Gary Krupsky, a former professional baseball player, dedicated his life to teaching the game he loved as a coach at the youth and collegiate level for more than 45 years.
The retired NYPD officer died Sunday after a long illness. He was 74.
Krupsky, who fashioned himself as an old-school disciplinarian, had an uncanny wit and always found a way to make the game fun for his players, friends and family said. He reached the pinnacle of elite travel baseball by capturing the 17-U national championship in the National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series in 2008.
"I started to play for him when I was 12 years old in the Police Athletic League at Preller Field in Bellerose, Queens," said close friend Rod Stephan, who now serves as the head baseball coach at SUNY-Old Westbury. "I played for him in Little League and all the way to Queens College. And then I coached with him on the sandlot fields and as an assistant in college. He was all about teaching the fundamentals and respecting the game."
Krupsky grew up in Astoria, Queens, and graduated from Bryant High School in 1956. He signed a professional baseball contract to play in the New York Giants organization right out of high school.
"He was a very good outfielder but he was stuck behind a pretty good player in the organization -- a guy by the name of Willie Mays," said his son Gary Krupsky, a U.S. Navy commander stationed in Jacksonville, Fla. "He had so many neat stories. On one road trip in the minor leagues, there was a sign that read, 'hit the bull and win four thousand dollars.' So my Dad hits a home run and hits the bull. The car dealership promoting the challenge wouldn't pay him because he wasn't on the home team. I loved his stories."
Krupsky married Barbara Brittain in 1960. She died in 2008 after they had been married for 48 years.
In 2010, he married Marie Kocurek and they lived in Farmingdale.
"He loved baseball," Marie Krupsky said. "He coached so many people over the years. Kids would go on to college and call with him updates on how they were doing. They just loved Gary."
When his professional career was over he served in the NYPD from 1962 to 1983. Even there, he couldn't get away from baseball. He started the NYPD Bluecoats in 1968 and they played baseball all over the city.
Krupsky coached the Queens College baseball team from 1978-1984 and led his team to the 1981 NCAA regional and The City University of New York Championship. He was voted coach of the year for the CUNY and Knickerbocker Conferences.
Krupsky is survived by daughter-in-law Deborah Krupsky of Jacksonville, three grandchildren and stepsons John Kocurek of Staten Island and Jody Kocurek of Holbrook.
A viewing is at the William Law Funeral Home on Jerusalem Avenue in Massapequa Tuesday from 2 to 9 p.m.
A Mass will be said at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in East Meadow at 9 a.m. Wednesday with a burial to follow at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale.