his oldest daughter, Evelyn Barton of Valrico, Fla., referring to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
He was an avid bowler, golfer and New York Yankees fan, his family said.
"Dad used to love to take us on vacation somewhere every year," Barton said, "and then he would take his grandchildren and great-grandchildren on camping trips."
Michalowski joined the Syosset Fire Department in 1949 and was an active member of Emergency Company No. 4 until his death. "The fire department was just an extension of our family life, and we loved it," Barton said.
He served as a trustee of his fire company and was a board member of the department's benevolent association.
Later in his career, he traded in his turnout gear for the tools of a fire policeman to help protect the scenes of fires and other emergencies, relatives said. The department had named him an honorary chief.
James "Mootsie" Thomas, a friend and fellow firefighter who joined a year before Michalowski, said his buddy was a "quiet man who put his family first. But after he retired, we got a little closer. We used to sit down at the firehouse and have a cup of coffee and read the newspaper and chat."
In addition to his daughter Evelyn Barton, he is survived by two other daughters, Sandra Miller of Syosset and Sharon Kloppenburg of Simpsonville, S.C.; sister, Sophie Czajkowski of Syosset; and seven grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
A funeral Mass was Thursday at St. Edward Confessor Church in Syosset, with burial at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Huntington.